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First known cease and desist for cell tower due to injuries in United States of America will be effective in 7 days if Verizon does not come to the table. 

On February 2, 2022, the Pittsfield, MA Board of Health unanimously voted to issue a cease and desist order to Verizon to shut down its tower located at 877 South Street. Families living in the neighborhood near the tower reported wireless radiation-related health issues soon after the tower became operational in 2020 and since then, have been working tirelessly to turn the transmissions off. This action is the first known cease and desist by a Board of Health in the United States.

The cease and desist order to Verizon would become effective in seven calendar days if Verizon fails to notify the Board that they are willing to come to a discussion and demonstrate significant commitment that they will do something “to resolve the issue to the board’s satisfaction.”

iBerkshires quoted Board Member Steve Smith who stated, “As a member of the Board of Health, I’m here to safeguard the health of residents of the city of Pittsfield…”So on some level for me, win or lose this long battle with a company that’s going to look at this on a global scale, at some point, I’m going to have to sit back 20 years later and say, did I do everything I could to safeguard the residents in Pittsfield when I was in that position or did I not? I guess that’s the way I have to think about it.”

Pittsfield Cell Tower

This courageous success story would not have been possible without the sustained efforts of Pittsfield residents who worked tirelessly for months to address the issue. 

The community was supported with expertise from Dr. David Carpenter, Dr. Kent Chamberlain, Dr. Sharon Goldberg, Dr. Cindy Russell, Dr. Martha Herbert, Dr. Magda Havas, Cecelia Doucette, Sheena Symington, Robert Berg and numerous other medical practitioners, scientists, and electromagnetic radiation experts. EHT was thankful to have played a role in this potentially precedent-setting moment by presenting some of the peer-reviewed, independent science on wireless radiation health risks and policy issues to the Pittsfield City Council. We express our sincere gratitude to the Board of Health and to the City Council for advocating for the health, safety, and welfare of its residents. 

Click here to watch the entire Board of Health Meeting 

News Articles From the Vote


Background 

Almost immediately thereafter the cell tower became operational in August of 2020, residents in the adjacent neighborhood began experiencing serious medical conditions, including nausea, vomiting, tinnitus (ringing of the ears), dizziness, insomnia, and more. Residents reported the symptoms to the City authorities and to the Board of Health for over two years requesting relief. Residents presented medical experts, scientists, testimonials of their own illnesses to no avail. Several residents sold their homes and left the community because they found the area virtually uninhabitable. Other residents have been living in their cars or are staying with relatives. 

Resident Courtney Gilardi testified to New Hampshire lawmakers on a proposed bill to set a 1640 foot setback from cell towers to homes. In her testimony she shared the story of Pittsfield and the 17 neighbors. 

Over the past few months, the Board of Health held two meetings with Verizon Wireless to discuss the possibility of having Verizon relocate the tower away from the neighborhood to an alternative, less intrusive site. In the last meeting, Verizon stated that it would not move the tower and it would not power it down. At the Board of Health meeting last night, the Board reviewed the issue and determined that it has the duty to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of the City of Pittsfield. According to the Board, the tower has caused at least one medically-documented case of electromagnetic sensitivity, with two additional likely cases in the same household. 

Throughout the year, Verizon has contended that the tower radiation emissions were  “compliant with FCC cell tower radiation limits.” However community advocates and experts repeatedly presented evidence that compliance with FCC limits did not mean safety was assured.  In August 2020, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in the historic case EHT et al. v. the FCC that the FCC had violated the Administrative Procedures Act when the agency decided not to update its 1996 wireless radiation limits. Specifically the Court found the FCC had ignored submitted evidence of people injured by wireless radiation, health effects from long term exposure and children’s unique vulnerability. 

Click here to watch the entire Board of Health Meeting 

 News Articles

Additional Resources 

Pittsfield Massachusetts Cell Tower Community Links 

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https://ehtrust.org/pittsfield-ma-board-of-health-unanimously-votes-to-issue-cease-and-desist-for-verizon-cell-tower/ Source: Environmental Health Trust