Sanitation Then vs Now Essay

Submitted By kcarr2013
Words: 1212
Pages: 5

In a recent observational survey in 5 cities, 77% of people washed their hands after using the public rest room. Men washed their hands 66% of the time. Women were cleaner, washing their hands 88% of the time. By washing your hands you sanitize and kill any bacteria that may have formed using the restroom, opening the door, touching the elevator button, or even when shook the hands of your co-workers at the business meeting today. Sanitation is used everywhere, from the water that comes from our faucets to restaurants, hospitals, food and much more. It has improved over time and has affected the public health for many centuries. Let’s start by rewinding time and talk about how sanitation affected us then versus now.
Back in the 1700’s water was contaminated and untreated and sewers were not yet established. A majority of the cities were over populated leaving them with an insufficient water supply. The streets lacked structure with no pavement to walk on and an over flowing of trash. There was no escape of the filthiness of the ground in which they walked on, the dirt continued to greet them as they walked into their homes. Some jobs were unsafe, unhealthily, and unsanitary environments to work in, such as coal factories where the air was polluted and very harmful. Out of all the dirt a glimmer of light shined through with Dr. Edward Jenner who birthed the process of vaccination to protect society from small pox. By this time the average age in America was twenty-nine. The United States still reflected as having many disease problems, but created governmental health agencies to put a lid on the sanitation issues that were on board the water vessels.

Still as time continued on, sanitation was coming into focus as more outbreaks of diseases such as cholera and typhoid began to take place in the mid 1800’s. Communities across the nation were still relying on wells for their main source of water. However many cities started to build centralized water supply systems. Although the centralized water supply system was an improvement from the wells, it still provided untreated water. Dr. John Snow became intrigued when another cholera outbreak hit the London area. It was at this time he began to dig deep and study every aspect of the horrible cholera epidemic. Dr. Snow studied the deaths that were occurring from this and came up with a theory that possibly the contaminated water from a particular pump was causing this disease. He was given permission to remove the handle from the water pump which prevented individuals in the surrounding areas from collecting the contaminated water. By this time the outbreaks of cholera had already caused many deaths, but with the handle removed the epidemic was beat down and society gained sight that micro-organisms can cause disease. After the epidemic, efforts were starting to be made to try to improve the sanitation in Europe. Edwin Chadwick initiated the public health movement and created a sanitary report which proved connections between overcrowding, squalor, and disease in 1842; this led to the opening of the public health act in 1848. This act commanded every household to have waste disposal arrangements and funds were set aside for sanitation research. Twenty seven years later, another public health act was passed for London to thoroughly examine its water and sewer systems. America started to rise to up as well by creating The New York Board of Public Health and the sanitary and ship canal was created to efficiently drain the waste water from the community by reversing the flow of the Chicago River. Towards the end of the 1800’s scientific breakthroughs began to take place in Europe. Joseph Lister presented the use of antiseptics in hospitals. Louis Pasteur originated the technique for bringing down the extreme harmfulness of disease-causing organisms or in other terms pasteurization. Robert Koch showed the use of sterilization by applying steam to kill off infectious micro-organisms…