Here is the full transcript of the interview. See also the article on Dafna's blog: "Breakthrough for EHS in Israel".
Transcript of Interview of Yael Dan with Dafna Tachover:
Yael: Apparently, more than a few people are suffering from sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation. While the number of people who suffer from it is uncertain, those who are suffering from it are forced to live in isolation, far away from antennas, cell phones, laptops or wireless Internet because they are all causing severe and intolerable symptoms. Attorney Dafna Tachover lives in an isolated house in the mountains of a natural reserve in northern NY, and we are waking her up in the middle of the night, but she would wake up at any time that we ask her because it is important to her that people become aware of the condition, and that society accommodates those people who suffer from it, allowing them to live. Smadar Shir presented her story in the weekend issue of Yediot Aharonot.
Hello Attorney Dafna Tachover.
Dafna: Good morning Yael.
Yael: I apologize for the hour; I truly apologize for the hour.
Dafna: No problem, as you said, I would get up at any time for this.
Yael: Please tell me approximately when did you discover that you were sick?
Dafna: It started on July 19th, 2009. Until then I did not think about the dangers of radiation. I had 2 cell phones, I did not have a landline, I had a cellular connection to my laptop so I would be able to work from anywhere on the Internet, and I worked with it for 14 hours a day.
Yael: And how old are you? More or less?
Dafna: I am 39.
Yael: And then you discovered what?
Dafna: One day I went to purchase a new laptop and when I started working with it, weird things started to happen. I started feeling tingling in my feet and hands. I assumed that the computer was defective and thought to myself, “No big deal, I’ll return it tomorrow and get a new one.” The next day I exchanged the laptop and the second laptop was also “defective” and again, weird symptoms started to appear.
Yael: Wait a moment, can you please repeat the symptoms you were experiencing, because I missed part of your answer. What did you feel?
Dafna: I felt that I couldn’t breathe, my heart was beating strongly, I felt that I couldn’t think, as if someone put a freeze on my brain. My husband would talk to me and I wouldn’t understand what he was saying to me. When he told me something, after a few seconds, I forgot what he had said. I felt as if someone was choking me, that I couldn’t breathe, my face became hot and I got hot flashes all over my body, very difficult and weird sensations. When I moved away from the laptop I was OK, but when I came back to the computer, the symptoms started again. Then suddenly I also could not touch my cell phone; I was unable even to hold it in my hand.
Yael: What phone are you using to talk to us?
Dafna: I am using a landline, it is about 40 cm away from me and I can use it only with the speaker.
Yael: So you cannot put even a regular phone by your ear?
Dafna, Yes, I cannot put anything by my ears. If I put anything near my ear I feel as if someone is drilling in my brain.
Yael: So I guess a cell phone is out of the question?
Yael: How is this new discovery affecting you?
Dafna: You mean what happens when you discover that suddenly you cannot live in our wireless world? If you are sensitive to the wireless world and you do not have a place to live and you do not have a place to sleep? By the way, sleeping problems are very common. People with EHS just cannot sleep in a place with radiation.
Yael: You do not have a computer at home?
Dafna: Now I can use a computer. I have a desktop, but it is not connected with a wireless router to the Internet, but with a wired Internet connection. The computer is far away from me. For two years I could not touch the computer but now I am feeling better as I removed myself from an environment with radiation, so my body is slowly, slowly, getting better. I cannot work on the computer all day and not all the time. There are days that I get up in the morning and just can’t touch the computer. But generally, now I can use a computer, but there are many people with EHS who cannot.
Yael: Every electronic appliance is causing you the same sensations?
Dafna: Not every electric appliance and not all the time. But it is known that once you have the condition, and usually you get it from wireless radiation, you also become sensitive to what we call low frequencies, which includes home appliances. For example, I have severe problems with the refrigerator, and the computer of course as I said, must be far away. When I was very sick, I was even unable to tolerate light but now I am ok. When you get this condition, your life becomes impossible.
Yael: Does this condition have a name?
Dafna: It has many names – “Intolerance to electromagnetic fields” – in English it is called Electromagnetic Hyper Sensitivity, or EHS. It is important for me to emphasize that it is not sensitivity. It is the body’s intolerance to radiation. The human body is not suitable to endure this radiation. It is not a disease; it is the radiation that harmed my body.
Yael: So is it the radiation that caused this condition, or that you had an inherent sensitivity?
Dafna: It is the radiation that harmed my body. The human body is not suited for this radiation. I can feel radiation that is a million times lower than the current standards, which means that while I can sense the radiation, every human body is also affected by the radiation. The difference between me and those who have not gotten sick yet is that I can sense it while they cannot.
Yael: Did it take a long time until you received the diagnosis? I understand that you replaced a few computers and eventually you were told the name of the condition. How do you respond to such news – that you cannot live in this world?
Dafna: Everything you said is correct. When the symptoms started to appear, it was clear to me that it had something to do with electricity and wireless. Within 3 weeks, I exchanged 5 laptops. It took 5 months and 10 unhelpful doctors before I understood that what I was experiencing is a known condition and that it has a name.
Yael: You still did not give me a name to the condition. You told me that there are a few.
Dafna: Intolerance to electromagnetic radiation.
Yael: Can you shorten it?
Yael: OK, EHS.
Yael: What did you learn about this condition? Who are the people who get it and what is its prevalence?
Dafna: Various studies show a prevalence of between 3-19%.
Yael: It is impossible, after all it is the first time I am hearing about this condition.
Dafna: This is also what I thought, but then I understood why: I saw how people with EHS live in their cars and in the woods and they cannot speak up and their condition is being denied and when they go to doctors the doctors say that it is psychological and mental which is absolutely ridiculous, or that they are being told that they are afraid of technology.
Yael: This is what they told you? That you are suffering from a mental condition?
Dafna: No, I was not told that I suffer from a mental condition. Actually the first doctor I went to was a cardiologist, and she told me that she gets nauseated when she uses her laptop. One ignorant doctor told me that maybe I should consider seeing a psychiatrist. The problem is that doctors do not understand the EMF topic and, like with anything else nowadays, when you go to the doctor and he does not know what it is, he tells you that it is mental, or psychological. It is very disturbing because many people are suffering from symptoms and they do not know that their headaches and heart palpitations and many other symptoms are caused by the radiation, while if they would be told about it, very quickly they would be able to protect themselves and to check whether or not it is the radiation that is causing their symptoms.
Yael: So what you are saying is that you and those like you live in complete isolation without electronic gadgets and some even live in the car?
Dafna: I lived in my car for 7 months.
Yael: What do you mean?
Dafna: I lived in my car for 7 months; I could not be anywhere so I lived in my car. I could not be in the house or anywhere else for that matter so I lived in my car.
Yael: It cost you your marriage.
Dafna: It cost me in my marriage, my ability to have children. It destroyed my life.
Yael: You live alone, completely alone in the woods?
Dafna: Yep, in the middle of the woods. Me and the bears. (laughing)
Dafna: Yes, Alone.
Yael: You are not afraid at night?
Dafna: When you have no choice, you adjust to things that you never would have thought that you would be able to.
Yael: What contact do you have with the world?
Dafna: Telephone and Internet, that is, when I can work on the computer.
Yael: I understand that you are an extreme case and there are various levels of sensitivities, and you are saying that many are sick.
Dafna: Correct. There are various levels of sensitivities. I am very sensitive and I can detect WIFI from a distance of 100 meters. As weird as it may sound, and there are many witnesses, I can even detect planes as I feel their radar. But there are people with much less sensitivity, and they might only get a headache and they might be able to be in a place with WIFI for a few hours.
Yael: You cannot be in places with WIFI and you probably cannot go to a restaurant or go anywhere…
Dafna: I cannot even go in the street. I go to the supermarket once a month. But there were times that I was even unable to pass through the supermarket door.
Yael: Did you think of coming back to Israel? Not that we have anything to offer you here!
Dafna: Immediately after I got this condition, I wanted to go back to Israel – I wanted to check whether I would feel better in Israel. But the first day in Israel was also the first time that I noticed that I am reacting to antennas. I drove to Ashdod, and suddenly I was unable to hold the wheel and I had extreme pain in my head. I lifted my head and I saw these white strips on top of the mall. I asked my mother what they were and she said that they were the cell phones antennas. I had tears in my eyes and all I could say was, ‘For God’s sake, there are children here.” Since that day my life is gone. My body actually collapsed from the level of radiation in Israel. At my parents’ apartment I lived on the floor. I was lying in bed with unbearable pains and all I wanted was just to die. I am not exaggerating. I always was an athlete, I am a strong woman who does not take medications and suddenly I have such intense pains that I cannot even describe. I remember I heard my father telling my mother that he doesn’t think that they would see me in Israel again. It was very painful to hear it.
Yael: They are coming to visit you?
Dafna: Yes, when I needed to find a house my father came to help me, as I cannot drive on the roads. It is an impossible situation – out of the 500 houses that we checked, we found only one house that I could tolerate.
Yael: What you are actually saying is that this is a condition that happens suddenly, that you are not born with it. So who gets it? Who are the people destined to get it?
Dafna: What people don’t know is that a research study has been going on that is looking for physiological markers for this condition. A few scientists, including the Nobel Prize winner for the discovery of the HIV virus, are conducting the research. The research exposed shocking results. After checking about 1000 people with EHS, they discovered that the blood-brain barrier was breached. It means that the barrier that prevents toxins from getting into the brain was breached. What is disturbing about it, is that since the 80’s it has been known that this radiation can breach the BBB and this knowledge is actually used to damage the BBB of people with brain cancer so chemotherapy can get to the brain. There are about 20 research papers showing that radiation can breach the barrier.
Yael: What do you want to tell us? What is important for you to say? I am sure that anyone who is listening is very touched by this conversation with you. What do you want to tell us?
Dafna: If, before I got this condition, I knew what I know now, I would have never touched this technology. I wish I knew that all I had to do was to go to the Internet and check, but like everyone else, I didn’t, and now my life is ruined. So what I want to tell to the listeners is go to the Internet, check the facts and if someone tells you that this technology is not harmful, check how much money he is getting from the industry. There is absolutely no doubt that this technology is harmful, very harmful. Most importantly – do not allow the Ministry of Education to install WIFI in your children’s school. Do not allow your children to use smart phones or iPads. I do not want to use too extreme words but this technology is killing you and your children.
Yael: Do you understand that you are a lonely voice in this darkness?
Dafna: I am not a lonely voice. Following the article in Yediot, in one day more than 500 people read the article in my blog, I got many responses from people in Israel that until today did not admit to the condition. They called us. I know a computer teacher in Israel that suffers from EHS who is sick and lives in her car. Parents whose children started having symptoms after WIFI was installed in their school approached me. People don’t talk about it. A few days ago, my sister called me and told me that she has a friend that is having the exact symptoms that I had, and she has been going from one doctor to another and does not understand what is going on. I know an aviation engineer who a few weeks ago decided not to hide his EHS and discovered that 2 of his best friends also suffer from EHS.
Yael: I promise you that I am going to lift the glove, to reach people in Israel and to raise awareness to this condition. Thank you very much and we will be in touch with you.
Dafna: Thank you very much for creating awareness.
Yael: Thank you.
Yael : We will be happy if listeners call us and share your stories…we will bring your story to light.
20 minutes after the interview:
Yael: We spoke to Dafna Tachover who lives in isolation, in an isolated house in the middle of the woods in NY, because of her sensitivity to electromagnetic fields, a condition that is called EHS. Many people called us to tell us that they also suffer from this condition and we are taking it upon ourselves to learn about the condition, to investigate it and to present your stories, as we should. We are going to do so in the coming days, weeks and months.