The importance of the plumbing profession is greatly misunderstood. In history, the Romans were credited with developing the first plumbing systems; however, it would be several more hundred years before scientists discovered the threat of the bacteria and disease that existed in the unfiltered water of the Roman public baths.
American plumbers adopted the slogan, "The Plumber Protects the Health of the Nation" in the early 20th Century, as a reminder to the public of the importance of sanitation that the plumbing profession provides. The importance outweighs the greatest medical milestones and breakthroughs in history, like antibiotics and anesthesia when comparing the two professions, making the plumbers the first line of defense when it comes to protecting the public's health before medicine.
Today, in the United States, thre are safe practices governed by plumbing codes and standards implemented by highly skilled and licensed professionals, but in third-world countries like India, the threat of waterborne diseases and contamination continues. The effect of those unsanitary conditions is more readily apparent there. The president of the Indian Plumbing Association stated in an article, "Plumbing is a profession with direct relevance to the health and safety of the citizens. As high as 7.5% of deaths in India are attributed to water and sanitation related causes."