Iodine discovery , as well as many others significant discoveries in the history, was accidental. In 1811 when Bernard Curtois discovered iodine, he was not looking after the remedy to save people – but on the contrary, he was on his way to kill them. At that time Napoleon’s army needed larger quantity of the gunpowder. The basic component of the gunpowder was niter, which production requires bigger amount of wooden ashes. Since the war lasted for a long time, and woods eligible for logging, burning and making gunpowder were disappearing fast, someone suggested that instead of trees the seaweeds should be burned.
Making niter, Curtois accidentally added to much of sulfuric acid, and purple cloud of condensate gas has shown on the radiator, forming glistening crystals. Curtois realized that he has created something new and started to examine that. After many experiments chemist suspected that he was on the way to discover new element but he was out of resources and could not continue in researches. Governmental resources were overloaded by Napoleon’s wars, so there was no money for further experiments. Curtois then decided to share his acknowledgements with some other scientists, so they could continue together in further researches.
The greed after this discovery among the scientists caused that many of them started to publish the discovery of the new element until Davy on December 10th in 1813 named this element IODINE after Greek word ,, purple color ”. Discussions started about who has rights on this discovery and finally Courtois was acknowledged by Humphry Davy as the true discoverer of iodine.
Iodine entered in medicine history, when Swiss scientist Kondet proved healing features against goiter and enlargement of the thyroid gland. It was known that thyroid gland is the largest gland in human organism, through which is running all blood as well as that this gland regulates many processes and work of other glands. That moment the new modern medical science was born. For the first time in the history scientists defined specific disease and concrete healing treatment by empiric way.
After this discovery iodine become very popular in the world. People started consuming it without limit. Iodine was powerful stimulus without limitation of its consumption. Scientists decided to set regulatory rules to control this element and they defined recommended iodine quantity per year. However this directive was not supported by empiric proofs. Only in 1917, scientist Marine published his researches made on thyroid glands of the fish, dogs and humans, were the real annual need after iodine was established and it was about 25, times higher than quantity recommended by scientists years ago. The serious researches and experiments were conducted and this also initiated the establishment of many organizations which conduct these examinations and who emphasis iodine importance. Next step in history of this precious and rare element was iodization of salt.
The World Health Organization ( WHO ) is publishing information every year about countries and regions which are endangered by iodine deficiency. This element can be found mostly in the sea food and it is best absorbed if it is drunken, that is if it dissolved in water.
During past century it has been proved that except its influence on the work of the thyroid gland, this element also affects development of the central nervous system of the newborn and later IQ. This is the reason why the pregnant women are recommended to increase iodine intake to ensure normal nervous system development of the baby. The iodine significance is still researched and it has been written a lot about it, but despite everything many countries are hit with various diseases caused by ignorance about this element.