NORTH ATTLEBORO — The board of health delivered an order to halt fluoridation of the town’s water supply to the department of public works on Monday.
Health board Chairwoman Diane Battistello drafted and hand-delivered the cease and desist order, which demands that fluoridation be stopped immediately.
The order was written following the board’s 2 to 1 vote earlier this month to halt fluoridation, with member Donald Bates voting against the measure.
The board did not discuss the issue on Monday, except to confirm that the order has been issued.
“I took the liberty of writing the order, and I brought it over to the department of public works this morning,” Battistello said Monday. “They have received it, and I don’t know what’s going to happen now.”
This is the second time in four months that the board has attempted to end fluoridation.
The health board took similar action in March, but the board of public works did not follow the order based upon an opinion from Town Counsel Robert Bliss, who said the health board has no authority to override town voters.
Town voters approved fluoridation in the November 2000 election by a margin of 59 to 41 percent. State law does not contain any provisions to remove fluoride once voters have approved the measure.
Department of Public Works Director Michael Stankovich was not available for comment on Monday.
However, board of public works member Steve Cabral said earlier this month that the department’s position has not changed, and it will follow the advice given by town counsel.
The only difference between the first order and the latest version is the inclusion of health-related information consisting of a July 22 Wall Street Journal article regarding fluoridation and bone cancer in young boys and a 58-page bibliography of peer-reviewed fluoride studies in mainstream scientific journals.
With controversy over fluoride erupting in town once again, selectman have advocated placing the issue back on the ballot for voters to decide. However, the town will have to cross some hurdles in order to place a biinding referendum question on the ballot.
To send a home rule petition to the Legislature requesting a second binding referendum, an article would first have to be approved by Representative Town Meeting.
The issue could be up for discussion at October’s town meeting and placed on a town election ballot in April 2006.