People with EHS experience a variety of symptoms including headache, fatigue, nausea, burning and itchy skin, and muscle aches. These symptoms are subjective and vary between individuals, which makes the condition difficult to study, and has left experts divided about the validity of such claims.
More than 30 studies have been conducted to determine what link the condition has to exposure to electromagnetic fields from sources such as radar dishes, mobile phone signals and, Wi-Fi hotspots.
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS) is still viewed with skepticism by most scientists and medical professionals. The World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a workshop in Prague in October 2004 to review the more than 30 studies on the topic. The editors of the workshop stated:
"There are also some indications that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about believed EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself." But added, "Whatever its cause, EHS is a real and sometimes a disabling problem for the affected persons."
So is it real, or is it just another problem in your head?
With everything I know about the health dangers associated with electromagnetic fields (EMF) and information-carrying radio waves from cell phones, WiFi routers and cell phone towers, I’m convinced EHS is a real and looming health disaster.
Sweden is leading the pack in acknowledging and dealing with this issue, mainly due to the progress made by FEB - The Swedish Association for the ElectroSensitive. The association produces and distributes educational literature that has helped raise awareness about the phenomenon around the world.
Mast Action UK is doing similar work in Great Britain, as well as the Electromagnetic Radiation Alliance in Australia.
There are signs that acceptance is spreading, especially in Europe. Just last week, the French magazine Connexion reported that four libraries in Paris have turned off the WiFi connections they installed at the end of 2007 after staff claimed they were causing health problems.
Why is WiFi Potentially Worse than Other Radiation?
Electomagnetic fields are all around us, no matter where you live these days. They emanate from power lines, televisions, household electrical wiring, appliances and microwaves. Then you have the information-carrying radio waves of cell phones, cell phone towers and wireless internet connections.
WiFi is a kind of radio wave that operates at either 2.4 or 5 gigahertz – slightly higher than your cell phone. Since they’re designed to allow for transmission of very large amounts of data, WiFi radio waves also emit greater amounts electromagnetic radiation.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of EHS?
Lucinda Grant, director of the U.S. support group Electrical Sensitivity Network, and author of two books: The Electrical Sensitivity Handbook and Workstation Radiation, compares electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) to that of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), which is an apt comparison as both groups are environmental canaries.
Chemical sensitivity was also once thought to originate in the minds of hysterical housewives.
Many times, those suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity will also be highly sensitive to chemicals or suffer from MCS. Other at-risk groups for developing EHS include those with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), and people experiencing mercury toxicity from dental amalgams.
This makes logical sense since your nervous system is a primary site impacted by both chemicals and electromagnetic fields. And if your nervous system has been damaged from toxic exposures you may also be more susceptible to EHS as well.
The five most common symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity are:
- skin itch/rash/flushing/burning, and/or tingling
- confusion/poor concentration, and/or memory loss
- fatigue and weakness
- chest pain and heart problems
Less commonly reported symptoms include:
- panic attacks
- ear pain/ringing in the ears
- feeling a vibration
Electomagnetic Fields Produce More Potent Mycotoxins
Earlier this year I had the pleasure of conducting an interview with Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, in which we discussed the impact of electromagnetic fields and radio waves on your body (among other things. The complete audio interview and transcript is available to all my Inner Circle members).
Dr. Klinghardt reminded me that Dr. Robert Becker -- in his second important book Cross Currents that came out in the late 80s or early 90s -- found that when you expose a bacterial culture to abnormal electromagnetic fields, the bacteria believe they are being attacked by your immune system and start producing much more virulent toxinx as a protective mechanism.
Klinghardt believes that it’s possible that some 50 percent of chronic infections are caused, and/or aggravated, by electromagnetic field exposure, leading to syndromes like chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and other chronic pain syndromes.
Why Your Laptop May be More Harmful than Your PC
Another fascinating tidbit of information gleaned from my interview with Dr. Klinghardt is that laptops are far more hazardous to your health than desktops. As they heat up, the circuitry board out-gasses metals such as beryllium, and as the plastic warms it out-gasses flame retardants like PBDE, all of which adds to your toxic load.
It would be prudent to only use your laptop short-term, such as when traveling, and using a desktop for your day-to-day work. Preferably positioning your hard drive as far away from you as possible, with fans blowing air away from where you sit.
Heavy Metal Toxicity Increases Your Risk of Electromagnetic Sensitivity
Last but not least, the issue of heavy metal toxicity in relation to electromagnetic and radio wave exposure may be one of the most significant and convincing pieces of the EHS puzzle.
Dr. Yoshiaki Omura’s research shows that the more your system is contaminated with heavy metals from silver amalgam fillings, eating contaminated fish, living downstream from coal burning power plants and so forth, the more your body becomes a virtual antenna that actually concentrates radiation, making it far more destructive.
But there’s also an additional overlap that can influence and increase the risk of damage to your health.
If you have accumulated toxic metals in your brain, your brain becomes like an antenna, picking up more cell phone radiation, which in turn can cause the microbes in your system to overreact and create more potent mycotoxins. This can create a never-ending vicious cycle between the microbes and metals in your body and your exposure to electromagnetic fields, which can lead to hypersensitivity.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family?
First, you need to understand that your nutrition and your daily lifestyle can make you either accumulate more toxic metals or help you excrete them over time.
Eating a healthy diet tailored to your nutritional type and maintaining a regular exercise regimen, as well as detoxing on a regular basis, forms the foundation of optimal health, and can help reduce your toxic load.
Because sleep and sunlight have a direct impact on your melatonin levels, and melatonin is actually one of the most potent detox agents that eliminate metals from your brain naturally.
Increasing your melatonin production can be done in three ways:
1. Sleeping in absolute darkness
2. Getting at least an hour of exposure to bright daylight each day
3. Reducing the electro-pollution in your sleeping quarters (i.e. remove electrical alarm clocks, cordless home phones and wireless phones from your bedroom)
Melatonin is not only the most important detox agent for your brain; it is also a very important anti-inflammatory. And as I stated earlier, electromagnetic radiation can make inflammation worse by creating more potent mycotoxins, so reducing inflammation is vital.
A 1997 Australian Senate Discussion Paper also confirms the importance of reducing electro-pollution in your bedroom, as researchers found that even low level (12 milliGauss) exposure to 50-60 hertz electromagnetic fields can significantly reduce your melatonin production.
For other recommendations on how to protect yourself and your family from cell phone radiation, please review my list of guidelines from last week’s article, Now Half the World Has a Cell Phone - - Why That is a Brain Tumor Epidemic Waiting to Happen.