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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/387

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381
STUFFY ROOMS

talk of seven and even eight per 1,000 in certain districts. The general death-rate is a low one. The fishermen fish off shore, work for many hours a day in the fishing season, and live with their families on shore in one-roomed shanties. These shanties are built of wood, the crannies are "stogged" with moss, and the windows nailed up, so that ventilation is very imperfect. They are heated by stoves and kept at a very high temperature, e. g., 80° F. Outside in the winter the temperature may be 30 degrees below freezing. The women stay inside the shanties almost all their time, and the tuberculosis rate is somewhat higher in them. The main food is white bread, tea stewed in the pot till black, fish occasionally, a little margarine and molasses. The fish is boiled and the water thrown away. Game has become scarce in recent years; old, dark-colored flour—spoken of with disfavor—has been replaced by white flour. In consequence of this diet beri-beri has become rife to a most serious extent, and the hospitals are full of cases. Martin Flack and I have found by our feeding experiments that rats, mice and pigeons can not be maintained on white bread and water, but can live on wholemeal, or on white bread in which we incorporate an extract of the sharps and bran in sufficient amount. Recent work has shown the vital importance of certain active principles present in the outer layers of wheat, rice, etc., and in milk, meat, etc., which are destroyed by heating to 120° C. A diet of white bread or polished rice and tinned food sterilized by heat is the cause of beri-beri. The metabolism is endangered by the artificial methods of treating foods now in vogue. As to the prevalency of tuberculosis in Labrador, we have to consider the inter-marriage, the bad diet, the over-rigorous work of the fishermen, the over-heating of, and infection in the shanties. Dr. Wakefield has slept with four other travelers in a shanty with father, mother and ten children. In some there is scarce room on the floor to lie down. The shanties are heated with a stove on which pots boil all the time; water runs down the windows. The patients are ignorant, and spit everywhere, on bed, floor and walls. In the schools the heat and smell is most marked to one coming in from the outside air. In one school 50 cubic feet per child is the allowance of space. The children are eating all day long, and are kept in close hot confinement. They suffer very badly from decay of the teeth. Whole families are swept off with tuberculosis, and the child who leaves home early may escape, while the rest of a family dies. Here, then, we have people living in the wildest and least populated of lands with the purest atmosphere suffering from all those ill-results which are found in the worst city slums—tuberculosis, beri-beri and decayed teeth.

The bad diet probably impels the people to conserve their body heat and live in the over-warm, confined atmosphere, just as our