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May 15, 1886

SUGGESTIONS ON THE PURITY OF CHICAGO DRINKING WATER.

JAMA. 1886;VI(20):544-546. doi:10.1001/jama.1886.04250050068002
Abstract

No question of local sanitation has been more often and less intelligently discussed in Chicago, than the purity of our drinking water. While alarmists have filled the newspapers with sensational exaggerations, our authorities have denied all danger on grounds insufficient to prove the point.

The starting-point of any discussion must, of course, be the fact, that the sewerage of this enormous city is carried into the lake—the source of our drinking water, whenever the current of the river runs towards the lake, which occurs a large part of the time. Now, as there is no direct evidence that any one disease or class of diseases are due solely to the drinking water thus contaminated, how can we decide whether any danger to health lurks in this water? Chemical examination can only tell us whether organic material exists to a larger extent in our drinking water than it does in other

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