-- This post submitted by Kathy Maka, Examination Development Specialist, National Inspection Testing & Certification Corporation (NITC)

The company I work for, National Inspection Testing and Certification, Inc., credentials Plumbers.  Some may not think that of that as important but here is some food for thought.

During 1933 excited throngs of visitors arrived in Chicago to attend the World’s Fair.  Also known as The Columbian Exposition, the event’s motto was "Science Finds, Industry Applies, Man Conforms." That motto turned out to be more than prophetic when 1,704 cases of illness and 98 deaths occurred before science found the cause and applied the fix. 

No, it was not something they ate. Rather, the cause for needless death and sickness was bad drinking water.  Chicago’s pure drinking water had become contaminated due to faulty plumbing installation done by unqualified and/or unlicensed workers. This outbreak of amoebic dysentery could have been entirely avoided with the advice and specific knowledge of trained plumbers.

This poster (originally a 1926 promotional piece by American Standard Manufacturing Company, and later adopted by the United Association of Plumbers and Pipefitters) came to be widely promoted shortly after the epidemic in an effort to promote safe and sanitary plumbing practices.










The following quote by Dr. Lewis Thomas, former president of New York’s Sloan Kettering Cancer Research Center, appeared in The Foreign Policy Journal, Spring 1984. “There is no question that our health has improved spectacularly in the past century. One thing seems certain: It did not happen because of improvements in medicine, or medical science, or even the presence of doctors; much of the credit should go to the plumbers and sanitary engineers of the western world.”

NITC also credentials Medical Gas industry workers including Installers, Inspectors, Verifiers and Instructors as well as some in related professions - architects, for example.  Three of NITC’s medical gas certifications are accredited under the strict requirements of ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 Program for Personnel Certification Bodies.  Adherence to this rigorous internationally-recognized accreditation process represents the best practices in accreditation.  ANSI is the only personnel certification accreditation body in the United States to meet nationally accepted practices for accreditation bodies.

 And so it is most appropriate that NITC’s Medical Gas meets such rigorous requirements since it is a certification area which truly involves life and death.  Each of us knows that, at an instant’s notice, ourselves or one of our loved ones could be faced with an accident or health crisis requiring hospitalization or surgery.  How important do you think it would be to KNOW for certain that the patient receives the correct medical gas, be it oxygen or nitrous oxide?  Incorrectly piped medical gas has resulted in injury and even on occasion, death.  We have all heard the occasional news report of a perfectly healthy individual not surviving a minor dental procedure due to the improper application of anesthesia. One of our credentialed Medical Gas experts, Ed Lyczko, recently retired as the head of that department in the hospitals at Cleveland Clinic.  Ed was a young fellow, just new on the job when, in the early 1970s, over the course of two days three deaths occurred there before the cause was traced to an error in the pressure settings of the medical gas piping system.

What could be more suitable to appear in a blog titled "The Value of Testing to Society" than NITC’s Plumbing and Medical Gas certifications?