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Article
November 24, 1917

DECENCY AND SAFETY AS PUBLIC HEALTH FACTORS

JAMA. 1917;LXIX(21):1817. doi:10.1001/jama.1917.02590480071027

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Abstract

To the Editor:  —Forcing the nation at large, by public health legislation, to adopt the idle fancies of the rich is advocated, at least by implication, in Dr. North's "Decency and Safety as Public Health Factors" (The Journal, Oct. 13, 1917, p. 1214). He proposes that "esthetic" requirements should be introduced into public health laws, and decries the "pragmatists" and "realists" who will not put into force any compulsory requirements beyond those definitely proved to be real requisites to safety. So direct a challenge to the best trend in modern public health thought certainly deserves a reply.We are but struggling now from the slough of "esthetic" requirements, serving no useful purpose, which the old public health presented, and your author would have us return thereto. The amount of money spent in the past fifty years, even to this day, on "esthetic" measures would have placed us, had it

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