Guam - During this morning's briefing at the Governor's Office, the Department of Public Health announced it is conducting an Iodine Deficiency Survey until the end of the month in order to determine if Guam's children and pregnant woman have low iodine levels. According to Public Health director Jim Gillan, iodine is needed to develop thyroid hormones, which are important for growth, development and brain function.

"Nobody has really, this is the first time that this has been done on Guam and we're hoping that all of the results will be negative but if they're positive, the fix is fairly easy it's just a dietary thing," he explained.

The survey is part of the World Health Organization and comes as a result of low iodine levels reported in Fiji and Vanuatu. Public Health will be conducting the surveys to over 700 randomly selected school children from 3rd to 6th grades in Department of Education schools and close to 300 pregnant women serviced at clinics at Public Health and PMC. Gillan adds the problem with the survey is that many of the requests have come back with negative responses to participate, which may affect whether the survey comes back scientifically reliable.

The WHO is providing funding for the survey costing close to $100,000.