Joseph F. Edwards.

The Annals of hygiene online

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erected in a large and densely populated
city, should possess the following qualifi-
cations, viz., —

'* I. At least two adjoining sides of the
building should be freely exposed to light
and air, for which purpose they shoukl
not be less than sixty feet distant from
any opposite building.

** II. Not more than three of the floors
should be occupied for class-rooms.

'* III. In each class-room not less than
fifteen square feet of floor area should be
allotted to each pupil.

" In each class-room the window space
should not be less than one-fourth of the
floor space, and the distance of the desk



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THE ANNALS OF HYGIENE.



183



most remote from the window should not
be more than one and one-half times the
height of the top of the window from the
Hoor.

" V. The height of a class-room should
never exceed fourteen feet.

" VI. The provisions for ventilation
should be such as to provide for each
person in a class-room not less than thirty
cubic feet of fresh air per minute, which
amount must be introduced and thoroughly
distributed without creating unpleasant
draughts, or causing any two parts of the
room to differ in temperature more than
2^ F., or the maximum temperature to
exceed 70° F. This means that for a
class room to contain fifty-six pupils,
twenty-eight cubic feet of air per second
should be continuously furnished, distrib-
uted, and removed during school hours.

**The velocity of the incoming air
should not exceed two feet per second
at any point where it is liable to strike on
the person.

"VII. The heating of the fresh air
should be effected either by hot water or
by low pressure steam.

" VIII. The fresh air should be intro-
duced near the windows; the foul air
should be removed by flues in the opposite
wall.

* ' IX. Water-closet accommodations for
pupils should be provided on each floor.

" X. The building should not occupy
more than half of the lot."

The comments by way of exception
that need to be made upon this are, that
in VI it seems hardly possible to expect
a temperature varying only two degrees all
over a room, if the difference between
ceiling and floor is intended to be in-
cluded; and further, that the method
of introducing fresh warm air, etc., given
in VIII, is not the only desirable one, as
will be shown under *' Ventilation *' later
in this essay. In No. IV the size de-



manded for windows is based on the re-
quirements of city architecture.

In other respects the recommendations
deserve unqualified approval, as embody-
ing the chief sanitary requirements in a
city school-house.

Height of School Buildings, Not merely
on account of danger from fire, but for
reasons affecting the health of pupils,
excessive height has been, within a few
years past, much spoken against. It seems
desirable, on the whole, to limit the height
to three stories, of which the first two
should contain most of the school-rooms.
The reasons for this restriction are such
as apply chiefly to girls of the age of
fourteen and upwards ; more especially, to
yoimg ladies in normal schools and sem-
inaries. Not to enlarge upon this point
here, it is well to notice the unwillingness
of such girls, if placed in the upp^r story,
to descend to the play-room or yard for
recess. The climbing of many flights is
an evil which may come about in another
way, viz., when scholars study in one
story and descend to another for each
recitation. In such cases the need of
consulting teachers before building is
evident. The plan of the house should
be made to depend on the plan of study,
and architects can seldom fail to gather
some useful information from those con-
versant with the uses to which their work
is to be put.

A point to note in conclusion is the

smallness of the yards allotted for the

children's play in American cities as

compared with what is found- in Europe.

(to be continued.)

:o:

CARPET BEATING.

Carpet-beating in the open air has been
forbidden by the Conseil de Salubrity, of
Paris. They must be beaten in closed
rooms, and the dust subsequently disin-
fected.



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1 84



THE ANNALS OF HYGIENE.



FOOD LAWS.



BY HENRY LEFFMAN, M. D.



ABSTACT OF A PAPSR READ BBFORB THE MEDICAL JUR-
ISPRUDENCE SOCIETY, OF PHILADELPHIA.



The conviction and sentence to im-
prisonment, a few days ago, in the crim-
inal court of this county, of several persons
for adulterating food, may serve very well
as a text for some remarks on the present
state of laws governing this topic, and, I
hope, enable us to make a step toward a
rational system of sanitary jurisprudence.
There can be no question that, although
<i great interest has been developed of re-
cent years in questions of hygiene, yet as
an actual science it is in an extremely
chaotic state. To the medical profession
— as a body — ^will necessarily always be
trusted the guidance of the community in
such matters ; but this profession only
' gives partial attention to the topic. The
problems of diagnosis and therapeutics are
of so much closer interest, that we may
pardon the general runpf practitioners for
ignoring a subject of uncertain nature,
and, perhaps, looked at in a selfish light,
one which is really antagonistic to their
prosperity. That this latter view is not
imaginary I know from conversation with
some physicians. In the history of sani-
tary legislation we have the usual array of
errors that have always attended attempts
to restrain by law the perversities of man-
kind. Many of the acts have been passed
either under popular clamor or in defer-
ence to the influence of some real or sup-
posed authority in the field, and as a re-
sult great injustice has been done, or the
statute books encumbered with useless
provisions.

The first point to be considered is how
far the ignorance of the seller should be
considered as an excuse for the sale of
adulterated articles. In the chrome-yel-
low cases it was apparent that the bakers



had no knowledge of the dangerous nature
of the material they were using, but they,
of course, knew full well that they were
adulterating. In the case of the noodle
maker, the offence was still more flagrant,
for the adulterant was there used to enable
a particular ingredient to be used in less
quantity and yet have the product look as
if made properly. The chrome-yellow
was used as a substitute for eggs. Fortu-
nately for the public example of a convic-
tion in these cases, the act of Legislature
does not say that the adulteration must
be dangerous, so that it was merely re-
quired to prove that some addition had
been made. The issue, however, may be
presented .in much more complicated form.
The act provides for punishment only in
case of knowledge of the fact of adultera-
tion ; the word ** knowingly '* is repeated
so frequently that it becomes very signifi-
cant. It leaves wholly out of question
the sale of food by others than those man-
ufacturing it, and may be said, also, to
leave undecided the definition of what
constitutes adulteration. This, of course,
would be a simple matter to decide in
many cases, but there are others which
would arise in which the need of some
authoritative definition would be felt,
though, I suppose, such might be left to
a jury.

To arrive at what I consider a sound
system of protective food legislation, it
will be necessary for us to note that many
articles pass through a number of hands
before reaching the consumer. A system
which holds only responsible the manu-
facturer can never answer the purpcfee.
Adulterated food ought to be regarded as
a contraband article wherever found.
Every person dealing in it should be held
responsible for its condition, and no plea
of ignorance of its nature should be ac-
ceptable. In other words, I believe that
the introduction of the word '* knowingly
or willfully " into such enactments is a



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THE ANNALS OF HYGIENE.



185



serious defect. It offers a broad chance
of escape to many who are really as guilty
as the original adulterators. Hundreds of
food products are sold, the sellers of which
believe them to be adulterated, but the
usual form of the law would, allow them
to escape, and,, as a not inconsiderable
portion of these articles is of foreign ori-
gin, the punishment of the originators
would be iiBpossible. Further, many
conditions of food are brought about by
the peculiar preferences of the buyer, or
by exigencies of trade, and are not in-
tended as adulterations, often being, in-
deed, done against the best wishes of the
manufacturer. Thus, it is impossible to
sell in this city uncolored pickles, and the
color is given to them by the use of ver-
digris. I have recently found the amount
of one*eighth of a grain of metallic copper
in one pickle about three inches in length.
The dealer from whom I obtained the
sample told me that he would be very glad
to stop altogether the use of this coloring
(although I mjght state, in parenthesis,
that there is no evidence that this amount
of copper would be injurious), but he
would be absolutely unable to sell the un-
colored article.

So with the addition of coloring matter
to mustard. A popular notion prevails
that when ground it should have a yellow
color, whereas pure mustard is nearly
white. Yet the attempt to put upon the
market the pure article would meet with
failure, as the public would regard it as
inferior. A very important phase of this
question is of recent development. I refer
to the use of food preservatives. Salicylic
acid is now largely used, also boric acid
and betanaphthol. With these substances
there is not very good clinical evidence
of their injurious character ; they are not
added with a view to deceive, and they
do not take the place of any e^ntial in-
gredient in the food, yet their addition
to food is certainly objectionable ; and as



regards salicylic acid, sanitary authorities
in various parts of the world have strongly
condemned its use. For the issues just
alluded to, there would have to be special
provision, and in the effort to protect the
community, unjust severity in restriction
might be exhibited.

The absolute authority granted to health
officers and health boards is worthy of
some attention. Even in a community
like our own, jealous of restrictive legisla-
tion, the local board is qualified to declare
what constitutes a nuisance prejudical to
the public health, and against this decis-
ion there is no appeal to a higher jurisdic-
tion, and State and National boards as-
sume to a great extent the same powers.
In spite of the fact that it is a well-estab-
lished practice, and, so far as our local
board is concerned, has not resulted in
any distinct injury, I hpJd it to be radic-
ally defective. No power should be given
to any organization in civil government
which is not subject to review before an
independent tribunal, in the light of the
facts of the science or art involved. It is
not difficult to mention instances where
the absolute authority has resulted in an
unjust decision. The plumbing law gov-
erning Philadelphia is a case in point. So
far as it is an inspection law it is service-
able, but so far as it presumes the direct
and injurious action of sewer air, it is un-
reasonable. The causative relation between
sewer air and infectious disease has never
been demonstrated, and in the light of the
careful investigations made into its chem-
ical composition and poverty in organisms
this theory must be abando;ied. Very
exact observations recently made have
shown that the number oforganisms in the
air of unventilated sewers is less than that
in the air of rooms and of many open
places.

In the acts for the prohibition of the
manufacture of artificial butter we have a
magnificent example of this kind of sani-



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1 86



THE ANNALS OF HYGIENE.



tary legislation. There is no question
that the main spring of this special legis-
lation has been the self-interest of the
farmer class, and the subserviency of the
general run of legislators. Prohibitory
oleo-margarine la^^-s were passed for the
same reason that prohibitory liquor laws
are not passed, viz.: The influence of the
class to be benefited. The oleo-margar-
ine bill of this State originated in the
State Board of agriculture, and I was in
attendance at the meeting at which it was
first broached, and succeeded, by address-
ing the board, in delaying the maturing
of the bill, but at a later meeting it was
approved and sent to the Legislature.
With an ingenuity worthy of a better
cause the framers of the bill entitled it an
act to protect the public health, and thus
made a special pleading for it. In the
same way the National House of Repre-
sentatives, by making the United States
law a revenue measure, gave it a special
permanence.

Under official encouragement and pri-
vate enterprise, much work has been lately
done in this country in exposing the
various phases of food adulteration. The
Massachusetts State Board of Health has
been quite prominent in this field, and
within the last year or so the chemists
attached to the Department of Agricul-
ture, at Washington, have published and
freely circulated valuable reports. Such
work reflects great credit on those engaged
in it, but it certainly fails to reach the
mass of the people, and produces a limited
effect on the sale of adulterated food.
The public at large take but little interest
in a scientific report, and the examining
chemists are not to be expected to enter
upon a mission service based on the facts
ascertained by them. There has been
lately published, for instance, by the
bureau at Washington, an extended report
on the quality of the alcoholic liquors sold
in this country. It shows adulteration



and sophistication of the beverages in
common use ; but it is not likely that the
knowledge will be utilized for the purpose
of preventing these practices.

I have watched for a number of years
the course of official measures for the pre-
vention of food adulteration, and have
come to the view that we must remodel
our methods. We have now, what might
be called the hide-and-seek system, by
which the dealers are allowed to put upon
the market compounds of unknown com-
position and character, and the officers of
health are expected to search for and
detect the fraud. This is waste of energy
and divides the responsibility for the
offence.

We cannot, I believe, get a fair adjust-
ment of these important public problems
on the basis of arbitrary restrictive laws
framed by professional sanitarians and
administered by mixed boards. We must
reform entirely our system, and it is with
a view of presenting a suggestion in this
respect that I have given to this paper the
rather pretentious secondary title. The
remedy is to throw the responsibility en-
tirely on those who prepare and manufac-
ture food and drink.

This is to be by a system of inspection,
and by entire publicity as to the compo-
sition of any article, whether food, drink,
or medicine. I hold, as a fundamental
principle, that no one should be permitted
to manufacture secretly any article which
is intended to be taken into the human
system, and that no such article should be
exposed for sale unless its composition
is plainly stated or furnished to all who
may request it. All places where food of
any kind, beverages or medicines are pre-
pared, should be subject to regular inspec-
tions by qualified officials. No plea of
private right, reward for discovery, or
business interest should be allowed to in-
terfere with the application of this princi-
ple. The great mass of mankind are en-



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THE ANNALS OF HYGIENE.



187



gaged in operations in which all the pro-
cesses are known. The operations of
banks, insurance companies, the transfers
and investments of properties, are subject
to official record, yet the important prob-
lem of the supply of pure food is dealt
with in a way that would lead us to think
that the rights of manufacturers and deal-
ers are superior to those of the consumer.
With a considerable number of food arti-
cles, such as meat, domestic fruits, vegeta-
bles, a general supervisory inspection
would be all sufficient ; but with regard
to articles sold finely ground or in pack-
ages, or in a state of mixture, definite
statements of composition should accom-
pany every package. It is singular to
note that we may be said to show more
care in the selection of food for our crops
than for ourselves. Every package of
fertilizer which is sold in this State must
bear plainly printed on it a statement of
the composition, according to an exact
analysis. The dealer is obliged to pay for
such analysis. There is an officer whose
duty it is to revise such analysis, and a
heavy penalty is attached to the sale of
any fertilizer bearing a false certificate.
The sale of mixed, or we might, perhaps,
strictly say adulterated, fc^ is permitted
by the law in Great Britain under such a
condition. Thus the framers of the law
permitted the sale of coffee mixed with
chicor>', provided the fact of mixture and
the proportion was clearly stated . Parlia-
ment has also lately, after careful discus-
sion of the subjeet, permitted the sale of
butter substitutes, if clearly stated to be
such. In obedience to a supposed demand,
various package foods, such as ground
spices,' are sold diluted with inert matters
(ground cracker-dust, for example), but
such articles must be distinctly labeled.
By that particular perversion of interna-
tional comity which permits one nation to
be dishonest toward another, the same
articles wl\ich are sold in England dis-



tinctly labeled as adulterated, are sold
here as pure.

The regulation which I have suggested
would be of great benefit in meeting the
issue in regard to the use of food preserv-
atives, and accessory matters which can
hardly be called adulterants, yet which
may be of serious moment if indiscrimin-
ately used in food. The most important
instance of this at the present time is-
salicylic acid. This is now extensively
used in the preservation of perishable
articles of food. I have found it in six
out of thirteen different samples of bottled
beer, and in two out of eleven malt ex-
tracts. Its addition without notice to the
consumer is unquestionably objectionable,
and yet it would be difficult to prevent or
punish it except by specific enactment,
for there is no demonstration of its injur-
ious action in moderate amounts. Even
if it were proposed to prohibit its use in
set terms by law, a conflict of opinion
would be developed. Yet the addition of
a substance having distinct physiological
properties, and not in itself food, is an
objection. The same may be said of boric
acid, sulphites and the latest addition to
food preservatives, beta-naphthol, or, as
called in trade, hydro-naphthol.

A practical solution of the difficulty
would be reached if every person using
such substances was compelled to publicly
acknowledge it by statement on the label.

A law requiring the composition of
every medicine to be clearly stated on the
label of the bottle or package would break
up one of the greatest abuses of the pres-
ent day, the sale of patent medicines, or
nostrums. Through these articles a large
amount of money is annually extflu:ted
from the pockets of the ignorant and un-
fortunate portions of the community, and
whenever the composition of some vaunted
remedy becomes known through any
chance, it is found to be some well-known
formula or a valueless mixture.



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1 88



THE ANNALS OF HYGIENE.



I have said above that I believe that
the responsibility for the sale of adulterated
food, drink or medicine ought to rest on
any one who has dealt in it, whether know-
ingly or not. The grocer who sells noo-
dles containing chrome yellow ; the drug-
gist who sells laudanum of a defective
strength, whether manufactured by him or
not ; the bottler who puts up a salicylated
or adulterated beer, ought all to be held
responsible for the character of the articles.
It should be made their duty to ascertain
the standard of the articles they sell. Pro-
vision should be made in the law for pun-
ishing every person concerned in the sale
of the food, from the original manufac-
turer to the retail dealer. The usual
practice of introducing into food laws the
word knowingly or wilfully, under the
theory that innocent handlers are thereby
protected, serves merely to protect the
guilty parties, and to permit of escape
under technicalities of the law.

These are, then, some of the points
which present themselves as inviting dis-
cussion. The topic is too extensive for
thorough discussion, and I have endeav-
ored to present, in condensed form, an
idea which I think is worthy of attention.
There is, I believe, very little legislation
which is more important than that which
is calculated to ensure pure food, and yet
the very magnitude of the issue may serve
to mislead us. A writer has said, ** O
liberty I how many crimes are committed
in thy name," and reading over the re-
cords of the action of official bodies in the
past few years, I have often felt like say-
ing, ** O public health! how much injus-
tice is wrought in thy name.** A sound
system of sanitary jurisprudence is still
to be developed, and perhaps the discus-
sion of the problem before this Society
may constitute an effort in that direction.
:o:

Be careful how you convince your friend
that he has made a mistake.



A PROBABLE CAUSE OF TYPHOID
FEVER IN SUBURBAN RESI-
DENCES.

BY A. W. BIDDLE, M.D., OF CHESTNUT
HILL, PA.

I would like to call attention to the fact
that in many of our suburban residences, on
being vacated in the fall, the water supply
is turned off, and consequently all the
traps become emptied, thus leaving a
direct communication between the interior
of the building and the cess-pool. Before
re-occupancy in the spring the fires are
started to drive away the dampness some
time before the water is turned on and
the traps filled, which fills the house with
any accumulation of gas which may be in
the well, owing to the increased temper-
ature of the dwelling. The above facts
may account for the odor of drainage
which we so often find in houses that have
been vacant, and it may also account for
some of our apparently unaccountable
cases of Typhoid which develop in the
suburbs during the early spring, and which
are usually attributed to city causes, and
which you sometimes find in dwellings of
unexceptionable drainage.

:o:

STATE SANITARY CONVENTION.

All persons who desire to attend the
Convention of Sanitarians, to be held at
Lewisburg, Pa., May 17 and 18, under
the auspices of the State Board of Health
of Pennsylvania, should apply for railroad
certificates for reduced fore to the under-
signed, stating which railroad will be
used. Wm. B. Atkinson, M. D.,
1400 Pine Street, Phila,,
Manager of TransportatioH,
:o:

Lady Mary Worthy Montague, bom in
1690, introduced inoculation for small-
pox from Turkey into England, and had
her own daughter publicly inoculated for
example's sake.



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THE ANNALS OF HYGIENE,



189



REPORT ON A SPECIMEN OF
PORK.



A subscriber in Mahanoy City thus
writes to us :

** I send you by n)ail|two specimens of
pickled pork, one is cooked by boiling,
the other is as taken from the pickle (or
salt and water). Please examine the same
and let me know the result of your inves-
tigation. There is at least ten ton of this
class of meat in this borough."

P. A. BissELL, A. M., M. D.

The specimens were sent to Dr. L.
Wolff, Demonstrator of Chemistry in the
Jefferson Medical College and his report
is appended.

Philadelphia, Pa., 333 S. 12th St.,
April 7 th, 1888.
Z>r, /. F. Edwards,

Annals of Hygiene.

Dear Sir : — In answer to your fevor of
March loth, accompanied by several spec-
imens of pork or bacon, some of which
were in a raw and others in a cooked state,
and which, you requested me to examine,
I submit to you the following report :

The pork or bacon appeared of the or-
dinary kind, but all the specimens con-
tained in the fatt> part thereof, peculiar
stellate dark colored configurations which
were in conglomerate deposits $q dense at
times that the figures above mentioned
would run into each other.

With a view to determine their nature
sections containing the dark stains were
subjected to close microscopic examina-
tion, which revealed them to consist of



Online LibraryJoseph F. EdwardsThe Annals of hygiene → online text (page 26 of 71)