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EMF Studies

20 February 2013

Testimony of Electrohypersensitivity: Velma, United Kingdom

Velma with her electro-sensor
Daily Mail article updated and reposted:

The United Kingdom lags far behind other countries in the world in recognizing the potentially harmful health effects of electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless technologies. Its Health Protection Agency acknowledges that the technology (mobile phones, antennas, Wi-Fi …) is basically safe, although it does warn about excessive use of mobile phones by children. The UK does not recognize the condition of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) which is on the rise. The medical profession is not keeping up with diagnosis and treatment of health conditions caused by new technologies. In the face of not knowing where to turn for help, people resort to protective measures which are in fact are only short-term solutions. Dr. George Carlo, an expert in the field, calls this a “tragedy”. “[Protective measures] are simply survival mechanisms. The long-term solution is building the internal adaptive capacity that enables those with ES to be like the rest of us - living our lives without the encumbrance of awful ES-triggered symptoms.”  ElectroSensitivity UK is a support group for those who suffer from EHS.

The article from the Daily Mail which follows is an updated version of the one published on 21 November 2012.

Woman, 51, spends up to 15 hours a day in a Faraday cage because she claims she is intolerant to modern technology
Daily Mail, 4 February 2013 (click here for full article with video).  The article is open for comments on the Daily Mail site.  Click here to read and add your comments:        Comments (119)

Velma made her own Faraday cage for £300 that she claims filters out pulsed electro-magnetic waves. 

Says she suffers agonising head and nerve pain, memory loss, tinnitus, ectopic heart beats, vertigo and aching joints if she goes near mobile phones, WiFi and satnavs.

Electrosensitivity is a controversial condition. HPA say there is no scientific evidence linking ill health with electrical equipment.

A woman spends up to 15 hours a day confined to a den, known as a Faraday cage, because she claims to have an intolerance to modern technology.

Velma, 51, says she finds it impossible to use a mobile phone, satnav or WiFi, because they emit pulsed microwave radiation.

She has to eat and sleep inside a homemade Faraday cage as she says this gives her relief from her symptoms.

She suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity intolerance syndrome (EHS) which means she cannot stand to be near pulsed electromagnetic fields.

Velma’s condition emerged with the arrival of 3G mobile phones, although she says a previous electric shock as a teenager may have made her more susceptible.

Velma, who has been unable to work since suffering from RSI and a compressed nerve on her spine, suffers agonising head and nerve pain, memory loss, tinnitus, ectopic heart beats, vertigo and aching joints if she goes near mobile phones, WIFI and satnav.

She is forced to spend much of each day in a makeshift Faraday cage in her flat in London. However, in the summer she takes the opportunity to escape to a park as she says this helps to earth her system.

Velma made the Faraday cage herself from off-cut material costing £300. A ready-made version would have cost her £800.

She claims metal fibres in the netting shield her from the microwave signals and stop her from suffering EHS symptoms.

She said: 'I can’t do anything that normal people do, like eating, reading, writing, studying, whilst being exposed to microwave signals without experiencing symptoms. It’s made my life a living hell.'

Velma worked as a secretary for a number of firms in the 1980s.

She said: 'Even back then I could feel a huge agitation when using the computer, but I thought it was just because I didn’t have the technological skills.

'Now I wonder if I was starting to experience the early symptoms of ES Electrosensitivity.

'I am studying at home whilst also undertaking training to become a Sound Therapist.

'I'm also looking to undertake a doctorate as I need to keep my brain active and I'm unable to work in a work or college environment.

'My friends are very supportive but there’s only so much time you can spend with the woman that can’t go anywhere or do anything.

'I used to love going to festivals and experiencing live music, but because everyone has a mobile I can’t even go near a gig now due to mobiles close to my head.

'The last gig I went to was Radiohead. I knew I was getting worse and wouldn’t be able to go to any more so I wanted to make it a good one.

'It’s so sad that I can no longer do the things I enjoy.'

Electrical Sensitivity, also known as Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Intolerance Syndrome, is a controversial condition that is recognised in Spain and Sweden but not in the UK.

Velma said: 'I’ve been to my GP countless times begging for tests, but GPs won't instigate the environmental tests needed. One neurological expert said there are people worse off than me and wouldn't help me. It is so frustrating that medicine isn’t keeping up with the technology.

'We desperately need a white zone - an area where there are low or no emissions - where we can go to relax and recuperate and detox.'

She added to Mail Online: 'There are hundreds of us in the UK suffering from this condition.

'It's not just me - and it could happen to anyone.'

Dr Erica Mallery-Blythe, who is a medical adviser for the charity ElectroSensitivity UK said: 'The symptoms of EHS can cover a broad range of systems, often start subtly and can be mistaken for other medical conditions.

'Adults and children today are exposed to very high levels of electromagnetic fields (EMF) that no life on the planet has ever witnessed before.

'It is no surprise that the numbers of those with EHS and other conditions linked with EMF exposure are rising.'

Dr George Carlo, from Washington, added: 'One of the tragedies is that folks use these approaches - cages, shades, necklaces - to try to protect themselves, but those are not long-term solutions.

'They are simply survival mechanisms. The long-term solution is building the internal adaptive capacity that enables those with ES to be like the rest of us - living our lives without the incumbrance of awful ES-triggered symptoms.'

In 2005, the Health Protection Agency said there was no scientific evidence to link their ill health with electrical equipment, although it said sufferers could have unpleasant symptoms. The review did not look at the impact of waves from phone masts.

However, in 2007 a double-blind study suggested electrosensitivity could be all in the mind. The research, published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, found people who thought they were electrosensitive experienced symptoms when they were placed near a mobile phone mast and told it was 'switched on'. When the tests were repeated with the volunteers not knowing whether the masts were switched on or off, there was no relationship between their symptoms and the phone signals.

Critics of the study said it only looked at short-term effects and used a fairly small sample size.

What is Sensitivity to Electromagnetic Waves?

Up to five per cent of the population believe they are affected by electrosensitivity and experience flu-like symptoms, headaches, lethargy and nausea when exposed to various appliances.

Electromagnetic waves are everywhere and we are constantly bombarded by them from space.

Although there is no evidence of any permanent damage to the body from electromagnetic waves, some people have reported that they feel unwell when they are within reach of WiFi or mobile phone masts.

WiFi waves are higher in frequency than mobile phones and are intense due to the amount of info they carry.

Electrosensitivity is not recognised as a disability or a medical condition in the UK. The Health Protection Agency say there is no scientific evidence linking ill health with electrical equipment, although it recognises people do report real and distressing symptoms.

Many medics are sceptical about electromagnetic hypersensitivity syndrome as a result, althoughsome like Dr Mallery-Blythe think it is a real condition. The charity ElectroSensitivity UK is a support group for those who believe they suffer from it.

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