Originally Posted by Saul Badguy
Did cleanliness cute polio? Is Magic Johnson still alive because he uses Purell?
Purell had nothing to do with it. If you research it you'd find that cleanliness and improved standard of living was the largest factor in reduction such diseases. We already covered the polio issue in the many vaccination threads.
So I'll pick a few other examples:
Horses would leave feces on the street. It would rain and melt into the puddles. Then the heat would dry it with the particles spreading into the air which people then breathed in leading to lock-jaw. Dr. Semmelweis discovered that childbed fever, often fatal and common mid-19th-century illness, could be drastically reduced by the use of hand washing with a disinfectant. Doctors were offended at the suggestion that they should wash their hands and felt this conflicted established scientific opinions of the time resulting in the rejection of Dr. Semmelweis by the medical community. Of course, it is accepted today and I've seen medical professionals make similar claims about cleanliness being the biggest reason for our improved health. We've pretty much conquered the infectious diseases—NOT the degenerative ones yet. That's the next puzzle to solve. New ones have appeared.
It isn't slander if it isn't true. Overuse of antibiotics wasn't known about at one time. Yet, these were considered miracle drugs.
Vested interests do stand to lose a lot of money when someone comes forward about something not being healthy. We need people like that. Just look at both sides and make your own decision. For me, if there's too much contrary facts then I err on the side of caution.
My data is from the last hundred years or so. Your examples are from the mid 1800s back to colonial times. While fascinating, they are completely irrelevant to the current, constant increase in life expectancy.