Page images
PDF
EPUB

relating to school hygiene, which had been presented the former year. Already these resolutions had resulted in some valuable leaflets from the State Board of Health. Professor Pierce still urged the importance of compulsory ordinances as to contagious diseases, and for the prohibition of public funerals where there had been deaths from contagious disease; also that in all communicable diseases the notice should name the disease, so that those not wishing to attend, and especially children, might avoid exposure. While the value of these suggestions was recognized, Dr. Hunt, Dr. Newton and others expressed doubt as to the feasibility of including all these in compulsory legislation. Already the law gives authority to local Boards of Health, where they deem it necessary to the public health, to interdict public funerals and to require the notification of contagious disease. To compel local Boards to do this should not be the work of State legislation, unless in emergencies where the evil was spreading beyond localities and jeopardizing the State.

Professor Pierce again urged examination of teachers in the elementary principles of physiology and hygiene. The evils arising from long recesses and the advantages from calisthenics in the school room, and reliance upon very short recesses or individual permission, was again urged. The Association showed much interest in the views expressed and appointed a large Committee of Conference, with power to act by way of recommendation to the Legislature or to School Boards.

The substance of Principal Green's paper will appear in this report. That of Professor J. Madison Watson will be in the ninth volume of the American Public Health Association.

Professor C. F. Brackett, of Princeton, explained such appliances for the raising and distribution of water as are of more recent application. In Manchester, N. H., the source of supply has been made to furnish the power by water-wheels and pumps much above the source. By another contrivance, a bucket, automatically filled, is made to work a pump-plunger in connection with a counter-weight so as to supply water from a small stream to a number of houses. Solar heat has been applied so as to work an engine and pump, and raise water from driven wells. By the use of electricity as a transmitter of power over long distances, the sewage of a city situated in a valley entirely surrounded by hills, may be made to run dynamos, drive waterwheels and so transfer power to a pumping station as to raise sewage or water over ascents where drainage and tunneling would be impracticable.

In that distribution, which needs to take place after water has become the vehicle of organic matter in suspension or solution, as in the ordinary sewer-pipe, he illustrated the advantage of a running stream constantly fed with air at every possible point. Air tends to adhere to surfaces and to water and to mingle with it. If, from the upper segment of the pipe, there go up wherever possible small tubes for admission of air, and if these tubes reach down so as to go into the flowing stream, there will be a constant adherence or drawing in of air which thus mingles with the water and performs its oxidizing and purifying processes with remarkable rapidity.

The subject of filtration was treated by Professor Geo. H. Cook, of New Brunswick. Its contents will be found in this or a subsequent report. These selections from the meetings of this Association thus present an index of the broad field of sanitary science and art, and contain very valuable suggestions for the people of the State. Physicians, engineers, chemists, teachers and the workers in the practical details of mechanics find these conferences of great value and are thus contributing to the social, household and economic welfare of the State.

TRADES AND OCCUPATIONS.

BY EZRA M. HUNT, M.D., SECRETARY.

The relation which an inquiry into trades and occupations has to public health and welfare has been recognized from the first conception and application of sanitary art.

It first became apparent in an inquiry as to poor laws and the effect of friendly societies, because it has so often found that penury or sickness had resulted from the effects of trades or from the conditions under which they were followed.

The first official appointment in England that can be said dis-. tinctly to have had its origin from the writings and appeals of sanitarians, was that made in 1832, when Dr. T. Southwood Smith, Mr. Thomas Tooke and Edwin Chadwick were appointed to investigate the question of factory labor.

The prosperity of a country and the welfare of the population are very dependent upon the various trades and occupations and consequently upon the health of the operatives.

There are various reasons why so important a public concern cannot be left to self-regulation. The multitudes of workmen, as well as their employers, are ignorant of some of the necessities of physical life and of the special complications and embarrassments of various occupations. The harm done is often gradual and is not realized until well nigh irremediable.

Most, even, if feeling the embarrassments to which they are exposed, do not know how to ameliorate or avoid them, or, if they do, cannot enforce the provision of and compliance with the needed adjustments.

First of all there is need that there be a better understanding on the part of all of the demands of life and health and the conditions and surroundings which are most favorable thereto.

Next to this is a knowledge of the real evils and how to counteract or correct them.

Each trade and occupation needs to be considered as to its special demands, exposures and liabilities. Circular XL. of this Board, as contained in this report, outlines these. The effect of each department of any given trade needs to be considered. Then comes the general question as to by what methods or devices the evils are to be overcome or reduced to a minimum. There is but little realization in very many trades how much human life is shortened or its powers abridged by the occupation or by the place and circumstances under which it is followed. There are many industries in which the power to make full time and do good work does not extend over twenty years of the artisan's life. · From the elaborate and proximately correct tables of Hirt we have, as averaging, for those under treatment, of under fifty years of age at death, for agate-polishers, britannia-workers, cabinet-makers, cementmakers, chimney-sweeps, coppersmiths, cotton operatives, diamond cutters, glass-cutters, goldsmiths, locksmiths, laborers on artificial flowers, arsenical mines, color-works, lead mines, lead smelting, quicksilver, silver smelting, sugar of lead, machinists and stokers on railroads, millers, millstone-makers, mirror-makers, needle-polishers, painters, plasterers, porcelain-makers, sandstone workers, stone-cutters, tinkers, varnishers, while various other occupations follow in close degree of briefness of life. It is noticeable especially how large a portion of these are trades in which there is inhalation of irritating dust. It is also to be borne in mind that often these deaths at middle life stand for long years of sickness or of enfeebled and diminished work. Our climate, our methods of work and the use of machinery, make some modification as to trades, in some cases increasing and in others diminishing the evils.

We need to take the facts in evidence as furnished by careful statistics and deductions from foreign sources, and then, by our own close examinations, see how far these are to be accepted. This Board has, from time to time, directed its attention to various industries, in order to acquaint itself with the character of each and the peculiar liabilities which they involve. We now have under systematic observation the effects of pottery, printing, glass making, oil cloth, and fax and jute industry.

The object of this paper is to furnish some facts as to some of these, preliminary to those special observations which are now being made and which will be reported in due time. The interests of the working classes in all these regards must not be overlooked.

PRINTERS AND PRINTING.

Dr. R. S. Tracy, of New York, in his Treatise on Occupations, says: “Printers, including compositors and pressmen, are generally pale and unhealthy in appearance. The characteristic anæmia is largely due to the bad ventilation of the rooms in which they work, to the lack of exercise, and, in the case of pressmen, to the heat of the press-rooms. Compositors frequently suffer from dyspepsia and diarrhea, and also from bronchial catarrh and phthisis. According to Tardieu, twenty-five in one hundred die of the latter disease. Pneumonia is common among them, and is likely to be severe. The habit of putting type in the mouth, leads to the formation of cracks and fissures of the lips, and small tumors on the inner surface, caused by the obliteration of the mouths of the follicles, which sometimes ulcerate and form painful sores. Lead-poisoning is very rare among them, but there are occasional cases of 'professional cramp.' Pressmen are said to suffer frequently from varices and heart disease.”

Printers, from the sedentary character of their work, incline to keep the rooms hot, and being susceptible to draught, breathe much foul air if they are compelled to depend upon open windows for ventilation. Where this is the case, the windows should always be provided with a board piece to put under the lower sash, and so raise it as to let in air between the upper and lower sash, or should have an opening at the top and a hood or device for directing the cold air first upward to the ceiling and thus prevent draught.

Dr. Edward Smith has written a valuable report on the sanitary circumstances of printers in London. (6th Report Medical Officer Privy Council, 1863.)

He divides them into the following classes: Readers; compositors, who are remarkable for quickness and nervous exeitability; pressmen, machinemen, and then warehousemen, who are essentially porters. Reading boys and boy machine-tenders are also spoken of.

In newspaper offices, the extra demands made by night work and by irregular hours, need to be given full consideration as increasing the tax and risk to vitality.

The Reader is necessarily more educated than the usual workmen and has often both literary and constrained labor to perform. In large establishments he must often be ready at hand with his correction, work rapidly, and at late hours. He is very apt to be put in some

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »