Technical Bulletin No. 0021: Review of the Literature of 1947 on Sewage and Waste Treatment and Stream Pollution

In presenting its sixteenth annual review of the literature, the Research Committee aims to follow the pattern of previous years. The review is intended (1) to portray the progress made from year to year, (2) to provide an evaluation of the contributions made, (3) to call attention to published material that is not readily accessible, and (4) to provide a comprehensive bibliography for convenient reference. The stimulation of further research and the coordination of current studies are further objectives. An intriguing concept of the relation between polluted water and poliomyelitis was advanced during the year. The statement that certain forms of cyanides produce symptoms and pathological lesions similar to poliomyelitis, and that the cyanides may engender the production within the body of an endogenous virus which would leave the body instead of entering it, is rather beyond the scope of this review for comment, but certainly of interest to all if the concept were to be substantiated. Certainly far more information is required to explain the observed facts that polluted waters, even in the absence of living organisms, may have severe physiological effects. Recent research has indicated that certain pyrogenie products, when introduced in minute quantities into the bloodstream, may cause difficulties. Pyrogens, defined as agents which cause a rise in temperature--are probably complex bodies engendered by certain types of microscopic organisms, or possibly they are products of bacterial metabolism which are not destroyed by ordinary sterilizing procedures and withstand temperatures over 450” F. Whether or not pollution increases the pyrogen content of the water, and whether or not these products in relatively high concentrations may be of importance when present in drinking water, is not known, but they are of interest to the research worker in relation to the observed physiological effects after heavily polluted surface waters are treated and chlorinated.