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following conclusions: “That, as we pass from four-roomed to three-, two-, and one-roomed houses, not only does the air become more and more impure, as indicated by the increase in the carbonic acid and organic matter, and more especially of the micro-organisms, but there is a corresponding and similar increase in the deathrate, together with a marked lowering of the mean age at death."
Mention may also here be made of the investigations made by these gentlemen on the air of Board schools, which showed that in those buildings where mechanical ventilation was used the carbonic acid gas was three-fifths, the organic matter one-seventh, and the micro-organisms less than one-ninth of what was found in schools ventilated by the ordinary methods. menting upon this series of investigations, the authors write: “When we come to consider that
* It is, of course, obvious that other circumstances besides overcrowding have to be reckoned with in considering these statistics. In the one-roomed houses the wages earned by the occupants must have been small, and the amount available for even the bare necessaries of life very limited, that, in fact, they were to be reckoned amongst the class defined by Mr. Rowntree as living in “primary poverty," whose earnings are insufficient to keep the body in a properly nourished condition. Mr. Rowntree has shown by statistics that the height, weight, and general condition of the poor are very much below those of the well-to-do labouring classes.
the children who attend average Board schools for six hours a day are during that time subjected to an atmosphere containing on an average nearly nineteen volumes of carbonic acid per 10,000, and a very large proportion of organic matter, and no less than 155 micro-organisms at least per quart, we need not be surprised at the unhealthy appearance of very many of the children. It must also be borne in mind that many of them are exposed for nine hours more to an atmosphere which is about five times as impure as that of an ordinary bedroom in a middle-class house. They are thus breathing for at least fifteen hours out of the twenty-four a highly impure atmosphere. The effects of this are often intensified, as is well known, by insufficient food and clothing, both of which must render them less capable of resisting the impure air. The fact that these schools become, after a time, habitually infected by bacteria renders it probable that they also become “permanent foci of infection for various diseases, and particularly, perhaps, for tubercular disease in its various forms."
Further practical evidence of the manner in which the general death-rate for certain diseases is influenced by the conditions under which the poor are housed is afforded by statistics which have been collected at Glasgow. In the case of zymotic
diseases, whereas the death-rate in tenements consisting of one or two rooms was 4:78 per 1,000, it fell to 2.46 in those of three or four rooms, and to I•14 per 1,000 in those of five rooms and upwards. Again, in the case of acute diseases of the lungs, the death-rate was as high as 9.85 in the smallest tenements, and but 3.28 in the largest.
Of great interest are the certified mortality statistics of phthisis in the British Army in the period 1830–46 and 1859–66 respectively; in the former it was 7.86 per 1,000, whilst in the latter period it had fallen to 3.1, this important difference being coincident with an increased cubic space per head in the barracks.
Such facts as these, if only fully realised, should surely serve to stimulate municipal and other local authorities to provide decent and wholesome accommodation for the poor. It has been recently estimated that in London the total number of persons living in tenements of one to four rooms is 2,333,152, and of these nearly half a million live the life of the one - room tenement of three to a room and upwards. In the stirring words of Mr. John Burns, M.P.: "At least a million of people who live thus on wages that barely sustain decent life, are but prisoners of poverty, whose lot in life is but a funeral procession from the cradle to the grave . . . for these, as soon as practicable, better
homes should be provided at once in the interest of physique, of morals, of industrial efficiency, and municipal health.”
Yet, despite all these facts and the overwhelming evidence which has been collected on the dire results which follow in the wake of overcrowding and insanitary dwellings, we find a prominent magistrate in one of our great industrial cities publicly expressing himself as follows at municipal banquet: “The Town Council sometimes attempted too much. For instance, they had been far too anxious to get quit of the slums. Now slums, in his opinion, were one of the necessities of all large towns, and it was impossible in the present state of civilisation to dispense with slums unless they could take the people living in them, who were not fit to live anywhere else, and drown them wholesale, as would have been done in the time of the French Revolution."
We have seen how bacteria may be distributed by dust, how they may linger in crowded tenements and badly ventilated buildings, that insanitary surroundings provide, in fact, for the scientist a well-stocked bacterial covert, where he may with ease bag his thousands of germs of various descriptions. The fact already referred to, that the bacteria of consumption may be released in the sputum of phthisical persons, has
perhaps already suggested the possibility of other bacteria being likewise discharged into the surrounding air, but it is no doubt difficult to realise that the utterance of even a few words may liberate a variety of bacteria, the mischievous or harmless character of which depends upon the condition of the speaker's health. But even the health of a speaker if satisfactory is not necessarily a safeguard against his dissemination of disease germs, for it is well known that the mouth secretions of healthy people may frequently contain the staphylococcus pyogenes aureus, and also, though less frequently, the diplococcus lanceolatus, both virulent microbes; whilst that diphtheria bacilli may be present in the mouths of people who are not suffering from the disease has been demonstrated repeatedly. What a capacity, then, for spreading evil does the public orator possess ! It makes one tremble to think of the aërial condition of the House of Commons when a big debate is on, for it has been found that the sharper the enunciation of the consonants, and the louder the voice, the larger is the number of organisms discharged and the farther they reach!
If this danger attends the speaking of healthy people, what must be the risk accompanying the listening to speeches from persons suffering from consumption, influenza, or any other disease which