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First. We view with surprise and alarm the acts of the Governor of California and the Mayor of San Francisco, in attempting to suppress the facts relating to the presence of bubonic plague in that city. We are surprised at such attempts, because we regard the facts as fully established and beyond all question. The Board of Health of the city of San Francisco, composed of honorable gentlemen, distinguished for their scientific attainments, and holding the entire confidence of their associates and the public, published the facts in their monthly report to the city government, submitting therein all necessary data. The existence of the plague in said city was afterward confirmed, by an expert, sent there by the United States Marine Hospital Service, also by an expert employed by the State Board of Health, and finally by a commission of eminent bacteriologists of international fame, whose sole interest in the matter was to know the truth.
Second. Wė view with alarm this attempt to suppress the fact of the presence of an epidemic disease, the most deadly known to medical science, because with bubonic plague and cholera in a number of ports in direct communication with that of San Francisco, and with the energies of the Governor of the State and the Mayor of the city directed to the suppression of truth rather than the plague, what guarantee has the interior that it will long be exempt from the pestilence ?
Third. We condemn and deplore the acts of the Governor of said State in attempting to discredit the competency and veracity of the experts above mentioned; for forcing the resignation of certain members of the State Board of Health because they concurred in the expert conclusions; for seeking to unduly influence the United States Treasury Department, and for making denial of the existence of plague a condition of appointment to the vacancies caused by the above resignations.
Fourth. We condemn and deplore the act of the Mayor of San Francisco in co-operating with the Governor as above set forth, and for removing from office the city Board of Health of San Francisco for no other reason than that in the faithful discharge of the duties imposed upon them by law, and their endeavor to protect the lives and health of the citizens of that metropolis, they published the presence of the plague, and maintained their honor against all contrary influences.
Fifth. We further declare, it is beyond our comprehension how any member of the honorable profession of medicine, conscious of the dignity of this high calling, and zealous for maintenance of
that dignity, could accept appointment to vacancies thus created under the condition expressed or implied.
Sixth. We affirm that in every State, territory and municipality of the United States where the representatives of the people have enacted laws for the protection of the lives and health of their citizens and have appointed boards whose duty it is to execute those laws, the citizens of said States, territories and municipalities have a right to hold said boards to the faithfui performance of their duties, and to the prompt and effectual use of every means which the law allows and sanitary science approves for the prevention of the introduction and the spread of epidemic diseases.
Seventh. We further affirm that in the employment of such means, it is absolutely necessary to notify the public of the presence of said epidemic disease, point out the locality in winich it has appeared, indicate its progress, etc., in order that the public, having knowledge, may co-operate in its extinction.
Eighth. We further affirm that in pursuance of these measures and in answer to the rightful demand of citizens for protection, infected houses should be placarded conspicuously, and if found necessary, guards should be employed and detention and isolation hospitals erected; in the employment of which measures, together with general disinfection, publicity should be courted rather than avoided.
Vinth. We further affirm that, where the responsibility of protecting the public health rests solely upon said boards, no other authority, however high, should thrust itself between them and their duties, and where individuals or corporations interfere to prevent the discharge of said duties, such should be made amenable to the law.
Lastly. We call upon sanitary associations, boards of health, medical and scientific associations throughout the country to join with us.
The above expression was fully discussed and finally adopted unanimously by the conference.
The following gentleman from other States were in attendance at the Indiana conference of health officers: Dr. Byron D. Stanton, President, and Dr. Charles O. Probst, Secretary, of the Ohio State Board of Health ; also Dr. Wm. Bailey, President; and Dr. J. N. McCormack, Secretary of the Kentucky State Board of Health. All of these gentlemen formally concurred in the above action in regard to plague in San Francisco.
PURE FOOD AND PURE DRUGS. "Medical News,” May 3, is much exercised over the Pure Food and Pure Drugs Bill, as published in full in our May number, then pending in the House of Representatives, chiefly because, apparently, it confers too much power upon the Chief Chemist of the Agricultural Department, with which Department the bill seems to have originated, and for this it deserves much credit. Nevertheless, “Medical News” contends :
"If interstate commerce in manufactured foods and drugs is to be at all regulated, and it is in serious need of most careful and wise regulation, such control should come within the jurisdiction of the Treasury Department of the United States Government, and, should questions of deleterious adulteration in food or drug products arise, such should be referred for investigation to the existing medical authorities of the Treasury Department, the present Marine-Hospital Service. The Agricultural Department should have no voice in matters of commerce or of medicine, preventive or otherwise. The Agricultural Department was not instituted for that purpose—its sphere of usefulness should not extend outside of the interests of the grower of crops. The Chief Chemist is chosen for his proficiency in agricultural chemistry; he is not a sanitary expert, nor a physiologist, nor a pathologist, nor a physician, nor is he called upon to possess a knowledge of the complicated details of interstate commerce. Why, then, should any representative now in office seek to wrest these duties from a department already organized to which they might be referred with much better chance of their competent fulfillment ?"
THE SANITARIAN shares to the full the high esteem here expressed for the existing medical authorities of the Treasury Department, but it would not be purblind. The fact is, that the Agricultural Department is also provided with an even older and, perhaps, an equally well, if not, indeed, better, equipped laboratory, for such analytical work as the bill in question requires, than that under the auspices of the Treasury Department. And, moreover, that it has been for several years an effective arm of defense against the spread of infectious diseases among the people, as well as animals. Hence, to attribute the relation of the Chief Chemist of the Agricultural Department; as in the bill provided, to a selfseeking interest and effort to "wrest these duties from a department already" (but more recently) “organized" (than that of the Agricultural Department) “to which they might be referred” is preposterous. The effort is to wrest it from the Department of Agriculture, where only it has hitherto obtained. If for other and better reasons, it can be made to appear that the Bureau of the Marine Hospital Service is better equipped, or better suited to the provisions of the bill in question than the chemical laboratory of the Agricultural Department, THE SANITARIAN would heartily favor the transfer.
THE USE OF BORAX AND BORIC ACID AS FOOD PRESERVATIVES. Victor Vaughan and William H. Veenboer (“American Medicine") conclude that the use of borax or boric acid as a preservative in butter and cream in the quantities specified in the recommendations of the English Commission is justified both by practical results and by scientific experimentation. The dusting of the surfaces of hams and bacon which are to be transported long distances with borax or boric acid, not exceeding 1.5 per cent. of the weight of the meat, is effective, and not objectionable from a sanitary standpoint. Meat thus dusted with borax or boric acid does not become slimy, because the preservative thus used prevents the growth of aerobic, peptonizing micro-organisms.
LICK THE LETTER. “The Scientific American” invites attention to the splendid work the London “Lancet" is doing in its laboratory for the public health of Great Britain, and that it has been considering the postage stamp as not too unimportant for its attention. That blood-poisoning has, without a doubt, been traced to licking an infectious postage stamp as a cause, and the chances of a postage stamp becoming infectious are obviously abundant. This year it was decided to revert to red as the distinguishing color of the penny stamp. On examination it is found that one of the innocuous aniline reds was used, which is peculiarly resistant to atmosphoric action or to the action of moisture. Strong acids disturb it but little. The adhesive material is dextrine or British gum in all cases."
No matter what the adhesive material may be, there is no reason to believe that it is wholesome. The SANITARIAN has always abstained from the dangerous practice of tasting such stuff, and instead, licks the letter.
COMMITTEE OF THE AMERICAN PUBLIC HEALTH ASSOCIATION TO
INVESTIGATE THE ARMY CANTEEN SYSTEM. The Executive Committee of the American Public Health Association recently passed a resolution recommending the appointment of a special committee to prepare and publish, at an early date, a pamphlet for public circulation, containing the resolution of the Public Health Association in favor of the army canteen, together with a concise statement of the data upon which this action was based, and definite references to the original sources from which such information is obtainable; such pamphlet to be issued in the name of the association. • This recommendation was made in view of the fact: (1) That an important function of the American Public Health Association is to educate the public in matters of hygiene; (2) That the action above referred to is in disagreement with the ideas of a very large number of good citizens; (3) That this is a possible opportunity of securing their understanding of the action of the association, and, it is to be hoped, their intelligent co-operation in taking successive steps toward the betterment of existing conditions.
In compliance with the above resolution, the following representative committee has been appointed :
Chairman, Dr. C. A. Lindsley, ex-President of the American Public Health Association ; Secretary, Connecticut State Board of Health, New Haven, Conn.
Members: Dr. Geo. M. Kober, Professor of Hygiene, Georgetown University, Washington, D. C.; Dr. S. H. Durgin, ex-President of the American Public Health Association, Health Officer of Boston, Mass.; Dr. Helen C. Putnam, Providence, R. I.; Dr.
sas City, Mo. ; Mr. Henry Lomb, Rochester, N. Y.; Dr. J. H. Huddleston, Surgeon, National Guard, State of New York, New York City.
It is understood that this committee will go fully into the causes which led up to the establishment of the canteen system in the army, the results of this system as observed during the decade of its existence, and the effect of its late abolition upon temperance and morals in the military service.
The committee on Pathologic Exhibit for the American Medical Association is anxious to secure materials for the coming session at Saratoga, June 10 to 13, inclusive.
This exhibit was accorded much praise and comment during the sessions at Atlantic City and St. Paul, respectively, where were collected valuable exhibits from all parts of the country. The materials included not only pathologic specimens but the allied