The Board of Health is the local authority responsible for disease prevention and control, public health and environmental protection, and promoting a healthy community. It derives its power from the General Laws of Massachusetts.
The Board enforces local and state regulations governing wells and water supplies, septic systems and sewerage, trash and recycling, animal control and husbandry, mosquito control, public bathing beaches, tobacco control, food services, disease prevention, medical care, and social services. It can develop and implement health policies through local regulations that can be more stringent than state regulations.
In case of emergency (unforeseen public health condition requiring prompt action) during business hours, call the office at 978-897-4592
In case of emergency during non-working or non-office hours, please call the Stow Police Department and they will contact a Board Member /Health Agent.
Town Nurse Office Hours
Linda Cullen RN, is available Wednesday Mornings from 8:30 AM-12:30 PM on the 3rd Floor of the Town Building.
Monthly Blood Pressure Clinics are held on the First Wednesday of each month 9:30 AM-12:00 Noon. For Information or to reach the Nurse call the Board of Health office at 978-897-4592.
SPRING IS HERE! Here is some helpful information about wildlife from our Animal Inspector
Wildlife that is normally out at night such as skunks and raccoons are often out during the day and are not rabid. If an animal didn't find enough food to eat during the night it may attempt to forage during the day. Animals will soon be out looking for food for themselves and their young and this may mean you will see them during the daytime. They may also be out during the day if they are disturbed by noise.
However if an animal is staggering, acting sluggish or aggressive please call the police department for further evaluation.
For more information on wildlife, how to deter them from your property and their habits can be found on the Massachusetts Fish and Wildlife website as well as the MSPCA website " Living with Wildlife.
The Board of Health also wants to remind residents to protect their pets from exposure to wildlife and vaccinate them for Rabies.
It is a Massachusetts State Law that all Dogs, Cats and Ferrets be vaccinated for Rabies. The Board of Health urges all Stow residents to have their pets vaccinated. The Town of Stow just held their annual rabies clinic on April 2, 2015. If you missed it please check the Department of Agriculture website for other local clinics.
Wild Animal Babies
Important Message from Stow Board of Health and Stow Animal Control
The arrival of Spring and Summer brings about the birth or hatching of many species of wildlife. The Board of Health and Animal Control Officer have been receiving many calls from residents asking what to do when they find turtles laying eggs in their yard or to report the sighting of a coyote, woodchuck, rabbit or any of their young. If the animal is not sick or injured the best advice is LEAVE IT ALONE! It may be difficult to do but it is a true act of kindness.
June brings about the birth of thousands of white-tailed deer. In their first few weeks the fawn’s ( baby deer) instincts are to lay silently until danger passes, the mother visits the fawn sparingly to nurse, but will be nearby. If you see a fawn lying in the grass do not touch it or pick it up.
Coyote pups are also born in June and the parents are working hard to feed them. You may see an increased presence during the day. Keep your yard and neighboring yards free of bird food, pet dishes or anything that will attract these animals to your property.
Cottontail rabbits are born in a nest low to the ground, usually in high grass. Baby rabbits are born with their eyes closed and unable to leave the nest, but within a few days can eat on their own. This is the time when problems arise as many people think these animals have been abandoned and need help but are doing just fine on their own.
Keep your pets safe by keeping them indoors or restrained when outside. Free roaming pets are at risk from attack of wild animals. Skunks, woodchucks, and raccoons can transmit Rabies. Veterinarians agree that restrained and indoor pets lead healthier longer lives.
All wildlife including birds are protected by law. They may not be taken from the wild or kept as pets. Every year the lives of many creatures are upset by people trying to help them. In the case of an injured animal, a licensed wildlife rehabilitator can be contacted to assist in care. Tufts Wildlife Clinic can provide assistance with injured wildlife. These websites contain valuable information on living with wildlife and have contact information if you need help with an injured animal.
Winter Storm Safety and Preparedness
A winter storm in New England can range from a moderate snowfall over a few hours to a Nor'easter, bringing blizzard conditions with blinding wind-driven snow that lasts several days. People can become stranded in their automobiles or trapped at home, without utilities or other services. The aftermath of a winter storm can have an impact on a community or the entire region for days, weeks or even months. Storm effects, in New England, include large snow accumulation, extremely cold temperatures, heavy, wet snow or icing on trees and powerlines, roof collapses, coastal flooding and beach erosion. Winter storms are also deceptive killers because most deaths are indirectly related to the actual storm. The major causes are automobile or other transportation accidents, exhaustion and heart attacks caused by overexertion,
'freezing to death' and asphyxiation from improper heating sources. House fires occur more frequently in the winter due to lack of proper safety precautions when using alternate heating sources, like unattended fires and space heaters. As with most potential disasters: preparedness, monitoring the Media and common sense can minimize the danger to you and your family.
· Safety and preparedness tips for severe winter weather may be found on MEMA’s website at:
MEMA ISSUES ICE SAFETY PREC AUTIONS
FRAMINGHAM, MA – In spite of the recent cold spell, the ice conditions of many bodies of water across the Commonwealth remain uncertain, as demonstrated by the recent ice rescues of a number of individuals and pets. Therefore, the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) has issued information regarding safety precautions to be taken on our frozen lakes, rivers and ponds.
“Before we experience a tragedy that is unfortunately too common this time of year, it is important that we remind everyone, particularly children, of the dangers of unsafe ice,” said MEMA Director Kurt Schwartz. “People may be a bit impatient and venture out on the ice for skating, hockey, ice fishing and other winter sports before understanding the conditions. We highly recommend the use of recreational skating areas provided by the Commonwealth and your local communities. It is very important to exercise precaution and common sense.”
Always check with your local police, fire or park department to ensure that safe ice conditions exist. However, due to the uncertainty and constant changing of ice conditions and the dangers presented, many departments will not endorse the safety of lakes, ponds, streams or rivers. The strength and thickness of ice should be known before any activity takes place.
· Never go onto the ice alone. A friend may be able to recue you or go for help if you fall through the ice.
· Always keep your pets on a leash. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your pet, call 9-1-1 or go for help.
· New ice is usually stronger than old ice. As ice ages, the bond between the crystals decays, making it weaker, even if melting has not occurred.
· Beware of ice covered with snow. Snow can insulate ice and keep it strong, but can also insulate it to keep it from freezing. Snow can also hide cracks, weak and open ice.
· Slush is a danger sign, indicating that ice is no longer freezing from the bottom and can be weak or deteriorating.
· Ice formed over flowing water (rivers and lakes containing a large number of springs) is generally 15% weaker.
· Ice seldom freezes or thaws at a uniform rate. It can be one foot thick in one spot and be only a few inches thick 10 feet away.
· Reach-Throw-Go. If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (a rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.). If this does not work, go for help or call 9-1-1, before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.
· If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction from which you came. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.
Food Safety During Storms
Paper Recycling Information for Town Residents
Paper Recycling by Abitibi is available in 3 Locations in Town- Containers are located at the Police Station, The Town Building and Pompositticut School Parking Lot.
**Please do not leave material on the ground or outside of the container if full. **
Items that can be recycled are Newspapers, Magazines, Office/ School Paper, Shopping Catalogs and Mail ( no Cardboard)
CFL's or Fluorescent Light Bulbs
Fluorescent Light Bulbs can be dropped of at ACE Hardware in Stow- lightbulbs containing mercury
can now be brought to ACE Hardware instead of the shed at the Police Station. ACE has kindly agreed to
be the drop off location for the Stow Board of Health- please show them your appreciation by replenishing your
bulbs or household needs there.
For other items containing mercury such as old thermometers, smoke detectors,etc. can be brought to the Board of Health office. Please call first as space is limited.
The Board of Health no longer accept alkaline batteries, Since 1994, most alkaline batteries contain only trace amounts of mercury and are not hazardous. These batteries are marked with a green tree logo.
- Nickel Cadmium rechargable batteries (NCads) exist in many sizes and shapes and are marked Rechargeable. NCads contain cadmium , a metal that is toxic to humans when inhaled or ingested. They can be brought to the Board of Health office.
- Button Batteries used in watches and hearing aids, contain mercury, we will accept those for recycling in the Board of Health office.
- Lithium Batteries used in computers and cameras contain lithium a reactive with water, and has caused serious fires. These must be disposed of properly and can be brought to the Board of Health office during normal business hours. Home Depot, Lowes, and Batteries Plus are other options for recycling lamps, batteries etc. Please check the Mass Department of Environmental Protection website for recycling any household hazardous materials.
Hazardous Waste Disposal Information
The Town of Stow will not be holding a Hazardous Waste Collection Day until sometime in 2016.
If you need to dispose of your Hazardous Household Products Contact NEDT.
NEDT Household Hazardous Products Collection Center is open to Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Connecticut homeowners year round on Tuesdays and Thursdays (except for holidays) from 9 am to 4 pm. The Center accepts a wide range of hazard ous products including latex and oil based paint and coatings, auto maintenance products, antifreeze, pesticides, fertilizers, cleaners, flammable products, etc. (A more complete list acceptable products/wastes is available on our website - www.NEDT.org.)
Arrangements can be made to open the center by appointment to meet the special needs of homeowners. Call their toll free number (866-769-1621) to arrange a convenient time. The Collection Center is conveniently located south of Worcester off Route 146 at Exit 5. The address is 83 Gilmore Drive, Sutton, MA 01590.
Sharps Containers and Disposal Service are available at the Board of Health Office
2 Quart- $ 5.00 covers container and disposal fee when returned.
4 Quart- $ 10.00 covers container and disposal fee when returned.
You may also bring your own puncture-proof sharps container into the office for disposal. The container must be puncture proof such as a Tide bottle with Lid a 5.00- 10.00 Fee will be charged depending on size of container.
For more information call or email the Board of Health office 978-897-4592 or firstname.lastname@example.org
New Regulation from Department of Public Health for Sharps Disposal
As of July 1, 2012
IMPORTANT PUBLIC INFORMATION
New Regulation from Department of Public Health
The Board of Health has received an updated regulation from the Department of Public Health (DPH) regarding the disposal of medical or biological waste. The regulatory authority is 105 CMR 480.000: Mass. General Laws c. 111 ss 3, 5, and 127A.
Beginning July 1, 2012: All hypodermic needles and lancets including used, unused as well as those in original packaging must not be disposed of in solid municipal waste, including household waste, and shall be collected and disposed of in accordance with 105 CMR 480.12S(B).”
The sharps shall be placed in red, fluorescent orange or orange-red leakproof, rigid, puncture-resistant, shatterproof containers that resist breaking under normal conditions of use and handling. The containers must be marked prominently with the universal biohazard warning symbol.
The Board of Health will post the complete regulation on its town of Stow website. Log on to the Board of Health website and click on DPH to read the complete regulation.
To assist any resident who will need to obtain a biohazard container, the Board of Health will be purchasing approved containers and will be offering them for a $10.00 fee. This prepay fee will cover the purchase and disposal of the container when it is full. When the container is full, it can be brought to the Board of Health office and we will properly dispose of it. Our local pharmacy also has a program for disposal and information can be obtained from the pharmacist at Osco.
Whether you are using the sharps for personal use or for your pet, the regulation applies to the disposal of all sharps. It is important to recognize that the Board of Health may act to abate any nuisance that is cause by a failure to comply with the provisions of 105 CMR 480.000 thereby endangering or materially impairing the health, safety and well-being of the public and to charge the responsible person or persons with any and all expenses incurred.
The Board is in the process of obtaining the approved containers and will have them available at the end of June. If you have any further questions please contact the office at 978-897-4592 Monday through Friday.
For Safe Disposal of Prescription or Over-the-Counter Medication
MIDDLESEX DRUG TAKE-BACK PROGRAM
You can safely dispose of expired or unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medications. You are now able to drop off these items at the Stow Police Department where they will be disposed of according to safety and environmental standards. Visit the Stow Police Department Website to see a list of accepted items.
Click on the link below to view latest updates on EEE and WNV CASES
[Link] Measures Against Mosquito
Wear mosquito repellent when outdoors during peak mosquito hours (from dusk to dawn)
Weather permitting, wear long sleeves and long pants when outdoors during peak mosquito hours (from dusk to dawn)
Use mosquito netting on baby carriages and playpens outdoors
Repair window and door screens in your home
Dump standing water twice weekly
Arrange neighborhood cleanups to get rid of mosquito breeding sites
Information for Central Massachusetts Mosquito Control Project Click Here
People have an important role to play in protecting themselves and their loved ones from illnesses caused by mosquitoes.
Avoid Mosquito Bites
Apply Insect Repellent when Outdoors.~Use a repellent with DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), permethrin, picaridin (KBR 3023), oil of lemon eucalyptus [p-methane 3, 8-diol (PMD)] or IR3535 according to the instructions on the product label. DEET products should not be used on infants under two months of age and should be used in concentrations of 30% or less on older children. Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
Be Aware of Peak Mosquito Hours.~The hours from dusk to dawn are peak biting times for many mosquitoes. Consider rescheduling outdoor activities that occur during evening or early morning.
Clothing Can Help Reduce Mosquito Bites.~Wearing long-sleeves, long pants and socks when outdoors will help keep mosquitoes away from your skin.
Mosquito-Proof Your Home
Drain Standing Water.~Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water. Limit the number of places around your home for mosquitoes to breed by either draining or discarding items that hold water. Check rain gutters and drains. Empty any unused flowerpots and wading pools, and change water in birdbaths frequently.
Install or Repair Screens.~Keep mosquitoes outside by having tightly-fitting screens on all of your windows and doors.
Protect Your Animals
Animal owners should reduce potential mosquito breeding sites on their property by eliminating standing water from containers such as buckets, tires, and wading pools – especially after heavy rains. Water troughs provide excellent mosquito breeding habitats and should be flushed out at least once a week during the summer months to reduce mosquitoes near paddock areas. Horse owners should keep horses in indoor stalls at night to reduce their risk of exposure to mosquitoes. Owners should also speak with their veterinarian about mosquito repellents
approved for use in animals and vaccinations to prevent WNV and EEE. If an animal is diagnosed with WNV or EEE, owners are required to report to DAR, Division of Animal Health by calling 617-626-1795 and to the Department of Public Health (DPH) by calling 617-983-6800.
More information, including all WNV and EEE positive results from 2014, can be found on the Arbovirus Surveillance Information web page at www.mass.gov/dph/mosquito
or by calling the DPH Epidemiology Program at 617-983-6800.
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Learn the Facts: Radon is a naturally occuring radioactive gas released in rock, soil and water from the natural decay of uranium.
While levels in ourdoor air pose a relatively low threat to human health, radon can accumulate to dangerous levels inside your home. Exposure to radon is the seond leading cause of lung cancer in the United States and the number one cause among non-smokers.
What should you do?
Test your Home. High levels of radon in homes usually come from the surrounding soil. Radon gas enters through cracks and openings on the lower levels of your home. Hot spots include basements, first-floor rooms and garages, but radon can be found anywhere in your house. The U.S. Surgeon General recommends that all homes in the U.S. be tested for radon. Testing for radon is easy to do. You can purchase a test kit from your local home improvement or hardware store. Contact the Massachusetts Radon Hotline for more information about obtaining test kits. 800-723-6695.
Radon Problems Can Be Fixed
The cost of making repairs to reduce the radon level depends on several factors, including how your home was built. If you find an elevated radon level in your home, EPA's action level is at or above 4 pCi/L contact your state radon office to locate radon mitigators in your area. Well water should also be tested for radon levels at a state certified laboratory. The following links provide more radon information.
or visit the Mass Department of Public Health website or Mass DEP regulations for more information
You can also visit the Board of Health Office for more information on Radon Testing in Air and Water.
In an effort to provide better sevice to Stow residents of animal owners we ask that you complete this census. It will facilitate the Animal Inspector and Animal Control Officerin the return of straying, injured or lost animals to their rightful owner.
complete & return to the Board of Health