Plumbers’ Vital Role in the Health and Well-being of Humans

Modern Plumbing Systems Have Eradicated Disease and Saved Millions

Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists and others in the The Healthcare industry receive much well-deserved credit for their work. They develop and administer vaccines, prescribe and provide antibiotics, perform surgeries, and help prevent disease. Did you know, however, that Plumbers and proper plumbing in general, over the years have been an unseen central key to the general improvement of overall health of people all over the world. It is a fact that one of the leading reasons many epidemic diseases are more under control around the world now than ever before is due to modern plumbing infrastructure.  During the 1850s, Doctors and Plumbing worked hand in hand. Dr. John Snow, regarded as the father of epidemiology, traced the deadly disease of cholera to feces discovered by a public water pump. His encouragement to discontinue use of the pump and to properly dispose of feces helped to African Boy collecting waterstop further epidemic growth of the disease.

If you step outside the comfortable borders of Alabama and the United States and head to some of the most underdeveloped countries in the world (Somalia, Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea, Burundi, Haiti, Sierra Leone, Guatemala or any other similar 3rd-world country), you will quickly discover, wherever modern plumbing is absent, mass disease is present. Sadly, without proper plumbing, the life span of people in these countries drops to roughly half that of the norm of industrialized and plumbed 1st-world countries.

Direct Tie Between Quality Plumbing and Life Span

The quality of a country’s plumbing is directly tied to the life expectancy of the people in it. Even when accounting for child mortality rates in 3rd-world countries, the average life expectancy of people in such countries, as mentioned above, is only about 49. On the flip side, in countries where plumbing is modernized, the average life expectancy pushes into the 80’s. Furthermore, in modernized countries, the percentage of people living to over 100 now has skyrocketed in the recent years. There is a direct correlation between the time frame of modern plumbing and the increased life span.

Old AqueductPre-Plumbing History

Unfortunately, after Rome fell, many in Europe disdained bathing. They actually believed that getting wet caused sickness. Don’t laugh too soon. Some in our culture still believe walking in the rain is enough to cause one to get sick, instead of realizing the true culprit of sickness. That said, the loathing of bathing continued throughout the Dark Ages and even into the beginning of the modern era in civilized society.

Even in the United States, the influence of the disdain for bathing was evident. In Philadelphia, in 1835, a law was nearly passed which forbade bathing in winter. Believe it or not, in 1845, the city of Boston actually did pass a law banning bathing, unless directed by a Doctor. The result of our non-hygiene way of living? Notwithstanding infant mortality, the average life span of a person in the United States in the early 1800s was just 37 years old!

Before modern plumbing, feces was thrown into the streets. This created the perfect environment for the spread of disease. The Black Plague killed upwards of 200 million people worldwide! In the U.S. alone, nearly 700,000 people died!

Polio and Plumbing

The Polio virus is very easily transmitted through human waste; when present, the virus thrives in feces. Today, where modern plumbing infrastructure is good, polio is under control. In countries where water sanitation systems and hygiene are not yet up to modern global standards, polio still thrives. Unfortunately, vaccinations alone will not completely eradicate polio. One dose of polio vaccine is only 90% effective, and even three doses are only about 99% effective. It is therefore essential that, even in our modern day, we work to keep our human waste out of the streets and delivered into a good functioning sewer system. Helpful Tip: Always be careful where you travel and of your surroundings.

Plumbing is the Answer

There is no doubt, modern plumbing systems and ways to deliver sanitary water prevents the proliferation of disease. Even past civilizations have known of the importance of plumbing for good health. Even in the Old Testament, rules were given for people doing things in a sanitary manner. Even the Roman Empire had its good points, such as their elaborate and well-advanced plumbing systems to provide water through aqueducts for baths and drainage.


Unfortunately, when the Roman Empire fell, plumbing and sanitation fell with it and wouldn’t come back to prominence for centuries; and civilization paid a steep price.

Millions around the world died due to a lack of proper plumbing. In fact, Smallpox continued to affect Europe’s population until such time that plumbing infrastructure was a reality.

So, Hemphill Services reminds you, the next time you’re taking a bath or washing dishes or clothes, stop to consider, you could be living in a 3rd-world country without access to clean water and a sanitary sewer system. So, in this season of thankfulness, let’s remember the simpler things we take for granted to be thankful for, and remember the work done by plumbers, and what’s been done by them to stop the spread of disease and save lives. Let’s count our blessings and look for ways to give back where we can, especially during this Holiday season.

An Opportunity to Give Back

If you’re looking for a great way to give back and help those in need to receive clean water, Hemphill Services would like to ask you to consider giving to the work of organizations such as Never Thirst. Check them out online and give if you feel so inclined.Never Thirst

Have you thanked a plumber today? If your sewer line is clogged, you have a leak, need something installed, or water’s not flowing as it should, you know who to call… the name Birmingham-area residents have trusted since 1954, Hemphill Services, your plumbing, heating, and cooling experts… 205.229.2090.