By Russell Lopez (auth.)
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Additional info for Building American Public Health: Urban Planning, Architecture, and the Quest for Better Health in the United States
In New York City, for example, it was found that wealthy mainline Protestant churches owned some of the worst tenements, but church leaders disassociated themselves from the hardships of the slums. 56 The issue was not to be solved until the next century. 34 B U I L D I N G A M E R I C A N P U B L I C H E A LT H Baron Haussmann and the Rebuilding of Paris Some thought that the way to improve cities was to rebuild them. In this view, the way to address the poverty and dilapidated housing of the slums was to demolish and replace them with new dwellings for the rich and middle classes.
Furthermore, the groundwater under cities was as contaminated as the surface water. ”50 Studies of the toxic effects of chemical pollution would not become common for another 100 years, but new chemicals of the era, particularly dyes derived from coal tars, were often carcinogenic, or the cause of birth defects and xenoestrogenic effects. 51 Despite this lack of science, according to the 1850 report of the Sanitary Commission of Massachusetts, The smoke of furnaces, manufactories, and other establishments is often a great nuisance to a neighborhood and is supposed to be deleterious to health.
On the other hand, bad smells were particularly strong in the poorer sections of cities where the epidemics tended to be worse. 42 Robert Koch did not isolate the bacteria that caused cholera until 1883 and it was only after Snow’s death that his theories on the transmission of disease through contaminated water became accepted. 43 As will be seen, these epidemiological methods, reﬁned but 32 B U I L D I N G A M E R I C A N P U B L I C H E A LT H still in use today, are very distinct from what other professions were to develop.