Saturday, 1 October 2016

11:07 – We spent some time yesterday reorganizing the 5×2 foot five-shelf steel shelving unit that’s our main LTS pantry, shifting stuff around and shelving recently purchased items. The unit is less than half full because for the last year we’ve been drawing it down and not replacing much of what we used. For example, our stock of Bush’s Best Baked beans is down from 120 cans a year ago to 88 cans now, Mott’s Applesause is down from 42 jars to under 20, and Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom soup is down from about 80 cans to about 20. On the other hand, some items are up. For example, we’ve gone from about 2.5 gallons of pancake syrup up to 5 gallons, and from about 30 cans of Costco/Sam’s chicken up to about 80 cans.

We also unbagged a bunch of old soft drink bottles that we’d put in trash bags when we moved up here. We found 45 3-liter Coke bottles, which are very useful for storing powdery staples like flour because their mouths are wider than those of 2-liter bottles, making it a lot easier to transfer the flour into the bottles. Each of the 3-liter bottles holds about five pounds of flour, so we have enough to repackage about 225 pounds. Before we use those bottles for LTS food storage, we need to wash and dry them. We’ll do that in the kitchen on an assembly line, filling one side of the sink with sudsy water and the other side with a very dilute bleach solution. We’ll do a quick wash and rinse of each bottle and then put them inverted into large plastic bins to drain. We’ll then use silica gel beads to get the last of the water out and start transferring flour to them, using the top half of a 2-liter soda bottle as a wide-mouth funnel. I don’t think I’ll bother using oxygen absorbers in them, as we’re going through much more flour than we used to.

Writing about potassium iodide yesterday got me to thinking about iodine deficiency, which is a problem world-wide. Most soils are iodine-deficient, and before iodized salt and multivitamins became common even many US residents suffered from a deficiency of iodine. Humans don’t need much–about 150 μg/day for an adult man to about twice that for a nursing mother–but not getting that minimal amount has some pretty horrifying health consequences.

Under normal circumstances, we all get enough iodine from iodized salt, multivitamins, some bread, and so on. But if iodized salt and multivitamins run out, potassium iodide tablets or solutions stored as prophylaxis against ingesting radioactive iodine can certainly serve as an iodine supplement. One 131 mg dose of potassium iodide contains 100 mg of iodine, which can also be stated as 100,000 μg. That’s the MDR for an adult man for 667 days, or half that for a nursing mother. Obviously, you don’t need much iodine to keep people healthy in that respect.

I actually started thinking about trace-element deficiencies some month ago, when I was talking with Lori about feeding her cattle. She buys grain for them, and mentioned that her vendor treats the feed grain with various micronutrients, including selenium, because the local soil is deficient in them. I don’t think we’ll need to worry about a selenium deficiency; its MDR is about half that of iodine. But if we do, I have probably a hundred million MDR doses of selenium in a bottle down in the lab. Actually, probably a billion doses.