Public Health and Child Labor
By: Bailey Sloop
People lived in densely packed cities with no ventilation or sewer systems. This caused disease to spread very quickly. Tens of thousands of people every year died from disease in London alone. This, coupled with outdated medical treatment, made the spread of disease much easier in slums.
Since doctors still used outdated medical practices such as leeching and bloodletting, many sick patients got worse. This, lack of sanitation, and poor nutrition caused the life expectancy to be extremely low. In rural areas, the life expectancy was about 45, but in London, the life expectancy dropped to a shocking 26 years old. Infant mortality was at an extreme high, with about 33% of children dying before their 5th birthday.
Factory owners wanted to make as much profit as possible, so they replaced skilled workers with machines and used children to cover the labor needed. Children could be payed 1/10 of what men were paid, so they were the cheapest form of labor. Children as young as or younger than 7 could start working in factories doing such jobs as squeezing into tight spaces and doing repetitive tasks. Working in the factories made children tired and sick, which eventually caused Parliament to look at how laborers were being treated in factories.