Health Dept. Will Investigate Health Concerns Related To Cell Tower
This has now been going on for some time for folks who live around the Verizon cell tower. In February, the City Council voted to have the Health Department investigate health concerns related to the tower. This petition was brought forward by Ward 4 Councilor Chris Connell and Ward 5 Councilor Patrick Kavey, whose wards are in proximity to the tower. Local health officials are now stepping up and supporting the investigation of concerns related to a 115-foot Verizon cell tower at 877 South St. in a two-part plan.
IBerkshires.com reports, "The response was from Director Armstrong was 'we do not have the expertise.' I understand that. Why was that not given to myself or the residents back last August when I originally submitted the email back to director Armstrong, or not at the following meeting in which we presented the petition?" Conell said that he submitted this petition over two months ago requesting the Health Department to investigate the symptoms that were being reported by the residents that surrounded this cell tower.
Armstrong said they did not hear anything back until last month, which was a full four meetings or two months after the fact of that petition. Connell went on to say that he was, upset that he had not heard back from Armstrong when the concerns arose. Iberkshires.com reports, On Monday, the Board of Health unanimously voted to support a bill filed by state Sen. Julian Cyr of Truro — Senate Docket 2418 — that calls for a special commission to research the impact of electromagnetic (EMR) and radio frequency (RFR) radiation's health effects and voted to communicate with the Berkshire delegation, the Massachusetts Department of Health, and the governor's office on the importance of moving it forward.
The board also voted unanimously to have a panel presentation "as soon as possible" with the Mass DPH's Environmental Toxicology Program for the purpose of public education on the issue of electromagnetic radiation. This is the first time the board has taken up the issue and some who had planned to speak were upset that the board only allowed Pittsfield residents to speak during the open portion of the meeting. A previous meeting included testimonies from individuals in other states and communities that the board didn't see fit for this discussion.
The council had been hearing of these symptoms mostly from Alma Street resident Courtney Gilardi every two weeks during public comment since the tower was turned on in August. Gilardi said she and her family will move if the tower is not turned off. Gilardi also has had her 12-year-old daughter Amelia call into the meetings to speak about the symptoms she is experiencing such as nausea and sleep disturbances.
Kulberg said that hiring an expert to investigate these claims would be out of taxpayer money and that would be something that the City Council ultimately decides on. He mentioned that the Environmental Toxicology Program at the Mass DPH offered its assistance in listening to residents' concerns and responding with a local forum, which the board voted to hold.
Armstrong said that over the past two months there has been a "reviewing of a vast amount of material that has been sent from numerous people expressing concern about EMF" and also considering the different options of where to go with these reports. Board member Kimberly Loring hopes that residents will utilize the public forum and contact the state health department directly with concerns for more effective problem-solving.