There is an unspoken agreement that when you become a parent, you do everything in your power to protect your children. But how do I, or any parent protect our children when a cell tower is illegally constructed outside our home without any say, without consent, and is making them sick?
This is exactly what happened to us 14 months ago, on the first day of the Covid-19 shutdown, at our beautiful forever home in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
As a mom, I’ve take every preventative action I can to keep my children healthy. We choose organic foods when possible, wear helmets when mountain biking, purchase chemical free skin care, use natural cleaners and laundry soap, purify our water through a Berkey filter, use VOC free paints and choose glass instead of plastic for food storage. We use an air popper for our popcorn and heat water for tea on the stove instead of in a microwave. We use Ethernet connections for our computers and have a corded landline.
Genetics Loads the Gun, Environment Pulls the Trigger
If you have ever heard the functional medicine expression, “genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger”, you know a healthy environment free from environmental toxins has the power to delay or deter disease formation all together. With cancer, autoimmune conditions and chronic diseases on the rise, we need to be precautionary. Our lives depend on it.
For that reason, I would have never chosen to live next to a cell tower. Now that one has been built next to us and is harming my children and others, I’m calling upon each of you to fight like a mother against this.
No parent should have to choose between the health of their children or staying in their home. At a time when many of us are dealing with legal bills to fight the tower, medical bills to understand our symptoms, unemployment due to the pandemic, moving is not a choice everyone can make.
We are fortunate enough to be able to reduce our symptoms by sleeping on mattresses on the floor of a 100-year-old tiny house away from the tower. To give my teenager privacy, she sleeps in an unheated basement space. The house doesn’t have a shower, laundry facility or furniture, but it doesn’t have a cell tower, either. The girls don’t enjoy it, but they don’t get headaches, nausea or dizziness when we are there. We come back home for short periods to bathe and do laundry.
The kids just want to go home for good. I do, too.
9 Months Since the Tower Was Turned On, 13 Neighbors Are Sick
It has been 9 months since the tower was “fired up” and my children started experiencing symptoms. It has been 9 months of the health department ignoring our calls and emails in the hopes we would do what every other person who has been harmed by a cell tower has done – move quietly away. While our Congressmen, Senators and State Representatives have been supportive, agreeing this is a very important issue to address, even writing letters of solidarity and calling for the re-permitting of the tower based on proper notification to all abutters, our City Councilors Connell and Kavey have taken action on our behalf. They petitioned the Health Department to do an investigation into the health effects of the cell tower. While it took the Health Department many months to declare they lacked the expertise to do such work, despite experts such as Dr. Beatrice Golumb, Dr. Sharon Goldberg, and Dr. Paul Heroux volunteering their assistance, and another month to realize the Massachusetts Department of Public Health wasn’t going to help with an epidemiological study as they hoped, The City of Pittsfield is back to the drawing board trying to understand what could and should be done to help these sickened neighbors.
In the meantime, at least 13 people that I am aware of continue to suffer with tinnitus, dizziness, headaches, and insomnia. Two have been diagnosed with cancer after clean bills of health this summer, and one has died. Neighbors are living out of hotel rooms or their cars to find relief. Some have bought land elsewhere. Others are in the process of selling their homes.
During open comments at City Council and Board of Health meetings, I continue to call for the tower to be turned off until a proper epidemiological study of the neighborhood can be conducted, but no one knows exactly how to do that- or if harm is shown, what to do with that.
Every level of legislature has agreed RF radiation from towers is important issue, but we can’t agree on is whose responsibility it is to help.
Case in point from our local news reports;
“We have always taken this seriously. It is the residents’ concerns about their health that is our number one priority.” — Dr. Alan Kulberg, chair of the Pittsfield Board of Health, on complaints of health effects linked to a new cellular telephone tower off South Street.
No Action – Due to a Pro-Industry Law from 1996, Before Macrotowers and Small Cells Were Placed Next to Homes, Schools, Hospitals, Elderly Housing?
While this is being taken seriously and our concerns about our health is a priority, Pittsfield City Solicitor Stephen Pagnotta addressed the City Council with the following statement indicating we must wait until legislation changes in order to act on those concerns.
“The Communication Act prevents local communities from raising health concerns insofar as FCC ASOS cell towers are concerned. The issue is that the city of Pittsfield does not have the authority to suspend that cell power license based on health concerns at the present time.”
“You would think that if the state had the ability to regulate and ban cell towers because they are a hazard they would have done so a while ago. The state has taken no action. The federal government has taken no action. You know, Congress could change the Communication Act to give local communities the power to do that. That’s been around since the ’80s or ’90s, and they’ve not done so. I’m not aware of any successful litigation in the country in which a cell tower was shut down by a local community or estate at this time.”
Does this reek of the tobacco industry? How about asbestos? Radium, leaded gasoline, thalidomide, PFAS chemicals, glyphosate? How long did it take for policy protections to catch up to the science in these cases?
Dr. Sharon Goldberg
Dr. Sharon Goldberg in her April 5, 2019 testimony to congress explains exactly what our Pittsfield neighborhood is going through.
“All the independent science comes to the same conclusion. We are not in a place that should be debating this anymore. This is the same thing as tobacco. The only people who are able to protect Americans are our legislators. We don’t have any relevant regulatory guidelines to protect human health. The FCC guidelines were developed for short term, 6 minute exposures…They have absolutely no connection with the actual biological effects. The health effects have been very clearly summarized… In academic medicine we have a name for what has happened with wireless communication…this called an untested application of a technology that we know is harmful.. In science, this is human subject research. This is very tightly regulated. You can’t just roll out some type of a research project on human beings without one, their informed consent so they understand the risks and benefits and two, you have the approval and that someone researched the science to show this is safe, but we have decades of evidence to show it is not safe.”
This is a video of Dr. Goldberg testifying in Michigan in 2018:
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MA Senator Edward Markey, Who Helped Create, and Who Protects Infrastructure Proliferation and Industry Entitlement$$$$ of the Telecom Act of 1996
Our own Massachusetts Senator, Ed Markey, when asked to address Section 704 of the Telecom Act allowing the health effects of RF radiation to be addressed, Senator Markey replied, “We need to act on it. It’s very important. I actually commissioned a study by the National Cancer Institute about 15, 20 years ago about the impact on wireless technology. What the study showed was that RF accelerates cancer formation. It speeds up the tumor growth of tumors already there. It’s very important study that we’d like to see and act on it. It’s important, thank you for bringing it to our attention.
The failure to have the science but not address the safety is nothing less than a crime. While Dr. Goldberg’s testimony and Senator Markey’s response is over three years old, government has known about these issues and has failed to protect us for much longer.
Mothers and grandmothers for well over 20 years have joined the ranks of pediatricians, scientists, doctors, epidemiologists, physicists and attorneys calling for right to know education and legislation.
I now join my voice with theirs. I pray my voice and my daughter Amelia’s voice, and all our voices will not fall on deaf ears.
The FCC is a “Captured Agency”
Before the tower, I was naive. I had never heard of a “captured agency” or knew that telecom defunded studies when results showed proof of RF harm. Transparency and accountability is coming because we are joining together, calling for it.
Just yesterday CNN reported that the Biden administration formally launches its Scientific Integrity Task Force to review the federal government’s scientific policies to ensure they are free from inappropriate political influence. I can only hope this extends to scientific integrity in the FCC, too.
After the tower, I have been bruised but I am also hopeful. Municipalities and local health departments have more power to protect the people than the FCC would like them to believe. Working together with the experts to understand what we can do, and should do to protect our children and vulnerable populations is a good place to start.
Instead of flowers for Mother’s Day this year, I want my children to not have to sleep with a vomiting bucket on their pillow. I want policy change to prevent towers from being placed where people live, school and play.
I hold my own children tighter, knowing too many mothers whose children’s lives have been touched by cancer, or who have lost their children from RF induced glioblastomas or death by suicide when the pain of RF radiation became too great.
This Mother’s Day, I join all the mothers and grandmothers and godmothers calling for RF safety education and legislation.
And this Mother’s Day, I want what my children want – to go home.
If legislators listen to the scientists and work together on this issue, by next Mother’s Day, that just may be possible.