We must do all we can to raise awareness of the condition of electrosensitivity (ES) which is little understood by the general population and health professionals. This includes sharing experiences of ES with journalists. Faye Dobson is writing an article on ES and would like to hear from persons in the UK who could/would help (email@example.com). Martyn Halle, who writes on health for national newspapers, has approached ES-UK after reading the news about Michael Nield’s death. He hopes to publish a story about ES in the Mail on 11 November (firstname.lastname@example.org).
‘Zapping in head’ from mobiles led son to kill himself
by Jordan Day, Cambridge News, 6 November 2012
A university graduate committed suicide after a lengthy battle with a sensitivity to mobile phones, an inquest heard.
Oxford graduate Michael Nield suffered with electro sensitivity – the term used to describe someone who has an unhealthy sensitivity to a particular source of electricity.
In Michael’s case it was mobile phones and phone masts. He had to sleep with a microfibre tent over his bed to reduce the radiation.
He sometimes even had to wear a micromesh body suit when he was out, and his parents, Clive and Barbara, had to move from their home in Herefordshire to the small village of Wardy Hill, near Ely, where there was less exposure to mobiles and phone masts.
Barbara too suffers with the same sensitivity, although it is not as extreme.
On Sunday, June 3, 36-year-old Michael, who was living with his parents in Main Street, Wardy Hill, took his own life, William Morris, coroner for North and East Cambridgeshire, has ruled at an inquest.
Michael’s father found his body inside a car parked on a grass track near their home.
Michael, a gifted musician, had drunk a bottle of vodka and taken an overdose of tablets.
Speaking at the inquest, his mother, a volunteer at Ely Cathedral, said her son had “tried everything” to improve his quality of life.
She said: “Unless people have electro sensitivity they just don’t realise what sort of effects it has. He tried everything to get better. He sought help, he ate a specific diet and he tried so hard.”
She said he sometimes wore a micromesh suit or a hat with mesh to cover his face in a bid to keep phone radiation away.
She said: “He would just get constant zapping in his head. I know the feeling as I get it myself, although not on the level that Michael did.
“That’s why we moved to Wardy Hill as it’s so remote. He did still sleep with a microfibre tent over his bed though, which did help.
“We saw it as a positive step but looking back it was his way of making a last-ditch attempt to be normal and put his illness aside. But that was obviously something he couldn’t do.”
Sarah Dacre, a trustee of ElectroSensitivity UK, said: “It’s extremely upsetting to hear of Michael’s death. I knew him, having received a number of emails from him.
“Sadly the condition is not recognised by the NHS [National Health Service], but it is very real, and we get an average of one suicide a year among those on our books.”
Mystery over condition
The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines electrosensitivity and similar conditions as ‘symptoms that are experienced in proximity to, or during the use of, electrical equipment, and that result in varying degrees of discomfort or ill health in the individual and that an individual attributes to activation of electrical equipment”.
But the organisation adds that while patients suffer from real health problems “there is no known biological marker or any diagnostic test” for it.
WHO has also warned about using commercial products which claim to help reduce symptoms and against home measurement of signals, and says added psychological issues such as stress caused by the introduction of new technologies could be a causative factor.
Research into electrical sensitivity has been increasing in the past five years.
A spokesman for the charity ElectroSensitivity UK said its objective was to get ES recognised and find the best ways of easing it.
See www.es-uk and www.radiationresearch.org.