Some people can’t live without wireless — most in the modern world probably would classify themselves in this category. But, there are those on the flip side who can’t even live around Wi-Fi. Seriously.
According to BBC News (via Popular Science), at least 5 percent of Americans are reporting they believe they suffer Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, or EHS, which is not medically recognized in the United States. Symptoms include headaches, burning skin, muscle twitching and other chronic pain.
The BBC interviewed Diane Schou who said she had become a “technological leper” when she was around other people, having to avoid society and its technological devices. Before moving to a “radio quiet zone” in Green Bank, West Virginia, Schou’s husband built her Faraday Cage, an insulated box that could protect her from the electromagnetic fields created by Wi-Fi and other devices.
The BBC has more:
“My face turns red, I get a headache, my vision changes, and it hurts to think. Last time [I was exposed] I started getting chest pains – and to me that’s becoming life-threatening,” Ms. Schou says.
Diane spent much of her time inside it, sleeping on a twin mattress on a plywood base.
“At least I could see my husband on the outside, I could talk to him,” she says.
Green Bank only has 143 residents. It is one of the few areas in the United States where wireless use of any kind is banned — the National Radio Quiet Zone:
“Living here allows me to be more of a normal person. I can be outdoors. I don’t have to stay hidden in a Faraday Cage,” she says.
“I can see the sunrise, I can see the stars at night, and I can be in the rain.
“Here in Green Bank allows me to be with people. People here do not carry cell phones so I can socialise.
The National Radio Quiet Zone’s primary function is not a safe haven for those suffering with EHS. It was established in 1958 to minimize possible harmful interference to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank and the U.S. Naval Facilities in Sugar Grove, West Virginia.
BBC reports that both CTIA — the International Association for the Wireless Telecommunications Industry — and the World Health Organization say that EHS does not have a clear link to wireless technology. Although, research at Louisiana State University shows that low-frequency electromagnetic fields can cause EHS.
Nichols Fox, 70, echoed the skepticism expressed by some health officials until she began feeling the pain herself, according to BBC:
“Towards the end of my normal life when I still could watch television I could actually cut my pain off and on with the remote control device,” she says. “It was such an enormously clear association there was just no denying it.”
As of 2010, Popular Science writes in an earlier article, Sweden is the only country the formally acknowledging EHS as a disease associated with electromagnetic fields.
[H/T Popular Science]