The electronic devices you depend on could be destroying your health and your quality of life. So say a growing number of people who believe that Wi-Fi is making them sick and unable to operate in modern society.
“I’ve had to change my entire life to find ways to avoid being exposed to Wi-Fi and phone signals,” London resident Mary Coales told Britain’s Daily Mail. “Wi-Fi is everywhere now, so it’s very difficult to avoid. It’s even more difficult to avoid people with mobile phones.”
Coales thinks she has a condition called electro-sensitivity or electromagnetic hypersensitivity intolerance syndrome (EHS), and that the electromagnetic fields put out by Wi-Fi and other devices is somehow interfering with her nervous system and causing intense pain in her mouth.
Coales, a former civil servant, is now afraid to go to many public places including the supermarket, theaters, the hospital and even the park because of Wi-Fi. When she goes out, Coales puts on a special garment called the Aaronia Shield which she says shields her from Wi-Fi.
“I hardly ever go to public places, and only go to friends’ houses if they have switched everything off beforehand,” Coales said.
She became convinced she had the syndrome after developing unexplained pains in her mouth.
“Before I developed EHS in 2012, I wouldn’t have believed the condition existed,” Coales said. “The idea of becoming ill because of the technology I’d used for years without previously having any problems is surreal. But the pain I’ve suffered is very real. At it’s worst, it has felt like I’m being tasered inside my mouth.”
Nobody Knows What Causes It
Electro-sensitivity is a frightening and even controversial condition because doctors don’t understand why it happens. Many physicians, in fact, don’t believe it exists.
“Electro-sensitivity is a very real illness,” said Dr. Andrew Tresidder, a general practitioner with Britain’s National Health Service who says he’s treated many people with symptoms of the condition.
“We don’t really know exactly how it happens, but, given how sensitive the cells in our bodies are to other types of energy waves, such as sound or light, it would be surprising if we weren’t sensitive to other kinds of frequency — such as radio waves,” Tresidder said.
‘A Toll On My Life’
Coales is not the only one who has gone public about the condition.
“It’s so hard to get away from, and it’s taken a toll on my life,” Tim Hallam said of electro-sensitivity. Hallam told The Guardian that he had to insulate his home with special foil to keep out electromagnetic radiation. Hallam sleeps in a special silver-coated sleeping bag designed to screen out electromagnetic signals.
At one point in his life, Hallam even had to sleep in the garden because of his roommate’s Wi-Fi router. Hallam carries an Elektrosmog radiation detector with him everywhere he goes in an attempt to avoid electromagnetic radiation.
Scientists and governments are divided on the issue of electro-sensitivity. The World Health Organization has classified electromagnetic fields like those used by smartphones as Group 2B carcinogens – meaning they might cause cancer. The government of Sweden has labeled EHS a disability.
A Strange Warmth
Another sufferer, guitarist Ricky Gardiner, was only able to escape EHS by moving to rural Wales. Gardiner believes his health problems started in the 1980s when he started using computers to make music.
“It started as a strange warmth inside my body, but, by the mid-90s, I was very unwell, with an irregular heartbeat and breathing problems,” Gardiner said. Before he developed the disease Gardiner was a successful rocker playing guitar for Iggy Pop and David Bowie.
“I still use a computer for my music, but I don’t have Wi-Fi and I sit on the other side of the room from the monitor and use binoculars to see the screen,” Gardiner said. He also had a theory on why electro-sensitivity is not being taken seriously.
“The telecoms industry is the biggest money-spinner the world’s ever known, so it’s easier to dismiss us as nutcases than question whether it’s right for us to be bombarded with electromagnetic waves,” Gardiner said.
Some with the condition cannot even work anymore. Sue Brown, a teacher in England, was suddenly gripped by pains so severe her doctor thought she might have a brain tumor. Then she made an interesting discovery.
“I loved my job, but had to resign,” Brown told the newspaper. “Later, I discovered from the school’s IT technician that Wi-Fi had been installed at the same time as my symptoms started.”
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