The word refugee is usually associated with political refugees, that is, those who flee for refuge or safety due to war or political upheaval. However, we are now experiencing a new type of refugee as many people around the world are becoming electro-hypersensitive (EHS). Those who are EHS may react to EMF exposure with symptoms ranging from headaches, heart palpitations/pressure in the chest, extreme fatigue, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), skin rashes, pain, issues with memory and concentration, irritability, and sleep disturbance.
Those who are EHS may be bucketed into and diagnosed with illnesses that are more well known such as chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) and Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FM). Some EHS people find that they also have environmental and multiple chemical sensitivity (ES/MCS) where they are unable to tolerate chemicals and environmental toxins.
Those afflicted by EHS come from all walks of life, including some prominent people. One of the most famous is Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, the former Prime Minister of Norway, and also the former Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) who confirmed in a media report in 2002 that she banned cellphones from her office because they gave her headaches. “I get headaches and feel terrible when I am in contact with mobile phones, even if I’m not using it but it’s 1 or 2 metres away. I can identify it by feeling a mobile phone in a room without knowing it’s there,” says Brundtland, adding that it may not be life-threatening but can affect quality of life. 1
It is estimated that approximately 1% of people are severely affected, while 3 to 5% of people are moderately affected, and a larger number may be mildly affected. Once the body becomes sensitized to EMFs, the only known treatment is avoidance. Although some people recover over time, many end up permanently leaving their homes, career, family, and society, living in hiding and solace. Sarah Dacre, 53, was a successful TV producer in London when in 1994, she suddenly began suffering from mysterious symptoms. She was finally diagnosed with EHS after suffering for 14 years. Dacre left her job and her home to live in rural Kent, where after a month, her health improved dramatically.
EHS sufferers, just like those who are MCS, have at times been referred to as “canaries” who are extra sensitive so as to alert those around them to difficult to detect dangers. You cannot see, touch, taste, smell or hear EMF fields – they can not be detected by “normal senses”. As such, it is difficult for EHS people to find help and to escape from the EMF pollution. As one EHS person puts it, EHS people are the lepers of society, “but at least the lepers were fortunate enough to get their own islands. Society acknowledged their sickness. Life is really hard without any help. It is hard to be so marginalized and have no right to the social assistance others take for granted.” 2
Indeed, for some, the stigma of EHS is even more painful than the symptoms. Dafna Tachover, an attorney who left her husband, career, and home to live in an isolated house in the mountains of a natural reserve in northern New York states: “It is sad to see that there are people who try to present people like me as suffering from a mental condition. The people with EHS that I have met are the most talented and sane people I know – Doctors, a pilot, a scientist who worked for the NASA, an engineer. They are escaping to farms in Nevada, to caves in the Alps, to places that no normal human being would live in, unless there is no other choice.” 3
By the nature of the illness, those afflicted with EHS end up retreating from social media and discontinue communications as they find they are no longer able to tolerate electronics that most people take for granted. Computers, phones, and going out to the public become hazards and harmful things to avoid. As such, for every EHS story that is public, there are many many more who are suffering in silence.
The following are some additional links to EMF Refugees that have made it into the press:
- Allergic to wi-fi! How ‘electrosmog’ leaves Afterlife DJ in agony – Daily Mail / Associated Newspapers Ltd
- An iPad could give me a miscarriage, claims pregnant mother who claims she’s allergic to electromagnetic waves – Daily Mail / Associated Newspapers Ltd
- Article about Dafna Tachover & EHS – Radiation Victim – Published in an Israeli paper Yediot Ahcharonot – English Translation – Dafna Tachover, Esq. (NY, Israel) MBA
- CSIRO scientist Dr David McDonald wins compensation for Wi-Fi pain – Mathematician moves to Victorian countryside – News.com.au
- The Dr. Carlos Sosa M.D. Story – Electrosensitive Society
- Family forced to move after suffering health problems – Herald Sun
- Forced to Disconnect – Electrohypersensitive Fugitives in Sweden – Book by Gunilla Ladberg
- Forced to leave town – Area’s awash in radiation, couple says – Oceanside Star
- It happened to me… I’m allergic to modern life – Former TV producer Sarah Dacre is forced to leave her job and home – Daily Mail / Associated Newspapers Ltd
- Killing Fields – Electromagnetic Radiation – Medical Doctor Becomes Homeless – The Ecologist
- The man living alone in the woods to escape Wi-Fi and mobile phones – The Guardian
- The Man Who Was Allergic to Radio Waves – Popular Science
- EHS Stories – Read various stories gathered for an upcoming book – Kim Goldberg
- Zakhele lives in cellphone hell – Man gives up trucking business to escape cell phones – Times Live / Times Media Group
Articles in other languages:
- Allergique aux ondes, elle entame une grève de la faim – Allergic to EMFs, Woman Goes on Hunger Strike (original French article) – France Télévisions
- Zur Erholung ins Funkloch – Eine elektrosensible Amtsrichterin aus Augsburg hat Zuflucht im Wehratal gesucht – An electro- sensitive magistrate of Augsburg has sought refuge in Wehratal (original German article) – Badische Zeitung
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Sources and References
- What is Electrosensitivity? – Toronto Star ↩
- Forced to Disconnect – Electrohypersensitive Fugitives in Sweden – Book by Gunilla Ladberg ↩
- Article about Dafna Tachover & EHS – Radiation Victim – Published in an Israeli paper Yediot Ahcharonot – English Translation – Dafna Tachover, Esq. (NY, Israel) MBA ↩