By Giles – [email protected]
Until last summer I was, like most people nowadays, very fond of all my modern communication gadgets from wifi to mobile, from Palm to laptops and all their advantages.
From 2006 onwards I went several times to see a doctor for heart palpitations, but they couldn?t find anything wrong with me.
Then in July 2008 I suddenly started experiencing dizziness on numerous occasions, till it got so bad one night, suffering even from speech problems, that I ended up in A&E thinking I had a stroke or heart attack; in the following weeks I underwent many tests. The results showed I was absolutely fine, but the symptoms stayed. The doctors told me I just had been stressed, but the thing is I wasn’t stressed at all prior to this.
To my own shock and confusion I realized that my dizziness always occurred, when I was in close vicinity to Wifi, mobiles, Blackberries and mobile masts.
Other symptoms added themselves to the list: excessive sweating during the night, memory and concentration problems, a pain in my head, and discomfort either side of my neck [ glands ] pins and needles in my hands, a feeling of being static (I gave people electric shocks in that early period, when I shook their hands), prickly skin and even skin rashes. The latter, when I was sitting in front of my computer or the tv. Even certain light sources (energy saving light bulbs and neon lights) caused the skin problem to occur.
After medical professionals weren’t able to help, I started my own research and found many websites and blogs by people, with exactly the same problems as mine. They are sufferers of electro-sensitivity (ES), a condition fully recognized in Canada and Sweden as a medical impairment (with 300.000 sufferers in Sweden alone) but unfortunately ridiculed in the UK. I had never heard of it (this to show I am not a hypochondriac), but once I realized that this was the source of my problems, I started clearing my home environment from Wifi, DECT phones and non-essential electrical items. My problems immediately started to get noticeably better.
Since I am suffering from this condition, I have spoken to many people about it and even if not everyone has fully blown symptoms of ES, I have encountered many people who have some of the described symptoms.
So the problem might lie on a bigger scale than the assumed 3-5% of sufferers worldwide. This is the main reason of me contacting you, as I have the feeling that more awareness needs to be raised, as many many people suffer of a small portion of ES symptoms. Especially prevalent seems the following:
Most men carry their mobile in their jacket or trousers for easy access. I used to carry mine in my motorbike jacket’s front left pocket. When I stopped doing that the unexplained palpitations I suffered from for 2 years vanished immediately.
In conversations with friends, colleagues and fellow bikers I heard that many of them experience similar symptoms like pain or tremors in the chest area or what the American media refers to as ?phantom text messages?. Every now and then I’d think I had a text message, when carrying my phone in my trouser pockets, but when I checked there was nothing there.
According to Swedish scientist and ES expert Olle Johansson this is caused by high intensity bursts of extremely-low frequency electromagnetic field charges that your phone is producing and (that are) affecting your nervous system.
This seems to affect mainly men, as men are more likely to carry their phone on their body than women, who mainly carry them in their handbags.
Of course I don’t know, if carrying your mobile is a cause of ES or if these phantom text messages are just another symptom and the causes could lie somewhere else, like problems with your immune system for example, which could to make you more susceptible to all the electromagnetic radiation around us, but in any case I guess it can’t be good to have heart palpitations.
I know: I have heard every joke about vibrating pockets and have been many times referred to Ben Goldacre’s Bad Science column. There are definitely pseudo-scientists out there making a lot of money from scaremongering, but we have to distinguish between those and the victims in all this.
Retrospectively I am convinced that my heart palpitations were an early warning sign for what was happening later on. I might have been able to avoid to come to down with electro-sensitivity, if I had known more about it. And believe me: ES is not an easy thing to live with.
During all this happening I thought for a short period of time, that it might just be my ancient phone causing trouble, so I opted for an iphone, but that just made things far worse, which brings me to another issue of widespread problems nobody seems willing to be talking about.
Now I know that the radiation emitted from an iphone/ Blackberry is far higher than the one of my old Nokia. (Measured in SAR ratings: iphone a whopping 2.0, the ancient Nokia a mere 0.57) In the US for example the guidelines are much tighter, the iphone on the market there has a lower rating.
Since then I have spoken to many proud owners of their Powerful 3G Phones.
Many of them experience sleep problems (most of them seem to wake up in the early hours of the morning (around 4.30 am) and find it difficult to get back to sleep) and/ or feel ill. Even though some of them admitted, that their problems started shortly after acquiring their new gadget, they are of course unwilling to put two and two together. As I was when it all started happening to me.
Our fast communication tools are just so wonderfully ‘BANNED WORD’, that we are very reluctant to think, there might be a problem.
And I’m not talking about some weird conspiracy theory. Just the reluctance to let go of something making our lives so much easier. But maybe the price we are all paying on the long run will be too high?
Even though it should be said, that of course the revenue of the communications industry is vast.
But smoking used to be a relaxing pastime, didn’t it?
If you are still sceptical, while reading this, maybe you can suspend your disbelief and convey an easy test: Maybe ask around in your office, if people are experiencing sleep problems and/ or the phantom text messages? Maybe ask willing participants to switch off their mobile and Wifi during the night, remove the DECT phone from the bedroom and not to carry the mobile on their bodies for a period to see if it makes any difference?
The phones, if kept switched on by your bed (i.e. used as an alarm clock) will not let your brain go into a proper sleep pattern and thus not allowing for your body’s necessary recuperation process to work over night.
There should be warnings on phones: Do not keep by your bed.
I am sure that the results of such a test will be very convincing.
Since all this has happened to me I have spoken to many fellow sufferers, as well. Many people, completely left alone by the NHS, forced to leave their jobs and in some cases even their homes. I am in writing contact with a woman who is now living in a tent, as it is the only place, where she can be symptom free. A desolate and lonely existence.
The people I have spoken to come from all walks of life: lawyers, bankers, actors, lighting technicians, librarians etc. They all suffer the same symptoms. If they were all hypochondriac, how come they all have the same set of symptoms? Surely this can’t be some sort of mass hallucination or hysteria.
Even the though numbers are growing ES sufferers and anyone trying to ask for more research are being ridiculed.
So far research hasn’t come up with any conclusive results, but as a sufferer of ES I know, that has just to do with the fact that the scientists undertaking the trials don’t understand (or worse don’t take it seriously) and so the lab environment is a problem in itself for most sufferers.
The whole scenario reminds me very much of the case of ME (especially because of some of the similarities in symptoms between the two illnesses). Sufferers of ME were ridiculed for years as having yuppie flu? Maybe there is even a link?
Other problems to come include the widespread ideas of rolling out wifi over whole cities and the installation of so-called smart-meters, that will send your electricity usage reading wirelessly to the providers.
I am already scared, how I will be able to live my life and cope at my job with the increasing EMFs and Wifi everywhere.
Looking back it would have been great, if I had known more about the possible problems of overexposure to modern communication.
We all should be more careful until it is really proven that there are no dangers involved in using wireless technology to the extent we do at the moment.
Personally I’m really worried for the future of all my friends and family living in this country. I believe we are sleep walking into a really big problem for our health.
Please take the time to look at the sites above, and talk to others!
Recent good article in GQ USA . warning-cell-phone-radiation
This section is taken from the 3G iphone manual. How can this be allowed?
iPhone’s SAR measurement may exceed the FCC exposure guidelines for body-worn operation if positioned less than 15 mm (5/8 inch) from the body (e.g. when carrying iPhone in your pocket). For optimal mobile device performance and to be sure that human exposure to RF energy does not exceed the FCC, IC, and European Union guidelines, always follow these instructions and precautions: When on a call using the built-in audio receiver in iPhone, hold iPhone with the dock connector pointed down toward your shoulder to increase separation from the antenna. When using iPhone near your body for voice calls or for wireless data transmission over a cellular network, keep iPhone at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) away from the body, and only use carrying cases, belt clips, or holders that do not have metal parts and that maintain at least 15 mm (5/8 inch) separation between iPhone and the body.
If you are still concerned about exposure to RF energy, you can further limit your exposure by limiting the amount of time using iPhone, since time is a factor in how much exposure a person receives, and by placing more distance between your body and iPhone, since exposure level drops off dramatically with distance.