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OFFICE OF STATE BOARD OF HEALTH,
13 BEACON STREET, BOSTON, Dec. 31, 1886.
To His Excellency GEO. D. ROBINSON, Governor.
SIRI have the honor to present herewith the report of the State Board of Health of Massachusetts for the four months ending Sept. 30, 1886, in compliance with the provisions of chapter 101 of the Acts of 1886.
SAM'L W. ABBOTT,
After an interval of nearly seven years, during which period the public sanitary interests of the Commonwealth were supervised by a board to which were also entrusted various duties of a different character, the State Board of Health of Massachusetts has been re-established, with considerably enlarged powers and duties, by the enactment of the following law :—
AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A STATE BOARD OF HEALTH. Be it enacted, etc., as follows:
SECTION 1. The governor with the advice and consent of the council shall appoint seven persons who shall constitute the state board of health. The persons so appointed shall hold their offices for seven years; provided that the terms of office of the seven first appointed shall be so arranged that the term of one shall expire each year. All vacancies on said board, whether occurring by expiration of term, or otherwise, shall be filled by the governor, with the advice and consent of the council.
SECT. 2. The board shall be provided with rooms at the expense of the state and shall hold meetings each month on a day fixed by itself, and at such other times as may be needful. It shall make its own by-laws, and shall make a report of its doings to the governor and council on or before the thirty-first day of December in each year, such report being made up to the thirtieth day of September inclusive.
The remaining sections of the act relate to the election. and duties of the secretary, the expenses of the Board, and the numerous amendments of the statutes which were essential to the establishment of the Board, and its separation from the State Board of Health, Lunacy and Charity.
Acting in conformity with the provisions of this act, a preliminary meeting of the Board was held at the State
House at 11.30 A.M. on Wednesday, May 26, 1886, for the purpose of organization. The following gentlemen, duly appointed and qualified as members, compose the Board:
HENRY P. WALCOTT,
ELIJAH U. JONES,
FRANK W. DRAPER,
JULIUS H. APPLETON,
THORNTON K. LOTHROP,
The following by-laws were unanimously adopted, section 3 being introduced at a later meeting:
1. The Board shall, on the first Tuesday in June in each year, elect by ballot a chairman and a secretary, who shall each hold office for one year and until his successor shall have been chosen. In the absence or disability of the chairman or secretary a chairman or secretary pro tempore may be chosen, as the Board may determine.
2. Regular meetings of the Board shall be held on the first Tuesday of each month, at such hour as the Board may designate, and unless otherwise ordered shall be holden at the office of the Board. Special meetings may be called at any time by the chairman, and shall be called by him upon the request in writing of two members of the Board.
3. At the annual meeting of the Board, or as soon thereafter as may be, the following standing committees shall be chosen by
A Committee on Finance.
A Committee on Publications.
A Committee on Water Supplies and Drainage (acting under chapter 274, Acts of 1886).
A Committee on Public Institutions.
A Committee on Food and Drugs.
A Committee on Legislation and Legal Proceedings.
A Committee on the Health of Towns, and Correspondence with Local Boards of Health.
A Committee on Contagious Diseases.
4. Four members shall make a quorum for the transaction of business.
These by-laws were unanimously adopted.
The powers and duties of the State Board of Health are defined in general in the organic act creating the State Board of 1869, and are stated in section 1 and section 2 of chapter 80 of the Public Statutes.
These statutes are as follows, as amended by chapter 101 of the Acts of 1886:
CHAP. 80, SECT. 1. The state board of health shall take cognizance of the interests of health and life among the citizens of the Commonwealth. It shall make sanitary investigations and inquiries in respect to the causes of disease, and especially of epidemics and the sources of mortality and the effects of localities, employments, conditions, and circumstances, on the public health; and shall gather such information in respect to those matters as it may deem proper for diffusion among the people. It shall advise the government in regard to the location and other sanitary conditions of any public institutions.
SECT. 2. If small-pox or any other contagious or infectious dis ease dangerous to the public health exists, or is likely to exist, in any place within the state, the state board shall investigate the same, and the means of preventing the spread thereof, and shall consult thereon with the local authorities, and shall have co-ordinate powers as a board of health, in every place, with the board of health or health officer thereof, or with the mayor and aldermen or the selectmen, if no such board or officer exists in such place.
In addition to the general duties defined above, certain other duties have from time to time been entrusted to the Board, such as the power to prohibit noxious or offensive trades or occupations (Pub. Stat., chap. 80, § 93), the regulation and location of swine-slaughtering associations, and the publication of the returns of water companies and boards.
To these have also been added in later years, two important acts giving to the Board supervision of food and drug inspection (Acts of 1882, chap. 263, and 1884, chap. 289), and also of water supplies and drainage (chap. 274, Acts of 1886), and also certain authority relative to ice supplies, and the establishment of crematories.
Soon after the establishment of the present Board the following circular was issued and sent to local boards of health, physicians and other persons interested in sanitary matters throughout the State, calling attention to the general work of the Board: