As to the first century in North America, was the quality of water safe enough to drink and bathe in or were measures taken beforehand?  If the quality was unsafe, I would like to know where and when contamination was recognized and if at first safe, when and where discovered.  Thank you!

Hi Sage,  

I'm not sure what you mean by the "first century"  Do you mean 2000 years ago? When people first came on to North America?  

In either case, the people who first came to the continent and those who lived here before the first Europeans or Non-Native Asians arrived, the only thing that would have been viewed as polution was mud or dirt and if you waited long enough this would settle out.  Yes, there were parisites and other organisms in the water but they had an immunity to most of these.  They were very careful in that they did not pee or poop near their fresh water sources since this was a common sense thing to avoid doing.  

Did they occasionally get sick from the  water, yes, probably.  Did they know why, probably not but these folks were no dumbies, they understood the natural world around them and managed their resources very carefully.

People did not recognize "pollution" until the cities were being built and they had to figure out what to do with the waste that was being produced.  They also discovered that this waste could bring on sicknesses so they came up with ways to avoid this problem.  The Romans built aquiducts to bring fresh water to Rome to help stem the spread of diseases.

Hope this helps.


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Ralph Salier


20+ years in Business Anthropology working all over the world. Background in Archaeology and Anthropology.


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MA Anthropology, Proximics

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