Community Hygiene

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Community Hygiene


the hygiene of populated places; the branch of hygiene that studies the influence on the human organism of the natural and social factors in the environment of populated places and elaborates the hygienic standards and sanitary measures for creation of the most favorable conditions of life in these places. The subject of the study of community hygiene is not of the populated places in themselves but of the life conditions in them and the influence of these conditions on the health and efficiency of the population.

The first medico-topographic descriptions of populated places and entire regions appeared in the second half of the 18th century.

In the USSR the need for scientific elaboration of problems in the planning of settled areas and residential construction and in the searching out and approving of new sources of water supply appeared with the growth of cities and industry, the rise of new regions and reconstruction of old ones, and the socialist reconstruction of agriculture. The problems of controlling pollution caused by industrial wastes in water sources and other pollutants in the atmosphere and populated territories have become increasingly pressing.

Development of industry, especially the chemical industry, is accompanied by increasing pollution of the external environment by industrial wastes; this situation has necessitated study of the biological effects and hygienic significance of chemical factors in the environment of populated places and of the unfavorable influence of mechanical transport (air pollution and noise). In order to prevent the harmful effects on the human body of chemical, physical, and biological factors, Soviet hygienists have elaborated hygienic standards that are officially recognized by the government of the USSR as governmental regulating principles, as reflected in the Statutes on Government Health Inspection in the USSR (1963) and in the Public Health Laws of the USSR and the Union Republics (1970). The development of the chemical industry, the application of chemical technology to agriculture, and the introduction into everyday use of new chemical substances and synthetic materials have also necessitated research and scientific determination of maximum permissible concentrations of certain chemical substances and of their combined complex of effects.

Principal branches of contemporary community hygiene study are the air hygiene of populated places and its sanitary protection, water and water-supply hygiene, soil hygiene and sanitary decontamination of populated places, the sanitary protection of bodies of water and processing of residential and industrial sewage, the hygiene of residential and public buildings, and the hygiene of the planning of populated places and their overall arrangement for public health. Community hygiene study uses various research methods: physical, chemical, and biological methods for studying the environment; sanitary-toxicological and clinical-statistical methods for studying the influence of the environment on the human body and human health; and sanitary-topographic description and examination, which is as a rule combined with experimental investigation.

Problems of community hygiene in the USSR are elaborated at the A. N. Sysin Institute of Community Hygiene (Moscow) and the A. N. Marzeev Institute of Community Hygiene (Kiev), hygiene institutes of various specializations (the F. F. Erisman Moscow Scientific Research Institute and the Novosibirsk, Saratov, Uzbek, Georgian, and Byelorussian scientific research institutes), institutes of labor hygiene and occupational diseases (Moscow, Sverdlovsk, Ufa, Angarsk), and institutes of epidemiology, microbiology, and hygiene, as well as laboratories and subdepartments (kafedry) of medical institutes. Problems of community hygiene are treated in the journal Gigiena i sanitariia (Hygiene and Sanitation; 1936 to the present).

Abroad, community hygiene is not separated from general hygiene as an independent science. Problems of community hygiene are elaborated by certain subdepartments and laboratories of general-hygiene institutes.


Rukovodstvo po kommunal’nai gigiene, vols. 1-3. [Edited by F. G. Krotkov.] Moscow, 1961-63.
50 let sovetskogo zdravookhraneniia: 1917-1967 (collection of articles). Edited by B. V. Petrovskii. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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