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Views & Reviews The Bigger Picture

Our relationship with poo

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 28 March 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e2354
  1. Mary E Black, global health doctor, London
  1. drmaryblack{at}

I have moved back to live in east London and am gutting my Victorian terraced house in newly fashionable Bow, just a short bike ride from the stadium soon to be used for the Olympic and Paralympic games. I am getting acquainted with my Victorian lead water pipes, well preserved sewers, and the occasional coin left by the builders in 1858. That was the year of the “great stink,” when the smell of raw sewage was so overpowering in central London that curtains soaked in chloride of lime were draped across …

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