The Edgartown board of health’s decision to add fluoride to the town water supply has sparked outrage from the community.
“It should have been brought before the voters, and not been done behind closed doors,” Water commission superintendent Bill Chapman said in a phone conversation with The Times.
On Oct. 10, board of health members Harold Zadeh and Dr. Garrett Orazem voted in favor of adding fluoride, and Kathie Case abstained. According to Massachusetts general law, 10 percent of the 3,628 registered voters must petition the board’s decision in less than 90 days, otherwise fluoride will be added to the water supply. The town has until mid-January.
“In my opinion,” said Edgartown resident Heidi Boyd, “It doesn’t seem fair that two people on the board of health made this decision for the whole town of Edgartown. I looked back at the minutes from the meeting, and the fluoride talk began in February, and we, the townspeople, are now just finding out about it in November. I work in the town hall, and I didn’t hear a peep. It’s an enormous decision and we should have a say.”
The petition is active, and concerned residents are trying to spread the word. Last Saturday, Nov. 11, David and Megan Burke helped organize a drive-through petition signing.
“It’s tough,” Mr. Burke said. “A good portion of registered voters are snowbirds and leave the area. It’s also been on public record that less than 10 percent of registered voters show up at town meeting. It’s going to be difficult to obtain these signatures.”
Petitioners are expected to be outside Tuesday’s regularly scheduled water commissioners meeting at 3 pm. The board of health and the water department are scheduled to discuss their positions on fluoridation.