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Plumbing & Public Health: The Connection You May Not Know About

Plumbing & Public Health: The Connection You May Not Know About

At Lange Plumbing & Fire Protection, we’ve heard all the plumber stereotypes before. The butt crack jokes, the cracks about how plumbers are overpriced and rip people off; we’re aware that there’s a certain idea about who a plumber is in the American consciousness that is not necessarily accurate to what we actually do.

Chief among peoples’ misunderstandings about plumbers is the role of modern plumbing itself. As all professionals know, the job is more than replacing pipes and unclogging drains, it’s also about keeping people safe. In many ways, plumbers are the first line of defense when it comes to public health.

How Modern Plumbing Evolved

In January of 2007, the British Medical Journal put out a poll, asking the public to vote on the greatest medical milestone in the history of the magazine’s publication, dating back to 1840. In a surprise turn of events, sanitation received more votes than medications like antibiotics or preventative measures like vaccinations. But to really understand how proper sanitation and plumbing became essential to public health and sanitation, we have to go back centuries, to when these concepts were completely new.

The Romans were the first civilization to create something similar to modern plumbing, with their well-known aqueduct system. The aqueducts were essentially the world’s first sewers, and while they did improve sanitation in the home, they had the unfortunate side effect of turning rivers into nasty cesspools. After the fall of the Roman Empire and during the emergence of the Dark Ages and the plague, plumbing was set back centuries. Epidemics of dysentery, typhus, and typhoid ravaged populations, all because of poor sanitation.

Flashforward to 1871: Queen Victoria’s son, Edward, became ill with typhoid fever—the very same disease which took the life of his father 10 years before. A plumber found a contamination in the English royal family’s “water closet.” Said plumber fixed this issue, Edward lived, and the popularity of the water closet, and therefore the necessity for plumbers, spread across the nation.

Plumbing & Sanitation Today

In the first half of the 20th century, plumbers coined a new slogan: “The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation.” With Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal and the Works Progress Administration, this slogan was tested and put to good use, with plumbing becoming stronger than ever in most American homes, resulting in the efficient and modern plumbing systems we enjoy today.

In the United States, plumbing is regulated and mandated under government codes and standards and administered by licensed professionals who train intensely to amass their high level of skill. Nevertheless, disease and illness stemming from poor plumbing and sanitation still poses major risks.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency published a report in 2001 which found that between 1981 and 1998, the Centers for Disease Control documented 57 waterborne disease outbreaks, causing a total of 9,734 illnesses. 6,333 of these illnesses were caused by microbiological contamination, 779 illnesses were caused by chemical contamination, while 2,722 cases were the result of contamination not being reported. In total, the report found that 30.3% of the waterborne disease outbreaks looked at were the result of contamination in water distribution systems, while 50.6% were the result of cross-connection and backflow.

However, while nearly 10,000 waterborne illnesses over the course of 17 years might sound like a lot for the world’s leading superpower, it’s easy to forget that most countries don’t have it nearly as good as the U.S.A. In places like India, it’s been estimated that as many as 7.5% of all deaths are the result of poor water and sanitation. Throughout the world, 88% of diarrhea cases are the result of unsafe drinking water and lack of hygiene. And the World Health Organization has stated that the SARS virus which cost Asian countries billions of dollars in medical expenses and resulted in hundreds of deaths spread because of insufficient plumbing.

The fact is, most people still don’t understand how much sickness and disease would still exist in the Western world if not for sanitary plumbing. While advances in medicine and the hard work of scientists has gone a long way to stopping certain illnesses, it is plumbers and sanitation engineers who have wiped diseases like cholera off the map in America.

Thanks to modern plumbing standards, Americans are now protected against:

  1. Waterborne Diseases
  2. Contaminants
  3. Lead Poisoning
  4. Electrocution
  5. Building Damage from Flooding
  6. Asphyxiation from Toxic Gas
  7. Product Failure and Malfunctions

Lange Plumbing & Fire Protection Is Here to Keep You Safe!

Our Las Vegas plumbers are not asking for a medal. Still, it’s nice when people recognize how hard we work to keep them safe! At Lange Plumbing & Fire Protection, we’re proud to go above and beyond for our customers, so they can receive the sanitation and water conditions they deserve. With affordable specials and financing options as well as 24/7 emergency repairs, there’s never a wrong time to contact our friendly technicians. Call now for exceptional Las Vegas plumbing services, and remember, we’re here to improve your health and happiness!

Dial (702) 500-0936 today to schedule an appointment, or click here to fill out our contact form online.