PITTSFIELD, Mass. – For residents of Pittsfield’s Alma Street neighborhood, a report on measurements of radiation from a nearby cell tower offered little help in their efforts to turn off or remove the tower entirely.
Radiation measurements in the area came in at just 1.66% of the levels allowed by the FCC.
The study was conducted by telecommunications consulting firm V-COMM, and presented to the Pittsfield Board of Health on Wednesday.
The measurements were taken at 17 points throughout the neighborhood during the morning rush hour, which, according to V-COMM, is when cell tower usage is highest.
However, neighbors have reported symptoms like headaches and nausea since the tower was turned on last summer, and they hope the low readings won’t discount their experiences.
“Cancer in our neighborhood and symptoms in ourselves and in our children, they don’t know a number on a meter,” neighborhood resident Courtney Gilardi told the Board of Health onWednesday. “We just know how we felt before, and how we feel now.”
“You can read that it’s safe and the levels are fine,” said neighbor Elaine Ireland. “But when you’ve lived inside your body your entire life and all of a sudden you’re having all of these things happen to you, you’re like, 'I don’t care what they say.' You can’t tell me that I’m not having this.”
Members of the Board of Health acknowledged, since the measurements are so low, they don’t have any legal grounds for immediate action. However, they will continue efforts to advocate for the residents on a city and state level, and engage in talks with the tower’s owner, Verizon.