For instance, contemporary organizational miasma theory
describes "a contagious state of pollution--material, psychological, and spiritual--that afflicts all who work in certain organizations that undergo sudden and traumatic transformations" (Gabriel, 2012, p.
Not just inventions like steam-powered refrigeration (1834) but, often amid heated debate, discoveries like the germ theory of disease that finally bested the miasma theory
Chadwick's strict adherence to the miasma theory
of disease transmission, however, prevented him from fully understanding how waterborne illnesses (e.g., cholera) were being spread.
He discarded the long-held miasma theory
, arguing that cholera was water- and not air-borne as was initially thought.He mapped the deaths in relation to their water sources and pinpointed one of the public wells as the source of sickness due to pollution.
In passing, it seems that the miasma theory
of disease, which held that illness was caused by 'bad air', was alive and well; the influenza virus was not discovered until the 1930s.
(10) 1700s 1780 Ben Franklin criticized for opening his window at night, in contrast to the popular miasma theory
. 1800s 1860 Florence Nightingale advocates access to ventilation to discourage miasma.
By the second decade of the 20th century, the miasma theory
was no longer popular with scientists.
The medical industry is always innovating and improving their ability to prevent the spread of infectious diseases--the paradigm shift from miasma theory
to germ theory ushered in a wave of new techniques and best practices.
It used to be that finding evidence of toxins or contamination was impossible--not only were the molecules of toxin invisible, but the miasma theory
of disease pretty much assured that people weren't looking for the right thing to identify organismic contamination.
She also fretted over the troublesome "moral miasma." This language echoed the dominant conception of disease of the time: miasma theory
. Miasma theory
located the origin of infectious diseases in polluted soil, which emitted a "miasma" that caused illness and was spread through the wind (Bloom, 1965).
From early in the 18th century onwards this belief came to be called the miasma theory
. It held sway well into the 1860s, until disproved by John Snow in London, at about the same time that (independently) Louis Pasteur and other researchers demonstrated that germs, not foul air, were the principal agents in the spread of disease (Giblett 1996; Halliday 2001).
Today's self-evident 'scientific truth' becomes tomorrow's quaint oddity to join etheric transmission and the miasma theory
of disease propagation in the dustbin of scientific history.