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29 December 2013

Switzerland: Testimony of Electrosensitivity

Sosthène Berger, with an electrosmog meter in his hand, struggles with
the fact of having to dress in this way the moment he sets foot outside
his home.  Photo:  Sandro Campardo
« I am living in hell, due to waves »
by Cléa Favre, Le Matin,
28 December 2013 (translated from French by the Editor of this blog)
[See Sosthène Berger's site:

Testimony – While France is on the point of creating a “white zone” to protect them, electrosensitive persons living in Switzerland often remain considered as crazy.

Sosthène Berger, 49, receives « Le Matin » in his garden in La Neuveville (Berne), where he spent his days between April and October 2011, only entering his house to take a shower and sleep. That year, the engineer discovered he was “electrosensitive”. Suddenly, Wi-Fi, cell phones, tablets and even the vacuum cleaner, drill and sewing machine made his existence hell. Since then, he lives in a “permanent building site” in order to better protect himself against electromagnetic waves.

For Sosthène Berger, it all started with repeated migraines that no medication could ease. Insomnia, cognitive disturbances, very strong ringing in the ears, malaises, heart palpitations and mood changes followed. One night, which the engineer spent for the nth time sleeplessly, his instinct made him take a mat down to the basement to sleep. He finally found rest in this shelter and began to suspect a correlation between his ills and electromagnetic waves.

Seven doctors consulted

At the same time, he consulted no less than seven doctors, one of whom recommended that he « seek help ». Full of hope, Sosthène Berger thus went to see a psychologist. Maybe he was in fact disturbed? In vain. The professional only encouraged him to accept the many things he had to give up which constituted his life: going out “disguised”, as he says, with glasses, hood and clothing made of silver fiber, and abandoning public transport, café terraces, eating out in restaurants together with his wife, and especially, the pride in attending year-end performances of his daughters, 8 and 11. Sosthène Berger has also lost friends for over 30 years who have begun to view him as an outsider, an enlightened being. Working independently, he is equally deprived of a contract with a company which hardly appreciated his change of appearance.

But he is keeping afloat, notably thanks to the support of his wife. With an electrosmog meter in his pocket, he has shielded the walls of his home to protect himself against the waves emitted by his neighbors. Each electric cable is also shielded for tens of thousands of francs. Sosthène Berger is looking for more to protect himself, hoping he will succeed in developing a certain resistance to waves.

While waiting, he feels abandoned. He has created his mini-white zone but has no financial support. “Nothing is reimbursed. They propose no treatment and they treat you like a crazy person”, he concludes bitterly, adding that his own father does not believe him.

No scientific basis

The Federal Office for Public Health stipulates that for now, there is no scientific basis linking the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity to exposure to electromagnetic fields. It therefore does not recognize this illness and the persons concerned cannot benefit from AI [disability insurance]. The World Health Organization shares this position and goes even further by asserting that “there are also some indications that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself”. Some countries have nevertheless recognized electrosensitivity as an illness. This is, for example, the case with Sweden. The position of France is also evolving, since it envisages creating a white zone in the Hautes-Alpes.

Original article in French:

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