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sanitary revolution

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The term commonly applied to the set of policies and actions implemented in western Europe and North America, beginning in the last third of the 19th century after several severe cholera epidemics and as knowledge accumulated about polluted water as the causes of this and other filth diseases transmitted in dirty water or food. Provision of safe drinking water, sanitary disposal of human and animal waste, and hygienic food handling led directly to a spectacular decline in death rates from all the diarrheal diseases, notably among infants and young children.

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