Diabetes and NCDs (non-communicable diseases) as rallying point for improved sanitation
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TOPIC: Diabetes and NCDs (non-communicable diseases) as rallying point for improved sanitation

Re: Diabetes and NCDs (non-communicable diseases) as rallying point for improved sanitation 03 Jan 2014 11:51 #6880

  • muench
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Dear Keith,

I would say there is wide consensus nowadays that the flush toilet also has many drawbacks (apart from its positive sides for which it was invented). That's precisely the reason why Bill Gates started his "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge" to find something better - from a technological point of view (yes, we know technology is not the only issue here but it is part of the puzzle). The research projects funded under that scheme are being discussed in great detail in this category on the forum:

I would like to advocate against the term "water-based sanitation", and to rather replace it with either "water-based excreta management" or "sewer-based excreta management". Why do I say that? Well, sanitation is more than just toilets, it is also about all the activities that produce greywater (as well as rainwater drainage and solid waste management).

Therefore, even if we all had UDDTs or composting toilets, we would still generate wastewater from having showers, taking baths, doing laundry, cleaning activities, plus then there is still all the industrial wastewater of course, dairies, abattoirs, tanneries, breweries, etc. In densely populated areas you could not infiltrate all this, so you still need sewers and treatment plants of some sort, even if you had much less excreta in it.

And pathogens as well as micropollutants from greywater would still go into this wastewater, just think of all the additives that are in soaps, shampoos and shower gels. Also think of washing underpants, nappies (if washable nappies are used), washing babies' bottoms, washing people who have had diarrhoea, caring for elderly, cleaning your own bum etc.

So we will always need water for sanitation (=water-based sanitation), even if we had no flush toilets.

Don't get me wrong, I am a huge fan of non-flushing toilets (I have a Separett toilet in my house for years, and I do my fair bit to advocate them where they fit). I just don't like statements about sanitation that are overly simplified.

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
Frankfurt, Germany
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Last Edit: 03 Jan 2014 11:54 by muench.
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Re: Diabetes and NCDs (non-communicable diseases) as rallying point for improved sanitation 04 Jan 2014 00:23 #6883

  • KeithBell
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Elisabeth, I completely agree. Please forgive my simplification. Though the word sanitation does normally connote toilets, it means so much more. Of course, I'm not advocating waterless bathing.

Have you heard today's news about obesity more than tripling in the developing world? All the reports focus on diet and exercise, of course. But obesity in the developing world is not a simple matter of diet. It’s about toxic air, soil and water pollution damaging intestinal flora balance over generations.

Re: Diabetes and NCDs (non-communicable diseases) as rallying point for improved sanitation 05 Jan 2014 18:11 #6895

  • KeithBell
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Per the new study, obesity in the developing world has nearly quadrupled from 250 million to 904 million between 1980 and 2008. It's not a simple matter of diet. But I believe poor sanitation is the sleeping giant behind NCDs (non-communicable diseases) including diabetes and obesity.

Here are some additional factors aside from toxic industrial air, soil and water pollution, all related to microbial imbalance as cause of the obesity epidemic:

1) Antibiotic abuse

2) Cesarean section

3) Vaccination
Why is no one asking if vaccines cause obesity? Instead, vaccine scientists create vaccines for the very problems vaccines may cause. There are no comprehensive studies about collateral damage to flora balance by vaccination.

4) Lack of breastfeeding

“the clearest evidence to date that gut bacteria can help cause obesity.”

And the problem is now generational as the developing fetus receives flora in the womb. The womb is not sterile as commonly believed and was never meant to be sterile. Adding insult to injury, I've read 12% of UK newborns receive antibiotics.

Is the obesity epidemic really just a simple matter of diet? Or is it really about pollution, antibiotic abuse, lack of breastfeeding, poor sanitation, vaccination and cesarean section? All these things damage flora balance responsible for obesity as well as the diabetes epidemic. Children are now born predisposed to obesity, diabetes, anorexia . . . that's right, anorexia is commonly viewed as being of psychological origin, but evidence reveals it's actually a matter of gut dysbiosis. Eating disorders are on the rise in very young children, born imbalanced:
Last Edit: 05 Jan 2014 18:44 by KeithBell.
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