Pittsfield health officials looking to meet with Verizon about new cell tower
Larry Parnass is reporting for The Berkshire Eagle the Pittsfield Board of Health wants to meet with representatives of Verizon Wireless about its new cell tower that is generating health complaints and distress in a city neighborhood. Before that meeting takes place, however, an independent evaluation by a New Jersey engineering company will test levels of electromagnetic radiation from the tower, to determine whether it is exceeding limits set by the Federal Communications Commission. The steps are welcomed by a leader of the Alliance for Microwave Radiation Accountability's campaign to assess health impacts from the 115-foot monopole, which was erected last summer and began operating in September. “It’s pretty amazing. We’ve seen some compassion,” said Courtney Gilardi co-chair of the Alliance, who has faulted the city’s health officials for not acting sooner on complaints about the perceived effects of what some call “electrosmog.” Gilardi said she is pleased that members of the health board appeared to be in agreement that some action is necessary in light of reports of illness. The Alliance called on the city to conduct an independent survey of radiation levels from the new tower, which sits at the rear of a parcel at 877 South Street. But the health board has declined to pursue a wider epidemiological study of possible health consequences related to the tower citing potential cost and complexity of the study. Stephen Smith, the health board’s vice chair, said the board wants to open up a dialogue with Verizon Wireless. “I think that’s important. And [that we] try to make some headway there,” he said. The agenda for a possible meeting with the company is unknown at this time. Residents living closest to the tower have suffered headaches and insomnia since the tower went into operation. Other symptoms of electromagnetic radiation include depression and depressive symptoms, tiredness and fatigue, a painful, often itchy sensation, lack of concentration, changes in memory and dizziness. Read the full story in The Berkshire Eagle.