Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 70.djvu/33

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THE SANITATION OF AIR 29

themselves, and some remedies have already been suggested. In regard to open air they are practically limited to measures of prevention.

Sanitation. — The New York Board of Health now sends school- children to dispensaries and specialists for deafness and defective eye- sight, in the hope of reclaiming them from the dullness consequent to these ills. This unquestionably helps to keep certain contagious dis- eases under control, and it may be justified on other grounds, but it should not be forgotten that certain unsanitary conditions, to which such diseases can often be traced, barely receive any attention in the sense of an organized campaign for purifying the air. Particular attention should be paid to the suppression of all markets and other nuisances affecting the salubrity of streets and squares surrounding schools and hospitals. The maintenance of public buildings on strict sanitary lines by systematic processes of cleaning, disinfection, repaint- ing and repairing is also too much neglected. The movement for the better housing of the poor, however much has been accomplished, can only be called a beginning. Hundreds of the better sort of tenements are being built, but thousands are needed. If the health board has the right to condemn old rookeries, to order repairs, to pass on workshops in dingy basements and the like, there is much to be done yet on these lines.

The campaign against expectorating, in which Dr. Darlington, the present New York health commissioner, has taken an active part, is most commendable. It certainly reduces the constant danger of in- fection, but it does not lead far enough toward stopping its causes, the chronic catarrh and other ills largely induced by untidy streets and buildings, public and private.

Sanitary inspection has long been organized in many cities, for certain classes of buildings, but it must include all public conveyances, conveniences, highways and byways in order to be really effective. It should be supplemented by jurisdiction over hygiene in lighting, plumb- ing, heating and ventilation of new buildings, and in the maintenance of streets, sewers and other public works. This may seem to be a large ground to cover for the average staff of health officers, but it is not altogether a question of men, but one of influence or power of the board over other departments, which should be made to carry out their own work with due regard for hygienic requirements. Sanitation on these lines would be of particular value as an education to the citizens by way of example.

Hints on Ventilation. — The foregoing arguments should have made it clear that ventilation is not the only cure for vitiated air. It should be regarded rather as a supplementary measure, to be used where other means of sanitation can not or will not give sufficient relief. To ven- tilate buildings with the impure air from city streets, railway cars with

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