Port Franks woman ill, flees home after cell tower activated
Laureen Maurizio wasn’t told Bell Mobility powered up its new cell tower at the Port Franks marina but she knew as soon as she drove into the village.
Maurizio was diagnosed as electromagnetic sensitive several years ago when smart meters were installed in her house. She moved to Port Franks to her family’s home where she wasn’t bothered until March 21.
That’s when Bell Mobility activated the cell tower which has been the source of controversy in Lambton Shores for months. Maurizio was driving back into Port Franks when she first noticed a difference. “I reached the first curve on Port Franks Road, just before the community center and I started to feel I was driving into a black shroud…the air got heavy and oppressive.”
Inside her home, just 350 meters from the tower, Maurizio says she could “feel the electricity.” She says she was quickly overcome by familiar symptoms.
“It felt like someone shoved a knife that had been heated from one temple to the other,” she says. “It felt like there was a metal band around my head that felt like it was being tightened.”
Maurizio retreated to her basement where at least the stabbing pain eased. By morning, two friends came to her home and urged her to leave. Maurizio is now staying with one of the friends, about 1.2 kilometers from the tower. She says her symptoms have eased, but she is still feeling the effects of the radio frequency waves.
And she says seven other people in Port Franks have called her saying they are having a range of problems from sleeplessness to ringing in the ears. She’s also received calls from nine Southcott Pine residents where Bell recently has activated another tower.
Maurizio says a building biologist visited her home and measured radiation levels and found them to be extremely high.
Bell Mobility spokesman Albert Lee confirmed in an email the towers had been activated. “To meet growing customer demand for improved mobile phone service, we did activate a site at Port Franks at the end of March, which previously had no coverage whatsoever. We have heard from a handful of people in regards to this site,” says Lee. “The site at Port Franks, like all of our sites, meets or exceeds all health and safety guidelines as set out by Industry Canada and Health Canada.”
Maurizio says she spoke to Bell officials who told her they wouldn’t be making any changes to the tower to help ease her symptoms.
Maurizio has hired a lawyer and is considering an appeal to the Ontario Human Rights Commission saying her rights are being violated because she can’t enjoy her own home “free from harm.”
And she says others in Port Franks are interested in legal action as well.
For now Maurizio says she will stay with friends in Port Franks even though she’s feeling the effects of the cell tower’s radiation. “I still spend more time in the basement where it is partially underground as opposed to being on the main floor or the upper floor,” she says adding all the electricity in the house is turned off at night to allow her to sleep. “It’s not perfect.”
– Heather Wright