MOTOR TRAFFIC AND THE POLLUTION OF THE AIR.

MOTOR TRAFFIC AND THE POLLUTION OF THE AIR.

464 for so much energy is expended, then the carbon monoxide is reduced to a minimum amount. It is obvious that the first condition most frequently re...

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464 for so much energy is expended, then the carbon monoxide is reduced to a minimum amount. It is obvious that the first condition most frequently repre-

Sept. 24th, a dinner on the 25th, performances at the Royal theatres on the 26th, and a garden party on the 28th. After the conclusion of the Congress on Sept. 29th there will be a visit to Hamburg, where a social meeting will be held in the evening, and Sept. 30th will be spent partly in sightseeing and partly in a reception by the municipality at the Rathaus. The Congress is divided into the following eight sections : (1) hygienic microbiology and parasitology; (2) dietetic hygiene and hygienic physiology; (3) hygiene of childhood and schools ; (4) occupational hygiene and the protection of the health of workpeople ; (5) the prevention of infectious diseases and the care of the sick ; (6) in two subdivisions (a) hygiene of dwellings, towns, and water, and (b) hygiene of methods of intercommunication and life-saving; (7) military, colonial, and naval hygiene ; and (8) demography. The official languages of the congress are English, French, and German. Any person of either sex interested in hygiene The membership or demography may become a member. subscription is £1(20 marks); relatives of members

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sents the actual state of things, and it follows, now that the streets of London, at all events, are crowded with motor vehicles, including quite a large number of motor omnibuses, that the outpouring of poisonous carbon monoxide must be considerable. It is to be hoped that this pollution will spare

pedestrians from those symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning which are so well recognised in the poor collier who has been fortunate enough to escape the direct effects of the colliery explosion but who has been compelled to breathe the treacherous after-damp. Even small quantities of carbon monoxide in the air produce a serious disturbance of the health standard, the leading symptoms being headache, loss of power in the limbs, and a state of semi-consciousness as though a narcotic had been taken. In stagnant weather it would not be surprising to find that such symptoms had their origin in the outpourings of motor traffic and we may next have to consider the question of ventilating the streets when natural agencies in the shape of wind fail us. The old pollution due to animal products is rapidly passing away and a fresh sanitary problem is being presented in the new pollution which arises from the imperfect products of combustion of the petrol of motor vehicles. So long as horse traction is the vogue it is difficult to see how pollution due to physiological combustion can be entirely avoided, but with the new system of locomotion which depends upon a perfectly definite process of chemical combustion prevention should surely be easily accomplished.

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and students at colleges or universities may also be received as associate or passive members on payment of 10s. (10 marks); they may attend the meetings and the visits to places of interest but may not take part in the discussions. These subscriptions must be sent as soon as possible to the general secretary, Dr. Nietner, Berlin 9, W., Eichhornstrasse 9. The Congress has national committees in each of the participating countries. The chairman of the English committee is Sir Shirley F. Murphy, and the honorary secretaries are Professor George H. F. Nuttall, 3, Cranmer-road, Cambridge, and Dr. Paul F. Moline, 42, Walton-street, Chelsea, London, S.W. As the number of visitors promises to be very large the organising committee of the Congress recommends that hotel accommodation should be secured beforehand, and for this purpose the committee has made arrangements by which the Hamburg-Amerika Steamship Company will receive orders sent by members to its tourist office, Berlin, W., Unter den Linden 8. This company will on application send a list of 12 hotels where rooms and breakfast may be obtained at daily rates varying from 4 to 14 marks. A deposit of 10s. must be paid and the order must be given by Sept. 16th at latest. We have already mentioned in our issue of July 6th that a ladies’ committee has been formed for the purpose of receiving the ladies, both German and foreign, accompanying members.

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ABSINTHE.

SEVERAL French medical authorities maintain that habitual drinkers of absinthe exhibit far greater deterioration of both the mental and bodily functions than can be accounted for by the amount of alcohol consumed, and have suggested that the action of Belgium in prohibiting its sale should be followed. The taste for strongly sweetened and aromatic alcoholic drinks is by no means general in this country, although expensive liqueurs of various kinds are in some request in fashionable clubs and at the other end of the social scale gin and cloves " is said to have had a vogue some years ago among laundry workers. When extra flavouring is desired the ordinary spirit-drinker adds a modicum of some kind of bitters ; rum may also be taken with shrub; and there are stories to the effect that Caledonian topers MOTOR TRAFFIC AND THE POLLUTION OF have been known to impart warmth" to whisky with THE AIR. In France absinthe is the favourite cayenne pepper. Its fatal fascination for As at present constructed the petrol motor is far from liquor of the dram-drinker. inhabitants of that so bountifully supIt be the a country, may satisfactory enough being perfect engine. from the point of view of locomotion, but it is trans- plied with the natural wine of its own vineyards, is parently defective from the point of view of hygiene. hard to explain. Those whose tastes lie in the direction Not only does the motor engine at times give of[ of something stronger would, if they were well advised, drink offensive fumes which are easily visible, but it also dis- brandy distilled from wine, for this does not produce the charges unseen gases which, though apparently in- deplorable effects known collectively as absintkis7ne, against offensive, are decidedly poisonous. The perfect combustion which the medical profession of France have for years been of the petrol is hardly ever attained, and amongst the pro- warning their countrymen. Absinthe is said to have been ducts of incomplete combustion are two deadly gases- introduced into France about 60 years ago by soldiers to carbon monoxide and acetylene. It is not in the interest whom it had been recommended as a febrifuge during the of the public that these gases should be discharged freely long war which resulted in the conquest of Algeria. It into our streets, and the chauffeur who, through bad has, as many of our readers doubtless know, a peculiar engineering, allows his motor to evolve a maximum yellowish-green colour, a powerful odour, and a very volume of these gases for each explosion in the engine isi marked aromatic taste in which oil of aniseed seems to just as much a sinner against hygienic demands as is prevail. Many formulae for making it have been given. the manufacturer who makes the air vile with filthy black: They generally resolve themselves into one of two processes smoke. If no attention is paid to petrol consumption, the -namely, either (1) the distillation of alcohol in which the engine being set to give its maximum power, the exhausti pounded leaves, roots, and flowering tops of various aromatic will contain a considerable amount of poisonous carbonL plants have been macerated, including wormwood (Artemisia monoxide. If, however, attention be given to the con- absinthium), angelica root (Archangelica officinalis), sweet sumption of petrol, so that just the quantity requiredl flag root (Acorus calamus), and star anise (Illicium anisatum), ,

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