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EMF Studies

15 September 2012

Living with Electrosensitivity


Recently, an award-winning investigative Canadian journalist, Kim Goldberg, invited EHS persons to share their experiences living with this condition.  She is specifically interested in strategies for reducing electromagnetic radiation in one's life and home to protect one's health.  I decided to share my experience as someone who is becoming electrosensitive because I believe our experiences should also be heard. I have written about this in other posts and apologize for repetition.   (Contact:  Kim Goldberg at goldberg@ncf.ca)

Living with Electrosensitivity
I live in Geneva, Switzerland, where Wi-Fi is found in many of the cities’ parks, libraries and hospitals (even in rooms in the children’s hospital).  The city is saturated with mobile phone antennas.  Two of the major mobile operators are planning to install at least 700 new antennas across Switzerland, to meet the demands of smartphone users, avid for access to ever more data at faster speeds, and to prevent saturation of the networks.  There is talk of making Wi-Fi available on public transport in Geneva, as is the case in other major Swiss cities.  Wi-Fi exists on many postal buses and will soon be installed in trains.  Most of the major hotels in alpine resorts have Wi-Fi.

I am becoming more and more sensitive to electrosmog.  For the last several years, I have been unable to sleep properly, waking up suddenly in the middle of the night with a pounding heart and then unable to fall back to sleep.  Sometimes my head shakes.  One health professional thought I may have Parkinson’s, another, a chemical sensitivity.  I feel I am under constant stress.  Often, I am tired and notice that I leave out words when writing letters by hand.  The shaking is worse in the homes of friends who have Wi-Fi.   In my sister-in-law’s house, where there is a DECT phone, I ache all over.  I recently spent a month in a mountain village where all the hotels are equipped with Wi-Fi.  I had difficulty sleeping the entire time. I felt much better outside in the woods.  In the arrivals area of the international terminal at JKF airport, I feel enormous pressure inside my head from all the persons using their mobile phones.  I experience a similar feeling in buses where there is heavy mobile phone use and in libraries equipped with Wi-Fi.  I seek out the “quiet cars” on Swiss trains where passengers are not allowed to talk on their cell phones – but they still do!
My apartment in the city of Geneva is situated directly across from a building which has two antennas on its roof:  GSM and UMTS.   I have always had a fixed telephone and wired Internet access for my computer.  I have never owned a mobile phone.   Recently, an EMF expert, who had helped measure the levels of EM radiation in the national library of Paris (leading to its removal), affirmed that there was radiation coming from neighbors’ cordless DECT phones and Wi-Fi, particularly the ones living below me.  He advised me to lay sheets of aluminum beneath the carpets where EMR levels were highest:  my bed and dining-room area where I work on the computer.  This has allowed me to immediately drop off to sleep at night.  Radiation from the antennas, however, is reflecting off the metal shutters of the apartment building behind me and entering my bedroom.  I still wake up in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep.  Buying special curtains to shield the radiation may help.  I also have an anti-radiation sphere which I place near me when I sleep.  I take anti-oxidants.  My hope is to find a studio in the mountains for six months of the year where there is no Wi-Fi and little electrosmog.
Another way to mitigate the stress from electrosensitivity is to become involved in an advocacy.  I am an active member of a group advocating for safer wireless in Switzerland and am communicating with a doctor who is responsible for diagnosis and treatment of electrosensitivity in the group, Physicians for the Environment (MfE – 1,500 doctors in Switzerland), sharing my experiences of this condition.  She does not quite understand EHS because she has said to me that maybe my symptoms stem from “psycho-social” causes.  I cannot discuss my condition with my generalist, who sees wireless technology only in terms of its social implications.  She has suggested I see a neurologist, but he/she would surely not have a clue about electrosensitivity.  There is no conventional doctor in Geneva trained to diagnose and treat this condition. According to MfE, there are only two in the whole of Suisse Romande capable of doing so.  With no doctors to help us, we have to figure out “treatment” for ourselves:  limiting exposure, studying the medical documents on EHS (e.g. Austrian Guidelines, Professor Belpomme’s clinical research) for clues to which supplements to take and other ways to alleviate stress and suffering.  Most of my family and friends, who use wireless technology, do not believe that it can adversely affect one’s health.

by Meris Michaels

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