Electrohypersensitivity

Gro Harlem Brundtland
Photo: Harry Wad

Imagine being Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and being so hypersensitive to the electromagnetic radiation of cellphones that you cannot tolerate being within four meters of one that is switched on.

Such was the predicament of Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minster of Norway for three terms, a trained medical doctor, Master of Public Health graduate from Harvard University, and Director-General of WHO from 1998 to 2003. Her staff and any journalists interviewing her were required to switch their phones off whenever they were near her to avoid triggering the debilitating nausea and headaches she experienced when exposed to WiFi.

Hers is the most high profile example of electrohypersensitivity (EHS), but by no means the first. A Swedish telecommunications engineer, whose symptoms started in 1979, is thought to be the earliest known case, and others emerged in the early 1980s. Current estimates are that somewhere between 1.5 to 10 percent of the world’s population now experiences mild to severe EHS symptoms that include headaches, nausea, heart palpitations, dizziness, insomnia, concentration difficulties, short and long-term memory impairment, earaches, tinnitus, anxiety attacks and depression, all resulting from exposure to electromagnetic radiation.

Sweden, as in most matters relating to electromagnetic (EMF) health, leads the way. EHS is recognised in Sweden as a disability, and a number of hospitals have special low-EMF rooms designed for EHS patients. In Stockholm, people with EHS can apply to have their home shielded from microwave radiation and have the internal wiring replaced by shielded cables, and the Municipality of Stockholm also has low-radiation cottages located outside the city that they can rent. By law, employers are required to take steps to lower EMFs in the work environment for EHS people, by installing low-EMF equipment and removing sources of high EMFs such as cordless phones, wireless equipment and fluorescent lights.

EHS Refuge Zones have so far been set up in France, Italy and West Virginia, USA, and concerns about WiFi have been raised in many countries. The Council of Europe passed a milestone resolution on 6 May 2011 calling for member governments to radically reduce human exposure to electromagnetic and wireless radiation, and to impose a ban on the use of mobile phones (cellphones), DECT cordless phones, WiFi and wLAN systems in all classrooms and schools.

But with wireless devices becoming more and more commonplace, some experts are predicting that by 2017, as much as 50% of the world’s population may become electrosensitive to a greater or lesser degree.

Which begs a very interesting question.

If half the population becomes affected, it won’t be so clear which half is ‘normal’ and which half is ‘disabled’. What if it turns out that the people who can already feel the effects of EMFs have normal levels of sensitivity, and the rest of the population is too numbed out to feel it yet? If you doubt me, try cutting out all sugar, junk food, caffeine, alcohol, medications and other stimulants and suppressants, and you’ll soon start feeling energies (and emotions) you weren’t able to feel before.

Of course it’s not quite as clear cut as this. Some people have such a robust constitution that they can withstand far more electromagnetic radiation than others. But as levels of exposure increase, I predict they will start to feel it too.

Related articles
Electromagnetic protection devices
Why people love cellphones

Copyright © Karen Kingston 2012


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6 Responses to Electrohypersensitivity

  1. Layla Ezzedeen says:

    I wonder what would replace Wi Fi… What do you think of fiber optics?
    Cell phones are so practical, though. They are a really efficient way of managing affairs.

  2. Lesley says:

    Last fall, I noticed my beloved cat, Punky, was spending a lot of time lounging on the stereo, which looked kind of funny (though it wouldn’t now that I know better…), since he was a very long cat and really had to scrunch up to fit on top. One time he accidentally set off the alarm clock (I should have taken this as a sign…), so I unplugged the stereo for awhile. (That was a good move on my part and I wish I had left it that way. ) Another time, just as I was going to sleep I heard music start to play. At first I thought it was one of the neighbors having a party, then I recognized it as one of the CDs I had just played during yoga class and thought, “oh, I guess Punky is serenading me,” as I drifted off to sleep.

    Then in late December as I was learning about EMF radiation, I caught a statistic that animals living inside have a much higher incidence of lymphoma. This caught my attention, since I am such an animal lover. A couple of days later, I noticed that Punky was lethargic and took him to the vet where she found that all of his lymph nodes were severely swollen, diagnosed him with advanced stage lymphoma and gave him about a week to live. As it turned out, he passed the next day. This was such a shock to me. He had always been an extremely robust kitty and in fact had been in for a dental just a few weeks earlier at which time his blood work and physical indicated he was in excellent health.

    Shortly after that, I learned how to use a gaussmeter and when I set it for EMR and put it near the stereo the dial immediately swung all the way over to the toxic level side! It’s too late to save Punky, but I’m sharing this in the hopes it may help other furry friends.

  3. Sandra says:

    Hi Karen,
    Do you know anything about the ‘SafeSpace I’ device? I need to buy something as I live in an apartment block where everyone has their personal wifi device and a lot of appliances. The place drives me crazy but I’ve been finding it hard to find another one.

    http://www.safespaceprotection.com/products/emf-protection-home-office-safespace_i.aspx

    • I wrote a blog about electromagnetic protection devices a while ago.

      The one you mention is not one I’ve personally tested but if you ask me whether I’d trust my own health with it, my answer is – no way! If you own your apartment, I suggest you look into Yshield paint as a solution.

      But before you rush to spend money on fixing problems you don’t know for sure you have, first get yourself some meters that measure ELF and microwave radiation so that you will know what levels you are being exposed to at different times of the day and night. From this you may discover that there are areas of your home that are fine, and if you can rearrange your furniture (bed, desk, sofa, etc) so that you spend most of your time in these areas, that may be all you’ll need to do.

      • Sandra says:

        Thanks for your advice. I haven’t heard about the paint before. I’m renting at the moment but it is something I would use eventually. Those meters are quite expensive though.

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