Healthy Housing Research Institute

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. My own story of a lifetime of dealing with these things is in MyEHS.pdf.

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 is good, except that it is being phased out by government edict. Fluorescent lighting is bad. Some of the new LED bulbs look promising as replacements for incandescent bulbs, including the Phillips 100W and the ACE 100W. Other LED bulbs are as bad or worse than fluorescent bulbs, so one needs to do appropriate testing. LED strip lighting operated from well filtered 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. This Institute 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.

4. Detox Vacation. After I finish building and testing a structure, there will be space available for someone to stay for a week or two. The space will probably resemble a monk's cell more than a fine motel. There might not be much more than a table, a chair, and an air mattress. A composting toilet and a refrigerator will be located the other side of the building, and a shower, stove, and TV in the building next door. There is a very low EMF gulch nearby for hiking or just reading a book. You are not feeling well and suspect an electromagnetic culprit. But at least part of the problem might be a food or drink intolerance, or a reaction to some vitamin or supplement you are taking. See my testimony MyEHS.pdf for some of my history with food, drink, and supplements. You start your visit with a near total fast from electrical devices. No TV, no Internet, no cell phone, no Facebook. Turn your cell phone off and lock it in the trunk of your car. Bring in enough food that you don't have to leave the property for several days. You continue with normal food and supplements for two or three days, while effects of the trip and altitude change wear off. You then start cutting back on supplements and drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda. Allow for a day or two of withdrawal symptoms after each change. Stay on the reduced levels of supplements and drinks when you go back to your old environment, at least for a couple of weeks. Then start adjusting supplement and drink levels slowly (zero or one item per day). Two weeks of Detox Vacation would be better than one week, but even after a week you will have some important information about yourself. Does the high desert and juniper `forest' of southern Colorado agree with you? Is the electromagnetic soup of your normal environment the main problem with your health, or are there other issues? Are you intolerant to some of the supplements you have been taking?