Electro-sensitivity - Fact or fiction?

Electro-sensitivity - Fact or fiction?

Summary: Can you be sensitive to modern technology? Believe it or not, some people claim they are.

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TOPICS: Hardware
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Can you be sensitive to modern technology?  Believe it or not, some people claim they are. 

A couple of people sent me a link to an article about a woman in the UK who claims to suffer from electro-sensitivity, a condition which she claims causes her to develop a painful skin rash when exposed to the electromagnetic field  emitted by computers, mobile phones, microwave ovens and so on.

I've not personally come across anyone who claims to be but this isn't the first time that I've seen claims that individuals are sensitive to the EM fields generated by electrical devices and who either develop skin rashes, insomnia, tiredness, or prolonged flu-like symptoms. 

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Since I've not come across this kind of thing first it's hard to say whether it's real or not.  After all, if someone finds that their symptoms get better after taking steps to limit exposure to EM, then that in itself says something.  It doesn't prove one way or another that EM is to blame, but there's scope for research to be done here.  In fact, the person in the article has gone to great lengths to eliminate EM:

They took electromagnetic readings of the property and set about making it safe. The house was completely re-wired, had clear protective film put on the windows and every wall was painted with black carbon paint, which cost £250 [about $500] per tin, to deflect the harmful rays.

There is one part of the article that I do take issue with though:

We have a plasma screen TV because the old style one gave out gamma rays, which brought on my reaction.

I'm not aware of any TV giving out gamma rays, and if they did, all of us that like to veg out in front of the glass teat would dead, dying, sterile or at least ill (hmmm ... wait a minute ...).

However, I do have to say that personally I'm skeptical that the symptoms described are caused by EM sensitivity.  Given the symptoms, there are so many other things that it could be that are totally unrelated to EM.  While I've never come across someone allergic to EM, I have come across dozens of people who develop an allergic reaction to the dust that accumulates around electrical devices such as TVs and computers.  In fact, the skin on my hands tends to crack after I've spend a day or so fiddling around with old PCs.

Anyone here come across anyone suffering from electro-sensitivity?  Anyone have any thoughts on what could be the cause?

Topic: Hardware

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11 comments
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  • EM is everywhere all the time!

    As was pointed out repeatedly when this first came out a couple of months ago, the amount of power used by a WiFi transmitter is quite small. Much smaller in fact than the ambient amount of EM when simply walking around an average city.

    If one truly were sensitive to this then they could simply not live in any city and most likely not on this or any other planet in the known universe. They all suffer from random EM floating all around.
    Spacely Spacerockets
  • EM and electical sensitivity...

    A bit of a difference between the title and the blog itself. In fact, I suspect very few, if any are effected by most of the constantly surrounding electro-magnetic fields. However, I know that some are very sensitive to electrical current.

    I happen to be one that has been over sensitized to electrical current. A bit of history might be in order. I've been twice struck by lightning and survived, not without some side effects. But for years I've used notebook computers and been stung by the leakage currents of many a touchpad. Also whenever I get eeg or other medical tests where I'm connected to supposedly "isolated" measuring instruments, I feel the tingle and burning of the electrical currents on the skin. So I KNOW that electro sensitivity is a reality, but I doubt the reality of the sensitivity to the EM fields. I know that we are saturated by many electromagnetic fields in our daily lives and that shielding would be near impossible in most cases from all the stuff. But for the most part we are not affected by those EM energies. Not to a major degree anyhow.
    Technocrat@...
  • Gamma Rays from CRTs

    Wow, I had no idea that my CRT is a matter-antimatter machine that produces gamma rays! Or is that the decay of sub-atomic particles, such as the Cobalt-60 in my CRT's coating decaying to Nickel when struck by electrons from the CRT's cathode.

    No, I don't think so.

    Think about it. Is a compass affected by EM emissions beyond a meter or so from a computer or cell phone? Unless the device is malfunctioning - no. If she's as sensitive as she says, the earth's natural magnetic field would affect her.

    And if her CRT is emitting gamma rays, I'd hate to see her electricity bill.
    NetArch.
  • Psychosomatic?

    I think the term is psychosomatic. She might be having these reactions but are they all due to her thinking process? I don't want to sound critical or marginalize the issue as a psychosomatic illness doesn't mean one is crazy. The body can do strange things when one is stressed or angry or any number of other things. Think ulcers and other stress related problems.

    It could be that she had a reaction to one thing and it led her down a path that she believes that electronic devices are causing the problem. Then a placebo (i.e. the paint and bed netting) could solve her problem.
    mtgarden
  • EM sensitivity

    It could be possible. A colleague of mine has the opposite effect on technology in that most electrical equipment seems to fail in very short periods of operation whenever she is using them. Apparently it happens to her at home as well. Do the experiment!?
    DOSlover
  • Yes Electro-sensitivity exists!

    My sister, who is a marketing manager must leave her cellphone turned off, such is the discomfort she feels. I recently put her on to BIOPRO technology,which makes a cell phone chip utilising a patented polymer that works similar to noise cancellation, and emits a low frequency signal when stimulated by the cell phone signal. My sister who is highly sceptical about such products, having tried two other types was amazed to find that it made a difference. See www.mybiopro.com/pronto
    electro guardian
  • RE: Electro-sensitivity - Fact or fiction?

    Hi, my husband is an Electro Sensitive. I was originally sceptical and believed it was psychosomatic and/or stress induced. I used to re-enable our wireless modem without him knowing to try and catch him out but he always knew when it had been turned on...I don't think he missed it once. He also has trouble with mobile phones.
    EmTOx
  • RE: Electro-sensitivity - Fact or fiction?

    FACT
    I've suffered from this problem since the early 90's when I first started using computers. It was a long time until I realized that it was the computer that was really getting to me. I?d be tired, spacey and have headaches. I've been wearing a BioElectric Shield since '94 and find it to be invaluable...if I forget it, I'm exhausted and irritable. And no it?s not psychological because I sometimes forget it and don?t even know it, and just feel horrible. Here's just one of the really good articles on the subject that pulls together a lot of information from different studies and arenas. http://www.bioelectricshield.com/In-the-Media/Electromagnetic-Sensitivity-Millions-Affected-by-the-Mysterious-Symptoms-of-a-Silent-Epidemic.htm Are you really willing to stick your head in the sand until the day you find out that you're really sick because you refused to believe this is possible? And I think we aren't going to know for a long time, just how severe the problem is and how many of our health and emotional issues are being caused or increased by the EMF around us. Read some of the links in the above article and you?ll be surprised I think.
    carolynnau
  • RE: Electro-sensitivity - Fact or fiction?

    My partner started to suffer last year from ES. Before that he was like most people very fond of all his modern communication tools.
    Dizziness, skin rashes, sleep problems etc. occur in close vicinity or under exposure to computers, mobiles, mobile masts, certain light sources.
    It makes working very difficult for him and the ignorance of health professionals just adds to the resulting stress.
    We need to start rethinking our modcons before it's too late and even more people start to suffer.
    gipsyhill
  • Very Real for some people

    As mentioned while you can't absolutely prove that someone symptoms are caused by EMF, you can limit exposure and when improvement happens that does say something. There are so many things we can't know for sure yet - but as for me I'm in the realm of taking precautions where possible. I wear a Shield from http://www.bioelectricshield.com and use cell phone chips on my phones and headsets - I do feel better with them on. Also have talked to many many people with symptoms who found relief either w/shield or limiting exposure which is difficult these days.
    carolynnau
  • Definately Fact

    Hi, I just posted this reply in another forum:-

    I?m glad to see that people are speaking out about something that is causing problems to so many, but is also dismissed by so many.

    Smoking was in the same situation a few decades ago, but currently no-one would call you a hypercondriac if you said it was harming you.

    Personally I became electrosensitive after having a servere electric shock. Since then I have suffered from various symtoms when around switching power supplies (in plasma tv?s etc) , cell phones, wifi etc.

    My symptoms include tititus, nausia, fatigue, blured vision, and uncontrolled muscle twitches in the part of my body nearest the device.

    Because I live in a highly populated area, it?s becoming more dificult to insulate myself from the effects of other peoples electric and mobile devices.

    I?m starting to think I?ll have to live in a cave somware, because the constant barage of information being transmitted in our modern world is making me I?ll. I also get pretty mad when people think this problem is not real. One thinks for sure, they would quickly change their mind if they developed it.
    stevewal1