John Snow Battled Cholera. What We Know about Dr. John Snow.
If we want to understand how to take care of our eyes and bodies as we battle evaporation of their water vapor, we need to know all that we can possibly know about the pioneers who got us to this point in water research and new water technology. This is the view of Sharon Kleyne, host of the nationally syndicated radio program, The Sharon Kleyne Hour Power of Water, Global Climate Change and Your Health on Voice of America. “We need to understand the commitment of people like Dr. Snow,” said Kleyne, “if we’re going to jumpstart research and begin to find water-based cures for what ails society. For instance,” Kleyne continued, “we have Dr. Snow to thank for disproving the popular Miasma Theory that held that most diseases were airborne.”
Sharon Kleyne pointed out that it was Dr. Snow who developed the revolutionary belief that water, not air, was the culprit. With this in mind, he himself only ever drank boiled water or distilled water; he also believed in drinking lots of it. “Dr. Snow understood the importance of supplementing the body’s evaporating water vapor,” said Kleyne, “in order to maintain a healthy relationship between ourselves and the hydrating world.
Dr. John Snow, who died of a stroke on June 16, 1858, gained his greatest notoriety when he solved the cause of the Cholera epidemic in London’s Golden Square neighborhood. His groundbreaking research led him to discover that the disease originated with tainted water from the Broad Street pump in 1854. More than 500 people in the neighborhood had already died as a result of this epidemic by the time Snow convinced the reluctant commissioners to remove the pump handle. With the well shut down, the deaths by cholera ceased instantly. Yet it would be ten more years before maintenance workers discovered that the well had been tainted by a faulty sewer wall nearby. Yes, foul water triggered a cholera epidemic. Snow had been right. Dr, Snow also became a vocal speaker against the practice of dumping raw sewage into natural waterways. “Snow argued that it perpetuated the death spiral of cholera,” Kleyne said.
Sharon Kleyne closed with a cautionary tale, noting that if Snow’s discoveries had been accepted in his time by engineers, sewer planners and drinking water providers, millions of deaths would have been avoided. “Snow was a visionary,” Kleyne said, “and I wonder how many lives we’re losing today because we’re ignoring new water research and technology that would improve life on this planet.”