In Pittsfield, Massachusetts, where author Herman Melville penned Moby Dick while peacefully contemplating the pristine rolling Berkshire Hills, residents have been fighting an imposing cell tower affecting residents health for over 2 years. They argue the cell tower was not permitted properly and has caused severe symptoms in 20 nearby residents in the town. After careful deliberation the Pittsfield Board of Health agreed with the later and unanimously voted on February 2, 2022 to send to Verizon a cease and desist order to resolve the issue of RF emissions from the large 116-foot monopole antenna complex which abuts a residential neighborhood. This story, however, has taken many turns and twists.
The Pittsfield Board of Health reaffirmed their intention to move forward with the order on Feb 23, 2022 emphasizing “it is their duty to do everything they can to protect the health of residents.” On April 6, 2022 the Board of Health formally ordered the cease and desist order to be sent April 8, however, it was conditioned on city funds to be released. On April 11, 2022 a formal Emergency Cease and Desist Order was sent to Verizon and Farley White South Street LLC, the owners of the property where the cell tower is located. Verizon and Farley White SS LLC will have 7 days from the Order to request a hearing and Show Cause.
Pittsfield, Massachusetts Board of Health Cease and Desist Order April 11, 2022 states that “The Verizon Wireless 877 South Street wireless facility operated by Verizon Wireless is a public nuisance, a cause of sickness, and a trade which may result in a nuisance or be dangerous to the public health for purposes of G.L. ch. 111 ss 122-125, 127B, 127C, 143-150 and 152.” and further, “The Verizon Wireless 877 South Street wireless facility operated on the premises creates an access barrier that directly causes harm to certain individuals, and renders dwellings Unfit for Human Habitation or constitutes a Condition Which May Endanger or Materially Impair the Health or Safety and Well-Being of an Occupant as defined in State Sanitary Code 410.020 and 410.750(P).”
It is the first time in the United States that a Board of Health has made the courageous determination that cell towers could cause adverse health effects and should be turned off and relocated. It is not the first time, however, residents have experienced health effects from cell towers, hundreds have reported symptoms near cell towers including in California- Sacramento, Sonoma, Long Beach, Silicon Valley, Canada, Cape Cod and Italy. A school board in Ripon, California did terminate its cell tower agreement on school grounds due to concerns of a cancer cluster.
On May 10, 2022 Verizon Wireless filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, in an attempt to block an emergency order from the Pittsfield Board of Health. This was the same day a vote was to occur by the Pittsfield City Council to obtain funding for legal expensesand which never materialized. Verizon’s lawsuit argues that the Board of Health’s order violates the Telecommunications Act of 1996, specifically in Section 332, which states that “no state or local government or instrumentality thereof may regulate that placement, construction, and modification of personal wireless service facilities on the basis of the purported environmental effects of radio frequency emissions” as long as the facility is operating within the Federal Communications Commission’s regulations on those emissions. Through prior court determinations environmental effects include human health effects.
May 25, 2022 Children’s Health Defense filed intervention papers in support of the residents of Pittsfield. CHD attorney Mary Holland stated, “We will explain to the Court that the Board’s order is lawful and is not preempted by federal law, but first we will move to dismiss the matter at the outset because the cell company’s legal contentions are premature and invalid.”
On June 1, 2022 the Pittsfield Board of Health voted to pull its Cease-and-Desist Order for the Verizon Cell Tower with Verizon removing its lawsuit against them the following day. Board Chair Bobbie Orsi stated, “When we issued the cease-and-desist order, we did that as a strategy to have a conversation with Verizon. I felt in my heart that we really wanted them to come talk to us about this. It is notable that the residents and the City have tried diligently to resolve this issue with two commercial land owners coming forward with alternative sites for the tower which were rejected. As reported in the Berkshire Eagle article June 6, 2022, “Board members said they’d continue to work with the City Council and state representatives on “collaborative discussion” around changing state law around the process and standards for placing and citing cell towers. On June 16, 2022 the Pittsfield City Council did however adopt a resolution recognizing June 16 as World Electrosensitivity Day.
*A new short 2022 Italian film, ELETTRA, stars an actress who is electrosensitive and also portrays a woman who develops electrosensitivty(EHS). Elettra is a powerful and beautifully produced film that demonstrates what it is like to have EHS and the frustration of not being believed. It has had nominations by 5 green cinema festivals in Italy and abroad. It can now be seen on vimeo– Elettra.
In a July 2022 article in the Hill Country Oberver, The cost of connectivity? Cell tower dispute puts Pittsfield at center of a national debate, Tracy Frisch interviews those affected and documents the frustration and confusion about why the cell tower has not yet been turned off.
Updated July 2, 2022
Symptoms from Cell Tower Radiation
After the Pittsfield cell tower was turned on in 2020 the nearby residents, including children, reported classic symptoms of electromagnetic injury. Courtney Gilardi and her 2 children as well as residents living near the cell tower, began experiencing a constellation of symptoms including stabbing headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, “buzzing in the head”, and insomnia so severe her family had to move to the next town and into a house with no heat and no hot water to escape the sickness. Other neighbors drove an hour away to sleep at a relative’s house or slept in their cars away from the tower.
Preschool Teacher Leads The Fight for Her Family
Preschool teacher Courtney Gilardi has bravely led the effort to remove the cell tower to protect her property, her family’s health and her community’s health, despite industry efforts to discredit and downplay symptoms and health harms. Courtney states she and her neighbors were called “collateral damage” by some workers building the tower. She gathered studies, signatures and experts to educate the community and city leaders, hoping they would acknowledge and address the issue. In carefully doing so the Pittsfield Board of Health has opened the door for other public health agencies to examine this issue, as cell tower installations mushroom around the nation and residents who experience harm continue to fight Big Telecom companies, that offer no meaningful surveys, monitoring, protection or mitigation for the wireless radiation emitted from their antennas.
Amelia Gilardi, Courtney’s 13-year-old daughter, who wrote “Children: Amelia’s “Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Cell Tower Days”, asked the Board of Health to make February 2, 2022 (or day #547 since the Pittsfield cell tower was turned on) to be the Day of Change. This was the day the cease and desist order was given. She and the neighbors of Pittsfield thanked the Pittsfield Board of Health for “hearing us and helping us”.
Levels of Radiation are Safe?
Levels of radiation measured in Pittsfield were 1.66% of the FCC limits and are considered “safe” by the FCC and the FDA. These agencies measure only average levels, not peak levels that have been found to cause the biologic injury. These agencies also do not consider non-thermal biological effects of non-ionizing radiation. Heat is the only endpoint of harm according to the Federal Communications Commission and the FDA. Oxidation– not heat -is the mechanism of wireless radiation injury to cellular structures, which is the same mechanism as that for many chemicals that do not cause thermal injury but biological damage to living systems.
A joint lawsuit against the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) was filed on July 30, 2020 by the Environmental Health Trust and the Children’s Health Defense for failure to protect human health and the environment by dismissing scientific evidence of harm from wireless radiation. The lawsuit was won by the Petitioners, as per the DC Court of Appeals Decision, on August 13, 2021 with the decision by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals stating, “The Commission failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its determination that its guidelines adequately protect against the harmful effects of exposure to radiofrequency radiation unrelated to cancer.”
The Pittsfield Story
In March of 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic, Courtney Gilardi and her neighbors saw large trucks on her previously quiet street that were clearing trees and building a road to the nearby Herman Melville Farm called “Arrowhead”. Her 2 daughters rode their bikes up the road on the dead-end street where they lived and saw a clearing on “The Farm”.
After city officials could not answer her questions about the site, Courtney called the construction company and learned it was slated for placement of a cell tower. The address stated the tower was on a 45 acre property abutting the residential neighborhood and was listed as uninhabited. It was not officially in the heart of the city of Pittsfield, but listed at 877 South Street and seemingly far from where the neighborhood was, yet the tower was adjacent to Alma Street where Courtney lived.
She learned the cell tower was approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals in 2017. She also learned the property was owned by Farley White South Street LLC, a real estate company who bought the 45 acres in 2011 for $1,050,000. In a Berkshire Eagle article Paul Dalton, whose family lives closest to the tower, stated, “None of the local officials that we talked to had any idea what was going on either. That started to set off alarm bells.”
Courtney took photos as the cell tower was being built. Construction workers building the tower later knocked on her door, Courtney said, and took photos of her, calling Courtney and her neighbors “collateral damage” and just “the cost of doing business”.
Pittsfield Neighbors Sue Verizon
On April 17, 2020, 12 neighbors, excluding Courtney and her family, sued the city, the property owner and Verizon Wireless to stop construction of the tower due to improper notification. The resident’s attorney, Jeffrey Scrimo, estimated 60% of the residents abutting the tower were not notified of the project. The attorney for the city said that it “fulfilled its requirement” to mail the notice.
The neighbors on the other hand made comments to the local paper. Neighbors said, “They claim that letters were sent, but nobody we’ve talked to remembers getting any,” ; “How are we going to be able to sell our home, if we wanted to, with an eyesore like that right next door?” ; “I chose this property because it’s off the beaten path and secluded. It came as a real surprise.”
Neighbors Plead for Help from the City Council
In May 2020 the neighborhood sent information packets, with letters to the editor, articles on property values near cell towers and health effects via certified mail to the Pittsfield City Council asking for help and also to set up meetings with the town Councilors. The neighborhood group filed an injunction to stop construction of the cell tower which eventually made it to the Berkshire Superior Court in August 2020. The cell tower, however, was completed and began operating August 2020.
Cell Tower Turned ON and Illness Began
Courtney stated that requests to notify the neighbors when the cell tower was to be turned on were never answered, but one day in August Courtney’s daughter woke up dizzy, with a headache, a “buzzing” in her head and just not feeling well. Courtney called Berkshire Wireless to see if the cell tower was turned on but could not get any information. A week later Courtney called Verizon and learned that the same day her daughter first developed symptoms was the day the cell tower was ‘fired up”.
Courtney later testified, “Both my children were sick. We watched our healthy, happy, active kids now sleep with a vomiting bucket besides their beds. My little one developed skin rashes when she was in her room, which was on the side of the house closest to the tower. We had to move her bed out of her room and place it furthest from the tower. My child, who was an excellent eater and sleeper, no longer could do either. She was so nauseous she did not have an appetite and started to lose weight. She had a hard time falling asleep and tossed, turned, cried out at night and woke often. I held her hair back while she vomited. She missed school and hated not being well enough to attend. Her sickness and time away from school took away her confidence. Both my children are very conscientious and it was hard for them to miss school because of sickness.”
The Gilardi’s Move Out of Their House but Keep Fighting
After 7 months of illness and deteriorating health, Courtney, her husband and her 2 daughters finally moved out of their house at the end of February 2021. She said she was tired of being sick in her own home and watching her “children vomit in their beds.” They moved to the next city over into a 100-year-old cottage with several broken windows, no heat or hot water and a rat infestation. Despite the discomforts, her children began to recover and were able to sleep well. Initially they just slept there and went back home during the day to shower and for the kids to do their homework, but as the symptoms worsened they had to permanently move out of their own home. Communications continued with the Pittsfield Board of Health examining the issue and receiving oral and written testimony from residents and scientific experts.
City Council Asks the Board of Health to Investigate
After repeated presentations by Courtney Gilardi and others at city council meetings the Pittsfield City Council asked the local health department to investigate the issue in February 2021. The City also asked the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to intervene and either provide a toxicology expert, perform a health survey or meet to discuss the issue. The DPH declined all three. The Pittsfield Board of Health began investigations in April, 2021, in a meeting where local residents spoke about their health effects.
At an open May 5, 2021 meeting the Pittsfield Board of Heath met with residents as well as experts over Zoom. Another 40-year resident of Pittsfield, not near the Alma street tower, recounted his development of microwave illness when a cell tower base station was placed on nearby Berkshire Community College in 2017, prompting him to eventually move. Unlike Courtney, he was not able to have his symptoms taken seriously. Experts testifying that day included Dr. Paul Heroux, a physicist and toxicologist from McGill university and Sheena Symington, Executive Director of the Electrosensitivity Society. At the end of the meeting the Board voted to hire a company to take measurements of the radiofrequency radiation emissions from the tower.
Board of Health Begins Investigation
June 3, 2021 the Pittsfield Board of Heath held another informational meeting. Experts testified as to the health effects experienced by Courtney and her neighbors. Many letters were written to the Board of Health. Spectrum News reported some of the neighbor’s symptoms. Mark Markham commented, “Getting up in the morning, being nauseous, headached, when I get home, after an hour of being home getting that headache. I never had headaches before, now I’ve got headaches all the time.”
Dr. Sharon Goldberg, an associate professor at the University of New Mexico who testified before the Pittsfield Board of health pointed out, “There’s a lot of clarity on symptoms and effects of microwave exposure in humans, and their symptoms are completely consistent.” The public health director indicated they would take measurements of the radiofrequency radiation and inform the legislature and the governor.
A retired University of New Hampshire electrical engineering professor Kent Chamberlin, a member of the 2020 New Hampshire 5G Commission to Study the Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology, succinctly presented the 5G Commission findings to a local Pittsfield Cell Tower group in July 2021 via Zoom. On Aug 24, 2021 professor Chamberlin also gave a presentation to the Lenox Board of Health on a different but nearby cell tower proposal. He discussed findings from the New Hampshire 5G Commission Report, noting, “You don’t want to hear this, but the finding of the commission was that cellphone radiation is indeed harmful…The good news here is that there are things we can do to protect ourselves against that radiation, but we have to acknowledge that it’s a problem first.”
Written Testimony Highlighted Science and Common Symptoms
Pittsfield isn’t the only community affected. Letters to the Board of health were compelling and provided evidence that these symptoms have been seen worldwide when cell towers are placed near homes. Dr. Cindy Russell’s letter to the City Council noted that physicians in Germany asked for an investigation of cell towers in 2005. Dr. Waldmann-Selsam stated in his letter to the German State Chancellor in 2005, “Many humans get sick from emissions far below the recommended limit values, which consider only thermal effects, and we have a sickness picture with characteristic symptom combinations, which are new to us physicians,” The letter notes that cell tower health studies show impacts from cell towers with symptoms within about 1500 feet of the cell towers. Pearce et al (2019) recommended a “500 Meter buffer around schools, hospitals and homes “Limiting liability with positioning to minimize negative health effects of cellular phone towers.” Dr. Cindy Russell’s Letter to the Board of Health on 7/6/21 noted, “FCC limits are based only on the heating of tissue, not biologic harm that is silent-similar to chemicals.”
A Maine Health Survey of Smart Meters was performed by Richard Conrad, PhD, a John Hopkins biochemist in 2012. He testified that, after the wireless radiofrequency smart meters were installed, residents developed a constellation of “severe” symptoms of electrosensitivity including fatigue, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, headaches, agitation, ringing in the ears, pressure in the head, tingling burning skin, heart racing, arrhythmia and memory problems.
Ed Friedman,PhD, spokesperson for the Maine Coalition to Stop Smart Meters and coauthor with Richard Conrad, Ph.D of the Smart Meter Health Effects Survey & Report Testimony, submitted this substantial report as expert evidence to the Maine PUC with Conrad’s testimony. Friedman said his experience with the survey and hundreds of conversations with injured people over the years “made clear the non-cancer effects of RFR exposure are generally so much worse than cancer in that they are more common, occur much more quickly and can tear lives apart horribly whether in relationships, work or play.” Friedman, engaged in environmental work for about 50 years and Chair of Friends of Merrymeeting Bay for more than half of that, considers wireless proliferation to be “the most significant toxics issue of our time. Not because any one dose will necessarily poison you (although it may for some with sensitivities), but because ambient levels of this biologically active radiofrequency radiation are increasing with no end in sight and no escape.”
Fireman are fighting cell towers as well, and the International Association of Fire Fighters wrote a 2004 IAFF Resolution to prevent first responder cell towers on their fire stations when firefighters in the station developed neurological symptoms compatible with electrosensitivity. They successfully lobbied to have language placed in California’s AB 57 (Quirk 2015) and AB 537 (Quirk 2021) to exempt fire stations from installing cell towers due to health concerns.The military has documented similar symptoms for many decades in radar workers.
Dr. Golomb Links “Havana Mystery Illness” to Pulsed Radiofrequency Radiation
The critical work of UCSD professor Dr. Beatrice Golomb was underscored as she has been researching electrosensitivity for decades. She wrote the most comprehensive report on the cause of the “Havana Syndrome” that has been a mystery illness to some, but not to Dr. Golomb. She contributed her peer reviewed article, Diplomats’ Mystery Illness and Pulsed Radiofrequency/Microwave Radiation.(2018), as well as briefs to the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, noting consistencies with electromagnetic injury. She explained that the cause of these symptoms of headaches, dizziness, memory loss and ringing of the ears in diplomats abroad could be pulsed radiofrequency radiation, noting that the peak pulses are what cause the harm and the average levels typically measured for RFR do not reflect this and are usually within the FCC guidelines, despite reported symptoms at lower levels. The National Academy of Science agreed with her in their report.
Environmental Effects of Wireless Technology in the News
One Pittsfield neighbor, Charlie Hertzberg, testified that he has had a garden for many years and since the tower went in there have been no bees in his yard. He stated that he has to pollinate his own plants. That was not an outlandish observation. The evidence for harm to animal, birds, reptiles, marine life, insects and plants from wireless radiation has been steadily growing over the decades, along with predictions of a future of Wireless Silent Springs.
Last year a three-part article by noted experts, Blake Levitt, Henry Lai and Albert Manville, took all the wireless environmental research and compiled it into the most comprehensive report to date on the broad effects of low-level radiofrequency radiation on flora and fauna, in addition to discussing the flaws in current RF emissions standards and the need to define “air as habitat that would serve to protect many, though not all, vulnerable species today.” The 3 parts of the article are Part 1: Rising Levels of RFR; Part 2: Impacts on Species; Part 3: Standards, Public Policy, Law and Recommendations
The authors include a discussion of the catastrophic consequences of 5G space satellites and cell towers in space if this is not conscientiously studied and regulated with planetary safety in mind rather than the commercialization of space for fast 5G broadband speeds, space tourism , data streaming, data mining and mineral mining for corporate control and profit… think “Don’t Look Up”. This would require an independent committee and collaboration with other countries rather than continuing the thoughtless and misguided Dr. Strangelove-esque space race.
RF Measurements Done in Pittsfield
July, 2021 Measurements of radiofrequency radiation were done by V-COMM, a New Jersey-based telecommunications consulting firm hired by the city. Residents were not notified that this was happening but several residents saw an unfamiliar man in a car stopping at locations and holding a device out his window, presumably measuring radiofrequency radiation.
At a council meeting, Stephanie Koles, a representative of V-COMM, presented the results and acknowledged that the cell tower had multiple typical bands for cell phone communications (900MHz to 2100 MHz). The report stated that multiple measurements were taken throughout the Alma street neighborhood. The total measurement reported was 1.66% of FCC limits and well within the FCC standards for exposure limits. As noted before these measurements are averaged over time and do not measure the peak pulses that are the most damaging to biological tissues.
Dr. Magda Havas, professor emeritus of Trent University, wrote a detailed response to the Pittsfield Health Department regarding the measurements. She explained, “The FCC provides a short-term guideline that monitors average levels during a 30-minute period for exposure of the public (uncontrolled environment) and during a 6-minute period for occupational exposure (controlled environment). As a person with expertise in public health, you should be aware that organisms respond to extremes rather than averages. If you place your hand in scalding water and then pour cold water on the hand, the average water temperature will be much lower but the damage from scalding will still be apparent. She continues, “The two levels of guidelines that the FCC recognizes is occupational and public exposure. What they fail to recognize is exposure of sensitive populations, despite the fact that they have been aware of microwave illness among radar workers since the 1950s (Glaser 1971; https://www.magdahavas.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/Navy_Radiowave_Brief.pdf). Radar, like cell phone antennas, uses microwave radiation as a carrier wave. “
Pittsfield Board of Health Asks Verizon Wireless to Dismantle the Tower
In October 2021 the Pittsfield Board of Health asked Verizon Wireless to dismantle the communications tower at 877 South Street. The Berkshire Eagle reported that the interim health director Andy Cambi and Board of Health member Brad Gordon met with Verizon to consider the request to remove or relocate the tower and Gordon later said, ““it was unlikely” it would be honored.” It was not. The City Council later sent a letter to the state attorney general to investigate the situation. Several city council members felt “deceptive practices were being used.” They hoped the attorney general’s office would at least examine this. To date there was has been no action taken.
Members of the Board of Health moved beyond local politics by sending a letter to the state legislature in support of Massachusetts bill S 186 to form a special commission to research the impact of electromagnetic (EMR) and radiofrequency (RFR) radiation, similar to the New Hampshire 5G Commission.
Pittsfield Board of Health Issues Cease and Desist Order to Verizon
In a unanimous decision on Feb 3, 2022, the Pittsfield Board of Health voted to issue a cease and desist order to Verizon. The order asked for a notification to the Board in the next 7 days that Verizon is “willing to come to a discussion and demonstrate significant commitment that they will- Significant commitment, and to do something to resolve the issue to the board’s satisfaction.” Some Board members expressed doubt that Verizon would take action on behalf of the residents. Board of Health Chair Bobbi Orsi noted, “There is a very good chance that we will not win this… you know, and in some ways, we know that Verizon is following the FCC guidelines in some way, which right now we know are not protective of enough of public health.”
A news report details the meeting and in an interview, a Verizon representative responded to them with this statement, [Verizon’s] “telecommunications equipment and networks comply with all health and safety standards established by the FCC. We have met on multiple occasions with the Pittsfield Health Department and members of the community to address their concerns with this site. All of Verizon’s equipment at the Pittsfield tower operates well under the FCC’s conservative limits, as confirmed by the city’s own RF study from last summer.”
Update on the Cease and Desist Order 2/28/22
Prior to April 11, 2022 when the Cease and Desist Order was finally issued, an editorial in the Berkshire Eagle Feb 19, 2022 warned it may not be worth the risk. In a February 23, 2022 meeting the Board of Health announced it would still move forward with the cease and desist order to remove the cell tower. The Berkshire Eagle reported the story. Chair Bobbie Orsi stated, “We, through our executive session, had a lively discussion with the city solicitor and have made the decision to not change our intention to move forward with the cease-and-desist order. We will, however, align our resources towards a strategy that will afford us the best possibility of success, and so that will be what we will do next.” Dr. Kent Chamberlin sent a letter to the Berkshire Eagle commending the Pittsfield Board of Health. It was not published but the letter asks the media to have an open mind as well as honest and non biased coverage of this issue.
The New Hampshire 5G Commission Completes Report
As the Pittsfield cell tower was being deliberated the first commission formed in the United States to study the environmental and health effects of 5G technology was formed. The Commission to Study the Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology was mandated after the passage of New Hampshire HB522. The Commission issued their comprehensive final report November 1, 2020. The report included 15 recommendations addressing the need for public education about wireless hazards, RF health studies, RF measurements, cell antenna setbacks, fiberoptic rather than wireless deployment, commercial warning signs and wildlife protection. Kent Chamberlin, committee member, provided a summary of the HB522 New Hampshire Commission on 5G Report in August 19, 2021.
New Hampshire Bill 1644- Cell Tower Setbacks
Another product of HB 522 and the New Hampshire Commission Report of 5G is to further identify those affected by radiofrequency radiation and add protections for residents with regards to chronic exposure to cell tower emissions. They carefully looked at the available science to give specific requirements. New Hampshire HB 1644 was introduced in 2021 and would ensure a 1640 foot (500M) setback of “telecommunications antennas” from residentially zoned areas, parks, playgrounds, hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers, and schools.” In addition, it would establish “a registry for residents who are experiencing biological symptoms from wireless radiation exposure.”
I Have A Dream…The Promise of Health Safety and Equitable Protections for All
January 18, 2022 Courtney Gilardi presented oral testimony for the New Hampshire House of Representatives Science, Technology and Energy Committee on New Hampshire bill HB 1644 . Ms Gilardi stated, “There is no preemption when it comes to health and safety…The only thing that is unlawful and a violation is our government officials’ failure to act… There are no, absolutely no, safety standards for radiofrequency radiation, not from one tower and no established safe levels of wireless radiation from the cumulative exposure of all the sources of wireless radiation we are exposed to today.”
Amelia Gilardi, Courtney’s now 15 year old daughter, gave the most compelling testimony just after he mother presented (at 2:02:30). Amelia first quoted Martin Luther King then stated,
“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and look at the people who are being injured by wireless radiation and who have a medical diagnosis of harm by their doctors and instead of treating them with shame and stigma our legislators will deliver us the promise of health, safety and equitable protections for all.”
The Saga Continues
While the Pittsfield Cell Tower saga continues in Massachusetts, there are similar stories playing out in many cities in the United States. Education and outreach , however, also continue. Groups such as Americans for Safe Technology have not only been engaged in gathering a citizen action coalition of those communities affected by and fighting cell towers across the country, but also petitioning the FDA to investigate the issue of health harms from wireless radiation. They join Environmental Health Trust, California Brain Tumor Association, Physicians for Safe Technology, Massachusetts for Safe Technology, SaferEMR and many others that offer a perspective different than the telecommunications industry or glamorous TV ads ( Dolly Parton and Miley Cyrus- T Mobile Do it for the phones), that by way of manipulation push this invasive technology upon an unquestioning public already too dependent on these modern convenient and entertaining but problematic wireless devices.
The telecom industry and the government agencies that are controlled by them have little regard for an honest examination of the multiple issues connected with the infrastructure and use of wireless communications and digital technology including, health and environmental harm, massive energy consumption abolishing climate change mitigations, privacy and surveillance, interference with aviation and weather forecasting, insurance liability, conflict minerals and weaponization that threaten human and planetary health.
There is an old saying “The meek shall inherit the earth when it is no longer of any value.” The Pittsfield Board of Health was not meek in addressing this issue. We commend them as well as the Pittsfield City Council for their due diligence, integrity and courage. The dream and due diligence continues.
Current Bills in Play in Massachusetts and New Hampshire on Wireless Technology
MA S 186 (2021) Senator Julian Cyr. Resolve relative to disclosure of radio frequency notifications: There shall be a special commission to research the impact of electromagnetic (EMR) and radiofrequency (RFR) radiation on consumer protection, public health, and technology in the Commonwealth. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/S186
MA H 3309(2022) Representative Thomas Golden, Jr. An Act relative to advanced metering infrastructure in the Commonwealth Alternative Smart Meter Opt Out. Electric customers may opt out of inclusion in the implementation of advanced metering infrastructure with notice to the distribution company. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H3309
MA H 115 (2021) Representative Dykema. An Act relative to best management practices for wireless in schools and public institutions of higher education: The board shall develop best practices and guidance for the purchase and installation of wireless internet service in public institutions of higher education. In developing these guidelines, the board shall consider and prioritize practices that protect the health and safety of public institutions of higher education students and staff. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/H115/BillHistory
NH HB 1644 (2021) Representative Abrami. AN ACT relative to the placement of telecommunication antennae and establishing a registry for residents who are experiencing biological symptoms from wireless radiation exposure. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/bill_status/billinfo.aspx?id=1725&inflect=2
Cell Tower Health Effects – https://mdsafetech.org/cell-tower-health-effects/
Electrosensitivity Science– https://mdsafetech.org/science/es-science/
Electrosensitivity Stories – https://mdsafetech.org/electrosensitivity-stories/
5G Telecommunications Health Science – https://mdsafetech.org/5g-telecommunications-science/
New Hampshire Commission Studies 5G Technology Health and Environment Effects. Nov 17, 2020. Physicians for Safe Technology. https://mdsafetech.org/2020/11/17/new-hampshire-commission-studies-5g-technology-health-and-environment-effects/
An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies. National Academy of Sciences Report 2020. https://www.nap.edu/read/25889/chapter/1
Mystery Solved: 2020 NAS Report Links Diplomats Neurologic Symptoms from “Havana Syndrome” to Directed Microwave Radiation Similar to Electromagnetic Illness. PST. April 6, 2021. https://mdsafetech.org/2021/04/06/mystery-solved-2020-nas-report-links-diplomats-neurologic-symptoms-to-directed-microwave-radiation-similar-to-electromagnetic-illness/
Pittsfield Cell Tower Concerned Citizens. Facebook Group fighting cell tower
July 2022 The cost of connectivity? Cell tower dispute puts Pittsfield at center of a national debate. The Hill Country Observer. July 2022. Tracy Frisch. http://www.hillcountryobserver.com/2022news/July2022cell-protest.htm
June 16, 2022 Pittsfield City Council Puts Verizon Cell Tower Litigation to Rest. Brittany Polito. IBerkshires. June 16, 2022. https://www.iberkshires.com/story/68583/Pittsfield-City-Council-Puts-Verizon-Cell-Tower-Litigation-to-Rest.html
June 6, 2022. Verizon drops suit vs. city as Pittsfield board retreat. Meg Britton-Mehlisch. The Berkshire Eagle. June 6, 2022. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/verizon-drops-lawsuit-pittsfield-after-board-of-health-pulls-cell-tower-cease-and-desist-order/article_f3f7ac20-e5be-11ec-b35a-27b3378bb455.html
May 25, 2022. Children’s Health Defense Supports Injured Residents in Pittsfield, Massachusetts Cell Tower Litigation. May 25, 2022. Businesswire. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20220525005927/en/Childrens-Health-Defense-Supports-Injured-Residents-in-Pittsfield-Massachusetts-Cell-Tower-Litigation
May 25, 2022. Pittsfield-Motion-to-Intervene-and-Memorandum-in-Support-to-Intervene. Pittsfield Cellular Telephone Company ,Verizon vs Board of Health City of Pittsfield. May 25, 2022. https://childrenshealthdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/Pittsfield-Motion-to-Intervene-and-Memorandum-in-Support-to-Intervene-05.25.22.pdf
May 11, 2022. Verizon Wireless files federal lawsuit against Pittsfield Board of Health to block cell tower order. Meg Britton-Mehlisch. The Berkshire Eagle. May 11, 2022. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/verizon-wireless-files-lawsuit-against-pittsfield-board-of-health-to-block-cell-tower-order/article_6335b2be-d0cd-11ec-80ac-635335be3555.html
May 10, 2022. Lawsuit : Pittsfield Cellular Telephone Company, Verizon Wireless -Plaintiff vs Board of Health of the City of Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Filed May 10, 2022 US District Court Massachusetts. https://bloximages.newyork1.vip.townnews.com/berkshireeagle.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/e/bd/ebd3f9e2-d0db-11ec-b830-335769825d6c/627b30199d88f.pdf.pdf
May 3, 2021. No forum. No health study. Did Pittsfield oversell DPH help with cell tower concerns? Larry Parnass. The Berkshire Eagle. May 3, 2021. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/no-forum-no-health-study-did-pittsfield-oversell-dph-help-with-cell-tower-concerns/article_569b974c-ac5e-11eb-b9a6-5bfb19c4327e.html
April 12, 2022. The Pittsfield Board of Health issued a cease-and-desist order to Verizon. Now it’s looking for an attorney to back it up. Meg Britton-Mehlisch. Apr 12, 2022. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/pittsfield-verizon-cease-and-desist-order-board-of-health/article_5abf6092-b6b2-11ec-ae60-07da9beed1ef.html
Feb 24, 2022. Pittsfield Health Board Changes Mask Directive to Advisory and Keeps Cease and Desist Order. Brittany Polito. https://www.iberkshires.com/story/67352/Pittsfield-Health-Board-Changes-Mask-Directive-to-Advisory.html
Feb 19, 2022. Our Opinion: Pittsfield Board of Health’s cease-and-desist ultimatum to Verizon is not worth the risk. Editorial. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/opinion/editorials/our-opinion-pittsfield-board-of-healths-cease-and-desist-ultimatum-to-verizon-is-not-worth/article_942dab22-90d8-11ec-b68f-e77dfc1a5337.html
Feb 3, 2022. Pittsfield board of health issues conditional cease and desist order to Verizon over cell tower. WAMC Northeast Public Radio. https://www.wamc.org/news/2022-02-03/pittsfield-board-of-health-issues-conditional-cease-and-desist-order-to-verizon-over-cell-tower
Feb 3, 2022. Pittsfield Board of Health votes to send cease and desist order to Verizon for cell tower. Spectrum News. Feb 3, 2022. Matt Ristaino. https://spectrumnews1.com/ma/worcester/news/2022/02/03/cell-tower-cease-and-desist-
Feb 2, 2022. Pittsfield Health Board Ordering Verizon to Remove Cell Tower. Brittany Polito. https://www.iberkshires.com/story/67151/Pittsfield-Health-Board-Ordering-Verizon-to-Remove-Cell-Tower.html
Oct 28, 2021. Pittsfield City Council to ask state attorney general to review South Street Verizon cell tower. The Berkshire Eagle.
Meg Britton-Mehlisch. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/council-ask-ag-to-investigat-cell-tower/article_a5f2c6ec-3838-11ec-86c3-8b14fe19bbaa.html
Oct 8, 2021. Board of Health Tells Verizon to Remove Cell Tower Due to Health Complaints from Residents. Activist Post. Oct 8, 2021. https://www.activistpost.com/2021/10/board-of-health-tells-verizon-to-remove-cell-tower-due-to-health-complaints-from-residents.html
Oct 7, 2021Pittsfield Board of Health asks Verizon to remove or relocate controversial South Street cell tower. Berkshire Eagle. Dick Lindsay. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/pittsfield-board-of-health-asks-verizon-to-remove-or-relocate-controversial-south-street-cell-tower/article_89dbdc9e-2769-11ec-bf6a-8f61ab475dda.html?fbclid=IwAR22jtTVAn1ZNEonHF4N5wc-QfKYzfIMoqeVlN0CWG6sYAJWPbJBDRjz1UE#:~:text=The%20cell%20tower%20was%20erected,streets%20neighborhood%20off%20Holmes%20Road
August 24, 2021. Researcher cites ‘significant risks’ of cellphone radiation in presentation to Lenox Board of Health. Berkshire Eagle. Clarence Fanto. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/lenox-wireless-safety-curtis/article_aa1b6d84-04ec-11ec-b517-97d4a38105c9.html?utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook&utm_campaign=user-share&fbclid=IwAR09YAEa2gb6vtVNPw-Xm_2Qx390jGL7Dh_virVKJJiE6CR4M_cTOmj2qRw
July 19, 2021 Nearly a year later, Pittsfield cell tower lawsuit awaits decision on appeal. Larry Parnass. Berkshire Eagle. July 19, 2021. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/central_berkshires/nearly-a-year-later-pittsfield-cell-tower-lawsuit-awaits-decision-on-appeal/article_c903f146-e5af-11eb-83e6-cba33a0f3450.html
July 8, 2021 Health impact of new cell tower remains unclear, Pittsfield officials say. Larry Parnass. The Berkshire Eagle. Massachusetts. July 8, 2021. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/health-impact-of-new-cell-tower-remains-unclear-pittsfield-officials-say/article_b21928c8-e02a-11eb-8600-9f6eaa70da39.html.
July 7, 2021 VIDEO Board of Health Meeting July 7, 2021.Amelia Gilardi speaks first and discusses how cell towers have affected her health. http://www.pittsfieldtv.net/CablecastPublicSite/show/40992?channel=3.
July 8, 2021 Pittsfield Board Of Health Hears Report On Cell Tower Emissions. July 8, 2021. WAMC radio. Josh Landes. https://www.wamc.org/new-england-news/2021-07-08/pittsfield-board-of-health-hears-report-on-cell-tower-emissions
July 6 2021 Debate over cell tower safety returns to Pittsfield health panel, with new report in hand. July 6, 2021. Berkshire Eagle. Larry Parnass. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/debate-over-cell-tower-safety-returns-to-pittsfield-health-panel-with-new-report-in-hand/article_76192c30-de98-11eb-a248-636d4f43ef52.html
June 15, 2021 Pittsfield Massachusetts Morning Drive Community TV with Bill Sturgeon – WTBR on the Pittsfield Cell Tower Health Symptoms. An enlightening discussion with Dr. Paul Heroux of McGill University and Courtney Gilardi 6/15/21.http://www.pittsfieldtv.net/CablecastPublicSite/show/38790?channel=1*
June 3, 2021. Pittsfield Cell Tower Could Cause Harmful Effects, Experts Say. Matt Ristaino. Spectrum News1. https://spectrumnews1.com/ma/worcester/news/2021/06/03/pittsfield-cell-tower-concerns?fbclid=IwAR3NtXUGSEZXvWVYG-JS2qbirL0-ESEtFih8WS0YiHN-SScuMhUPcWWQp-E#
May 13, 2021. Neighborhood Residents Say Pittsfield Cell Tower Causing health Concerns. Matt Ristaino. Spectrum News. https://spectrumnews1.com/ma/worcester/news/2021/05/13/pittfield-cell-tower-update
May 5, 2021 Pittsfield seeks tests of South Street cell tower radiation. The Berkshire Eagle. May 5, 2021. Larry Parnass. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/pittsfield-seeks-tests-of-south-street-cell-tower-radiation/article_162433ea-ae07-11eb-9d4a-5fc7f82f2476.html
May 3, 2021. No forum. No health study. Did Pittsfield oversell DPH help with cell tower concerns? Larry Parnass. The Berkshire Eagle. May 3, 2021. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/no-forum-no-health-study-did-pittsfield-oversell-dph-help-with-cell-tower-concerns/article_569b974c-ac5e-11eb-b9a6-5bfb19c4327e.html
April 21, 2021 5G Earth Day Countdown: Children- Amelia’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Cell Tower Days. April 21, 2021. Natural Blaze. https://www.naturalblaze.com/2021/04/5g-earth-day-countdown-children-amelias-terrible-horrible-no-good-very-bad-cell-tower-days.html
April 12, 2021 Toxicology experts with state DPH tapped to probe Pittsfield cell tower health complaints.April 12, 2021. Larry Parnass. The Berkshire Eagle, Pitttsfield, Massachusetts. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/news/local/toxicology-experts-with-state-dph-tapped-to-probe-pittsfield-cell-tower-health-complaints/article_35d26476-9bf3-11eb-8dd3-ab27ed818d58.html
February 1, 2021. Pittsfield Health Officials to Investigate Cell Tower Complaints. Brittany Polito. IBerkshire News. February 01, 2021. https://www.iberkshires.com/story/64091/Pittsfield-Health-Officials-to-Investigate-Cell-Tower-Complaints.html
Sept 27, 2020. Pittsfield ZBA Takes No Action On Cell Tower Petition. Jack Guerino. Sept 27, 2020. https://www.iberkshires.com/story/63142/Pittsfield-ZBA-Takes-No-Action-On-Cell-Tower-Petition.html
July 30, 2020. As cell tower rises, neighborhood challenge to Pittsfield project faces new legal test. Berkshire Eagle. Larry Parnass. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/archives/as-cell-tower-rises-neighborhood-challenge-to-pittsfield-project-faces-new-legal-test/article_eae22393-4924-593d-a5db-ccd1d2603266.html
May 8, 2020. Unhappy neighbors await ruling on Pittsfield cell tower. May 8, 2020. Berkshire Eagle. Larry Parnass. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/archives/unhappy-neighbors-await-ruling-on-pittsfield-cell-tower/article_06d0bcb9-728a-5386-8fe2-a31125dce88f.html
Scientific and Other Articles
- Neighbors of cell phone tower inside Centerville church steeple complain of health issues. June 23, 2022. Cape Code Times. https://www.capecodtimes.com/story/news/2022/06/23/concerned-citizens-centerville-say-neighbors-cell-tower-ill/7696955001/
- New Hampshire Commission to /study the Environmental and Health Effects of Evolving 5G Technology. Nov 1, 2020. http://www.gencourt.state.nh.us/statstudcomm/committees/1474/reports/5G%20final%20report.pdf
- Maine Study of Smart Meters. Richard Conrad. 2012. https://ecfsapi.fcc.gov/file/7520940952.pdf
- Golomb BA (2018) Diplomats’ Mystery Illness and Pulsed Radiofrequency/Microwave Radiation.(2018)Beatrice A. Golomb. Neural Comput. 2018 Nov;30(11):2882-2985. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30183509/
- An Assessment of Illness in U.S. Government Employees
and Their Families at Overseas Embassies: Standing Committee to Advise the Department of State on Unexplained Health Effects on U.S. Government Employees and Their Families at Overseas Embassies. Independent review and Consensus Study Report.2020. National Academy of Sciences. David A. Relman and Julie A. Pavlin, Editors. https://www.nap.edu/read/25889/chapter/1
- Levitt BB, Lai HC, Manville AM. Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, part 1. Rising ambient EMF levels in the environment. Rev Environ Health. 2021 May 27. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2021-0026. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34047144.
- Levitt BB, Lai HC, Manville AM. Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Part 2 impacts: how species interact with natural and man-made EMF. Rev Environ Health. 2021 Jul 8. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2021-0050. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34243228.
- Levitt BB, Lai HC, Manville AM. Effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields on flora and fauna, Part 3. Exposure standards, public policy, laws, and future directions. Rev Environ Health. 2021 Sep 27. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2021-0083. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34563106.
- Wireless Silent Spring. SCCMA Bulletin. 2018. https://mdsafetech.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/wireless-silentspring_-sccma-oct-2-2018.pdf
- Report says wireless radiation may harm wildlife.[Review of Levitt, Lai and Manville 3 part Report] Feb 5, 2022. Scott Wyland. Sant Fe New Mexican. https://www.santafenewmexican.com/news/local_news/report-says-wireless-radiation-may-harm-wildlife/article_1ae80fc0-7d5d-11ec-8c13-4f3411ea8ea1.html#tncms-source=signup
- Redox toxicology of environmental chemicals causing oxidative stress. Zheng F et al. Redox Biology. July 2020. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231719315113
- 5 strategies for giving yourself a much-needed digital detox. Jan 26, 2022. Berkshire Eagle. Beth Plantoni. https://www.berkshireeagle.com/opinion/columnists/health-take-away-digital-detox-unplugging-from-screen-technologies-wellness/article_4a129e48-7e00-11ec-bf27-cb7b1e7c8d66.html
- Andrew Cline: Impeding the expansion of new telecom technologies would hurt New Hampshire. Op Ed. Jan 20, 2022. Union Leader. https://www.unionleader.com/opinion/op-eds/andrew-cline-impeding-the-expansion-of-new-telecom-technologies-would-hurt-new-hampshire/article_4ce2b572-c974-5f1a-a89c-69733e2af652.html
Dr. Kluberg Letter in support of Massachusetts Bill 186. Dr. Kulberg Board of Health Letter of Support
Dr. Magda Havas Letter Havas response to Pittsfield Board of Health Vcomm Report July 2021
Dr. Cindy Russell letter to the Board of Health Pittsfield Letter – Board of Health 7:6:21 PDF
Dr. Cindy Russell letter to Pittsfield City Council. Letter City of Pittsfield- Public Health Survey 4:6:21 PDF
Kent Chamberlin, PhD- Take-Aways from the New Hampshire Commission on 5G Slides- Kent Chamberlin, PhD- Slides Pittsfield Massachusetts Cell Tower July 2021
Theodora Scarato, Pittsfield Expert Forum . March 7, 2021. Discussing History of FCC standards and why the National Cancer Institute, the EPA and WHO do not have any authority to make a judgment of safety on RFR . https://www.facebook.com/EHTrust/videos/494864885423385/
Pittsfield Massachusetts Expert Forum on Cell Tower Cease -and -Desist Order with Senator Denise Ricciardi., Dr. Paul Heroux, Dr.Magda Havas,Dr. Kent Chamberlin, Dr. Sharon Goldberg, EHTrust Director Theodora Scarato, Attorney Robert Berg, Attorney Scott McCollough. March 7, 2022. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZLbcOHpns8
Feb 2, 2022 Pittsfield Massachusetts Board of Health votes to issue a cease and desist order to Verizon regarding the cell tower near Alma Street in Pittsfield. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qd74Tun1q_4
Feb 2, 2022 Pittsfield Massachusetts Board of Health votes to issue a cease and desist order to Verizon regarding the cell tower near Alma Street in Pittsfield. Discussion of Board of Health meeting to vote on the cease and desist order. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUa4o0B8W08
August 2, 2021 Sisters Harmed by Cell Tower Radiation: Testimony to Halt More Cell Antennas. Amelia Gilardi testifies as to her symptoms from cell tower radiation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TozKPtn0Qyo&t=75s
June 15, 2021 Pittsfield Massachusetts Morning Drive Community TV with Bill Sturgeon – WTBR on the Pittsfield Cell Tower Health Symptoms enlightening discussion with Dr. Paul Heroux of McGill University and Courtney Gilardi. http://www.pittsfieldtv.net/CablecastPublicSite/show/38790?channel=1
July 7, 2021 Professor Kent Chamberlin of the New Hampshire Commission presents the findings of the report to Pittsfield Residents. Introduction by Courtney Gilardi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IsxLgJ8KXT0&t=2144s
July 7, 2021 Pittsfield Board of Health Meeting http://www.pittsfieldtv.net/CablecastPublicSite/show/40992?channel=3 Pittsfield Board of Health Amelia Gilardi speaks– https://www.facebook.com/pittsfieldcell/videos/833134733976089
January 18, 2022 New Hampshire House of Representatives House Science, Technology, and Energy meeting on New Hampshire 5G Bill HB 1644- Testimony. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnFBpyh0OCo&t=7576s
- Courtney Gilardi at 2:02;30 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnFBpyh0OCo&t=7576s
- Amelia Gilardi I have a dream speech at 2:07
- Ken Wells, Endover, NH at 1:050 Former House committee. Former teacher of Physics and researcher at University of Pennsylvania.
***Photos used with permission of Courtney Gilardi