Good plumbing is an overlooked, but vital, part of modern life. One of the first civilizations to really get a handle on it was the Romans. So why did the prevalence of parasites during Roman times increase compared to the Iron Age?
I can’t say this is all that surprising, especially with the baths. The actual bathing part wasn’t what they did to clean themselves. They ‘cleaned’ themselves by pouring olive oil on their skin and then using a special tool called a strigil to scrape off the oil and any dead skin and dirt that came with it. And it wasn’t like everyone had their own strigil. They were communal, and any business-savvy bath proprietor certainly wouldn’t let all of that olive oil be used just once. Not when it can be drained and strained.
“No swimming” signs have already popped up this summer along coastlines where fecal bacteria have invaded otherwise inviting waters. Some vacationers ignore the signs while others resign themselves to tanning and playing on the beach. But should those avoiding the water be wary of the sand, too? New research in the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology investigates reasons why the answer could be “yes.”