1999 - 1900United States of America

Frequent explosive outbreaks of typhoid fever in urban areas and the high morbidity and mortality rates in cities attributed to water supplies forced the nation’s attention in the early 1900s to the pollution of rivers and lakes. Congress enacted a law in 1912 authorizing the Public Health Service to conduct investigations of pollution of navigable waters. A small group of sanitary engineers, medical officers, chemists, biologists, and bacteriologists was assembled by the Public Health Service in the summer of 1913 to begin the study of stream pollution. Dr. Wade H. Frost (1880-1938) and Dr. Leslie L. Lumsden (1875-1946) were leaders in this effort. Public Health Service became more active in research and public campaigns against disease initially to prevent outbreaks of typhoid fever from contaminated drinking water. The Act of 1912 authorized the investigation of water pollution as a cause of disease and guidelines were put into place for potable water and pasteurized milk.


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