(1) (a) Tuberculosis Dispensary.— Alexandra House, 135, Bow Road, E. Premises unsuitable, owing to noise, being situated on the main road — which is paved with granite setts and ever which the traffic is heavy. At the back the noise is even more troublesome — owing to the recent extension of a neighbouring engineering works — in such a way as to practically surround the dispensary at close quarters. The Council are negotiating for other premises in Wellington Road. This is a comparatively quiet site, and far better suited for the purposes of a dispensary.
While it does not admit of statistical measurement, there can be little doubt that the Council’s provision of milk for necessitous mothers and children has been an important contributing factor to the improved standard of child life in the borough. The milk provides much needed increased resistance to the debilitating effects of over-crowding, noise and dirt, deficiency of sunlight and air, and the other concomitants of poverty in a congested urban area. Its value in better health far outweighs its modest cost in cash.
NOISE AND MILK GRANTS
The commonsense fact remains that in the vast majority of cases the gift of milk to a necessitous mother or child is of obvious benefit in building up under-nourished or unsuitably-nourished bodies and in strengthening the capacity to resist the evil effects of overcrowding, shortage of sunshine and fresh air, presence of noise, dirt, etc. Until such time as every family is in a position to provide for itself, the expenditure on milk grants can be regarded as a sound public health investment.
NOISE. During the past few years the question of noise as a factor in ill - health has received well needed attention. In 1928 the British Medical Association prepared a Memorandum on Preventable Noises which was submitted to the Minister of Health. The subject has more recently been under consideration by the Metropolitan Boroughs’ Standing Joint Committee. Among the preventable noises may be mentioned :—
(i) insufficiently silenced motor vehicles ;
(ii) unnecessarily raucous warning instruments carried by motor vehicles;
(iii) barking dogs and crowing cocks, especially in congested areas;
(iv) cries and bells of street vendors;
(v) careless handling of milk churns;
(vi) noise from shunting, etc., on railways;
(vii) public wireless loud speakers;
(viii) industrial machinery constructed or operated without regard to the noise produced thereby.
The fact that noise produces no immediate or obvious ailment and that the adaptable human body gets used to it as to other bad conditions is no argument for accepting it as a disagreeable but necessary evil. As was pointed out by the distinguished doctors who took part in the deputation to the Minister of Health, noise has an insidious but very definite prejudicial effect upon health, and it contributes to a great deal of nervous disease as well as complicating or retarding recovery from other ailments.
The time has come when public health authorities should insist that active steps be taken to reduce the amount of noise from which the public suffers, much of it preventable by the exercise of a little intelligence. It is to be hoped that engineers and transport administrators will devote some of their skill to devising machinery and vehicles which will operate with the minimum of nervous injury to the public at large.