ElectroMagnetic Sensitivity (EMS), also called electrical sensitivity (ES), electrical hypersensitivity (EHS), and radiation sickness, refers to a medical condition where people experience negative health effects from cell phones, WiFi, fluorescent lights, Smart Meters, 60 Hz electric and magnetic fields, etc. Health effects include heart palpitations, brain fog, sleep disorders, redness of the skin, and a wide variety of other symptoms. The symptoms may mimic thyroid problems or heavy metal poisoning. The condition resembles food intolerances (gluten, milk, shellfish, peanuts, etc.) in that a large majority of people experience no symptoms at all. For example, out of a hundred people, ninety nine may eat a bag of peanuts with no problem, but the hundredth may die. Society is slowly accepting this fact, and even starting to accommodate those with food intolerances. Travelers in Sweden, for example, will find the hotels providing a good variety of gluten free breads for the 3 percent of us who are gluten intolerant.
It is possible to perform certain medical tests and arrive at an 'official' medical diagnosis for some food intolerances, such as gluten. But most of us arrive at a diagnosis by a process of eliminating the possible offending food item from our diet for a period of days or weeks, and then challenging our body by eating the item. If the same symptoms appear every time, then we know to avoid that food item. In most cases, careful avoidance of offending foods allows a person to live a 'normal' life. Likewise, it appears that avoidance of certain electric or magnetic fields will allow those of us with EMS to live a relatively normal life.
Hundreds of papers have been published over the past five decades dealing with the negative health effects of electromagnetic fields, It is no longer a question of IF there are negative health effects, but rather how bad the effects are. In fact, there is a high probability that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) will be an issue in the future similar to that of asbestos, lead in paint, and lead in gasoline that society has dealt with in the past. Asbestos, lead in paint, and lead in gasoline all share the characteristic of technical superiority. An asbestos roofing panel has a lifetime measured in centuries or millennia (rather than decades). Lead in paint and lead in gasoline produce good products. But asbestos causes lung cancer and lead causes brain damage (among other things). Once these facts were accepted as facts by the majority, asbestos and lead were eliminated at great expense to society.
A similar pattern can be expected with EMF. Those who benefit from the many uses of electricity will fight against the acceptance of the facts about the negative health effects with great vigor. The fight will go on for years, even decades, until the majority accepts the reality of the facts. The longer the fight goes on, the more expensive it will be to fix the problem, and the more people will have been made ill unnecessarily.
Actually, it will not be feasible to eliminate all electromagnetic fields from our environment. Electricity is just too convenient to our modern society. Perhaps a better example than asbestos or lead would be the automobile. Use of the automobile causes thousands of deaths and injuries each year, but society has accepted these losses as part of the cost of enjoying the convenience of an automotive society. Strong efforts are made to improve the safety of the automobile and the quality of the highways while recognizing that large numbers will be killed in car accidents in spite of our best efforts.
Large segments of the population are just beginning to realize that electromagnetic fields really do cause some of us to be quite ill. Numbers of newspaper and magazine articles discussing the issue are multiplying rapidly. There are tepid recommendations (Limit your time on your cell phone!) There are cries for action (Let's petition against Smart Meters!) The victim card is played (How do I force the government to put me on disability?)
What Can Those With EMS Do?
There are several strategies that sensitives have used, in an effort to have a better quality of life. These include the following:
1. Health Improvement. Many sensitives have fillings that contain mercury in their teeth, so it is fairly common to have these replaced with nontoxic materials. Detoxification from mercury and other heavy metals is often pursued. Food supplements are consumed in abundance. For example, if the body temperature tends to be low, iodine is taken to support the proper thyroid function. Organic foods and water without chlorine or fluorine are recommended. The list of things to use or to avoid is very long!
2. Prudent avoidance. This would include using only land lines rather than cell phones, and not using wireless in the home. Incandescent lighting would be used rather than fluorescent. LED strip lighting operated from 12 or 24 VDC should be as good as incandescent lighting. Bottom-of-the-line automobiles (manual windows and doors, minimal electronics) would be purchased.
3. Relocation. Sensitives who are convinced that poor health is due to a new Smart Meter, a nearby cell phone tower, or even a neighbor's plasma TV will often look for another place to live, one with lower electromagnetic fields. The danger here is that the new place may acquire a new cell phone tower, making it just as bad as the old place. EMSRI is investigating ways of building new housing that greatly attenuates the indoor EMFs to where a sensitive can at least survive, if not thrive, in a house regardless of what happens in the neighborhood.
The present concept is for EMSRI to do funded research, similar to that done at the university level. Individuals with terminal degrees and research ideas should contact EMSRI for possible collaboration.
A parallel effort will be the building of a Sanctuary in Rockvale, Colorado, consisting of a guesthouse and eventually perhaps 15 to 20 rental cabins designed to both absorb and reflect electromagnetic waves, placed where the ambient fields are already quite low, where those with EHS can live for a time.