According to Electrosensitivity UK, electro-sensitivity, and its more severe form electro-hypersensitivity, can be defined as sensitivity to electro-magnetic fields (EMFs) and microwave radiation. Some people are sensitive to certain kinds of EMFs and/or microwave radiation, others to all.
Symptoms of electro-sensitivity
Common symptoms include physical (headaches, skin rashes and irritations, pain in the chest, pelvis, limbs and joints, nausea and fatigue), behavioural (irritability and tearfulness) and cognitive (poor concentration and short term memory loss). Heavy nosebleeds have also been reported.
For a full list of symptoms and information on radio-frequency sickness, click here.
What are the sources of EMFs and microwave radiation?
EMFs are present in common household appliances including electric cookers, fridges and washing machines, as well as computers and TVs and in household wiring. External sources of EMFs in the environment include electricity pylons and overhead powerlines.
Sources of microwave radiation include the more obvious microwave ovens, along with mobile phone masts and Wi-Fi , as well as all wireless devices, including laptops, tablets and computers, digital baby monitors, cordless phones, mobile phones and smart meters.
Is electro-sensitivity an illness?
The World Health Organisation (WHO) does not currently recognise electro-sensitivity (ES) as a medical condition, while acknowledging that further research needs to be done. However, countries around the world including Sweden and Spain now recognise the condition as a functional impairment.
In November 2015, a groundbreaking study led by a French oncologist (cancer specialist) showed there were measurable biological effects from microwave exposure in humans with electro-sensitivity.
The same year, 30 doctors and scientists who are experts in this field issued a joint statement: the Brussels International Scientific Declaration on Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, recognising EHS as a medical condition which is on the rise, and calling for the World Health Organisation to update its guidance.
Who suffers from ES/EHS?
According to both Electrosensitivity UK and doctor-led campaign group Physicians' Health Initiative on Radiation & Environment (PHIRE), approximately 30% of the population experience some form of electro-sensitivity.
So in a class of 30 children, you would expect about 9 of them to have some physical, cognitive or behavioural effects from Wi-Fi in the classroom environment. Click here for more information.
The more severe electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) affects 3% of the population. EHS was cited as the cause of the tragic suicide of 15 year-old schoolgirl Jenny Fry.
See also Fiona's story
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