Complaints about a tower in Pittsfield, MA have summoned the state’s Department of Public Health, reports the Berkshire Eagle. After previously noting that Pittsfield did not have the resources to investigate claims that a 115-foot Verizon cell tower was making people sick, Gina Armstrong, the city’s public health director, kicked the concern up to the state level. Toxicology experts are now on their way to town to research the matter.
“We have always taken this seriously,” said Dr. Alan Kulberg, chairman of Pittsfield’s Board of Health. Although he agreed that Pittsfield itself did not have the means to launch an investigation. “It is the residents’ concerns about their health that is our number one priority,” he clarified in support of state level involvement. “I’m not saying there isn’t a causal relationship,” he noted, “But these things have to be done in a rigorous epidemiological way. … We feel this is the most scientifically valid way to do it.”
Resident Courtney Gilardi has been campaigning against the cell tower since before it was even built, initially citing aesthetic concerns and later saying that the tower was making her and her daughter sick, according to the Berkshire Eagle. Gilardi has been persistent in her efforts to draw attention to the matter, challenging politicians saying, “What have you been doing to address this public health issue? Our voices have been silenced. Neighbors have been ignored.”
Announcing the plan to involve the state toxicology team, Armstrong countered criticism for the city’s response time, noting, “We were researching the resources needed to address this concern. Working on a plan took some time … to do this to the level that is necessary.” Kulberg added that the state-level help would give the city the input, “to develop some better scientific understanding about what’s going on.”