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IPFS News Link • Communications

Massachusetts Town Gives Up Fight Against Verizon Cell Tower That Residents Allege Caused Illness

• By Children's Health Defense Team

Verizon Wireless will not have to remove or relocate its cell tower in the "Shacktown" section of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, after the Pittsfield Board of Health last week voted behind closed doors to rescind its cease-and-desist order against Verizon.

The vote ended a months-long standoff between Pittsfield residents, who identified the tower as the source of multiple illnesses, and Verizon affiliate Pittsfield Cellular Telephone, which last month sued the city and board of health in a bid to overturn the order.

The board's move to rescind the cease-and-desist order, though not entirely unexpected, came as a blow to 17 residents who said the Verizon tower that was activated in the midst of their neighborhood in March 2020 caused them to become sick.

Lawyers representing six of the city's affected residents filed an intervention on May 25 to defend the board's order — the first such cease-and-desist order against a major wireless carrier ever issued in the U.S.

Pittsfield Board of Health Chair Bobbie Orsi said during last week's meeting the board wanted to help the residents, but that litigation was not the process that was going to help them resolve the "issues" at the present time.

Orsi did not elaborate on what the board thought would help resolve the illnesses — some of them classified as significant diseases — experienced by neighbors who live as close as 300 feet from the cell tower.

Once the tower was activated residents reported difficulties sleeping through the night if they could get to sleep at all. They said they were plagued with headaches, vertigo, nausea, brain fog and skin rashes.