MCV/Q, Medical College of Virginia Quarterly

MCV/Q, Medical College of Virginia Quarterly

Article Title

The Ambient Air


Edith Iglauer

Orginal Publication Date


Journal Title

MCV/Q, Medical College of Virginia Quarterly





First Page


Last Page



Dogs, rats, mice, guinea pigs, donkeys, men, women, and children--a whole world breathing, and nobody knows exactly what we are breathing or exactly how it affects us. Dr. Robert Horton, an epidemiologist who was formerly a professor at the University of Michigan and now presides, from a desk in Cincinnati, over the government's Health Effects Research Program, spent several hours discussing the progress of air-pollution research with a caller not long ago, and then, in a matter-of-fact voice, said, "The British reduced cholera and typhoid in the nineteenth century before they knew bacteria existed, and we may have to regulate our air supply before we have complete knowledge about air pollution. The methods we have for detecting excess deaths are so crude that there has to be a pretty big excess for us to realize that it's there at all. What we do know is that people get killed by air pollution, and I don't see any excuse for there being enough air pollution to kill people. Do you?"


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