CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Robert and Maria Goodman have lived in their home at the intersection of Pepper Mill and Ridge Stone Drive in Corpus Christi for almost 13 years.
“It’s been wonderful," Robert said. "We have great neighbors, a great neighborhood, nice quiet neighborhood, no problems to speak of of any magnitude — until recently."
AT&T recently put up a new 5G cell phone tower across the street.
It sits on a utility pole approximately 20 feet off the ground — level with the second floors of two-story homes in the area.
The Goodmans' home is one of the closest to the pole, and they claim that the emissions from the tower are making them sick.
“People around here, we’ve been noticing — including my wife and myself — have been experiencing headaches since they’ve energized this antenna — some weakness, fatigue, insomnia, and other neurologic symptoms," Robert said.
Other neighbors make similar claims, but the Goodmans' next-door neighbor isn't one of them. Instead, Chris Craig worries about possible problems in the future.
“My concern is, I have a 12-year-old daughter, and her bedroom is directly behind us about equidistant height from the tower itself," he said. "So we started worrying about health conditions in the long run."
AT&T refused a request to be interviewed for this story, but the company did release a statement in response to an email we sent containing numerous questions.
"The small cell antenna has been placed at the location and height to provide the best service and coverage for our customers in south Corpus Christi," the statement read. "When determining locations for small cell sites, we work with city officials to find locations that balance the needs of our business and those of the community. We follow radio frequency exposure limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). In fact, exposure to the general public from our small cell facilities is significantly below conservative FCC limits."
Lots of people, including the Goodmans and Craig, have spoken out about their concerns during the public comment section of Corpus Christi City Council meetings.
Gil Hernandez, the councilman for their district, encourages them to continue doing so.
He believes the more attention the issue receives, the more likely AT&T will be to move, or at least raise, the cell tower while still meeting the company's needs.
But when it comes to the possibility that the tower could be causing health problems, the research on the new technology is limited.
“I don’t know what the safety levels are, because it’s 5G," he said. "It’s a different type of radiation. Plus, this is the first time it’s 20-feet off the ground in a neighborhood. So we don’t know all the ins and outs of that, and I’m not going to try and pretend that I know."
The Goodmans do know one thing for certain — they want the cell tower gone and quickly.
“Immediately remove this antenna from our area," Maria exclaimed.