Iodine transforms the bindi into a "life-saving dot"

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Applying a bindi doped with iodine could help rural Indian women avoid cancer and malnutrition

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In an effort to increase awareness of nutritional requirements, and to bring simple tech into complex customs, a medical foundation in India has joined forces with a Singaporean ad agency. The plan is to combat iodine deficiencies using bindis, the decorative forehead dots worn by most Indian women and girls.

Many countries turned to iodized salt in the early part of the 20th century, a fact many of us hardly know the significance of because we no longer commonly see goiters. Nor do we realize the role that iodine plays in decreasing the risk of fibrocystic breast disease, breast cancer, and complications at birth.

We're afforded a degree of protection via consumption of our iodized salt, and the luxury of eating food from a variety of soils and geographies. Yet in developing countries, many people may not have money for iodine supplements, or awareness of iodine's physiological role.

That's why Neelvasant Medical Foundation and Research Center teamed up with ad agency Grey Group Singapore to create the "Life Saving Dot." It's an adhesive-backed felt bindi embedded with iodine, and it dispenses the daily-required amount of the chemical into the wearer's body via their skin as it's worn. Grey Group, incidentally, was also recently involved in Volvo's "Life Paint" campaign.

Starting in mid-March, the program set about distributing sheets of the doped bindis to women in medical camps and rural areas, where nutritional aid is more likely needed. The president of the Foundation described the campaign as "bringing about an awareness" of an issue that is all too common.

In the video below, you can see footage of the campaign in action.

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