Electromagnetic sensitivity and hypersensitivity: what to believe? what to do?

Exodus far from the EM fields - comic

Electromagnetic sensitivity is very controversial. On one side is denial, even mockery. On the other: people who are suffering, often self-diagnosed. One thing is certain: the waves are real. The suffering too. Let’s examine this pathology in details.

What is electromagnetic sensitivity?

In fact, we are all electro-sensitive: that is to say, our body triggers responses to an electromagnetic field of normal intensity. If, on the other hand, a person reveals symptoms directly associated with these electromagnetic fields, then we speak of a pathology: electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The only problem is that the boundary between the two remains unclear: what if the symptoms appear after hours? weeks? years?

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity can take a very severe form, and radically impact some people’s lives. They must leave their homes, their jobs, their way of life. Some live in the middle of nowhere, far from any EM field. Others develop a real phobia of those EM waves, because associated with pain.

electromagnetic waves in the city - comic

A pathology as complex as food

The effect of electromagnetic fields on the human body could be as complex as food. A peanut will not have the same effect on your body as a piece of bread or a glass of milk. Your body should have a different answer for each food category. For EM fields, it’s the same, there are low-frequency waves (high-voltage lines), microwaves (mobile), visible-spectrum waves (light), and so on.

question about eggs, wheat, milk - comic drawing
Eggs? Gluten? Dairy products? Food intolerance is complex. Electromagnetic sensitivity too.

For food, at least you know what you eat. For the EM fields, it is sometimes difficult to know what frequencies your body is submitted to, or at what level. Except for the spectrum of light, they are invisible. It’s often more complex inside buildings, but not only there.

Just like food, nothing guarantees us that the effect will be immediate. Some foods contribute, little by little every day, to maintain a chronic inflammation state. We don’t always feel it, and it can severely disrupt us in the long run. With EM fields, nothing has been proven over long periods of time. We just don’t know. But while we don’t know, why do we state that there is no danger? What do we do with the precautionary principle?

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms can unfortunately be very different from one person to another, which doesn’t simplify the diagnosis.

  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping issues
  • Headache
  • Feelings of heaviness / heat in the head
  • Irritation of the eyes
  • Cognitive disorders (brain fog – memory, concentration)
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Skin rash
  • Tingling or numbness in the skin
  • Shaking, muscle spasms, difficulty walking
  • Feeling bad, lassitude, bad mood
  • Depression
  • Dyspnoea (breathing difficulties)
  • Cardiac rhythm disorders (palpitations), vascular problems (hypertension, sensations of cold or hot flash)
  • Muscular dystonia (involuntary contractions), joints cracking
  • Sensitivity to odors, visual disturbances, hear loss (tinnitus), hyperacusis (increased sensitivity to noise)

the list is long - parchment - comic

But these symptoms can also be attributed to many other pathologies… So, how do we know?

What you need to notice is that these symptoms depend on your location. Some places will trigger symptoms, while in other places you won’t show any problem. This proves by the facts that your symptoms have an “environmental cause”. But beware of hasty conclusions. If the cause is environmental, it can therefore come from electromagnetic fields, but also from any other source of imaginable pollution (for example, endocrine disruptors, which are no more visible than EM fields…). An environment is  composed of many factors (water, air, waves, temperature…), it is often difficult to isolate them in order to know the cause of your symptoms.

On the other hand, if you feel better after switching off a neon, or after turning off the Wi-Fi, then you isolate the disrupting factor and it becomes very likely that you have an electromagnetic sensitivity – beware of yourself, however, because it can also be a nocebo effect (see below).

to wonder - comic

The diagnosis

Like many emerging diseases, electromagnetic sensitivity is often misdiagnosed: blood results won’t reveal anything. The doctor, confused, may conclude to a depression or other psychological disorder. This kind of obsolete diagnosis shouldn’t destabilize you. If you feel good in your head, just ignore it.

The diagnosis is very complicated. Most of the time, it is established by the patients themselves, by experimentation: removing the source enables to remove the symptoms.

What are the sources of electromagnetic waves?

  • High voltage lines
  • Mobile network (antennas)
  • Wireless
  • DECT (cordless phone)
  • Neons
  • Phone or computer chargers
  • All electronic devices (telephones, tablets, computers, television, etc.)
  • Baby phone (watch out for little ones, particularly fragile)
  • All wireless devices
  • Wireless electricity meters

it's too comic

The presence of metallic elements in the body, or in regular contact with the body, could favor the sensitivity:

  • Dental amalgams (fillings)
  • Titanium dental implants
  • Metal surgical implants
  • Eyeglass frames
  • Earrings, induction loops
  • Hearing aids
  • Pacemakers and simulators, etc.
  • Some jewels
  • And probably… heavy metal poisoning

What does the research say?

Reading books - comic

Let’s see what we know, and what is controversial.

Study on chick embryos

hen and chicks - comic

Chick embryos are particularly sensitive to electromagnetic fields. The proximity of a relay antenna or mobile phone is enough to kill some of them1.

The french documentary “Mauvaises ondes” on France 3 in 2011 showed it very well. And I have to say, it’s scary.

Of course, we are not chicks, but it proves that waves can have a huge impact on living organisms. So, why would we think that human kind is a species that doesn’t follow the rule?

On the rats

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Many studies on rats have been able to demonstrate the dangerousness of EM fields:

  • neuron degeneration and apoptosis (cell death) of the auditory system2
  • impairment of learning and memory3
  • oxidative stress , cell death and myocardial degradation4
  • decreased fertility5

What about humans?

doctor content - comic

On the human side, there is a controversy. But very honestly, the debate is of no interest: on one hand, the lobbies of telecommunication companies, who claim that there is no danger – using biased studies; on the other hand, independent researchers, much fewer, much less powerful, but trying to warn us about the dangers.

The testimonies are all over – forums, books, TV shows, etc. Who should we believe, the people who are suffering or the telecommunication companies?

The blood-brain barrier

The blood-brain barrier protects our brain by filtering the molecules that enter it. It becomes porous when subjected to electromagnetic waves. [Note] Detrimental Effect of Electromagnetic Pulse Exposure on the Permeability of In Vitro Blood-brain-barrier Model [/note]. Substances that are toxic to the brain can therefore get access to it…

Could this be an explanation (among others) to brain fog?

The nocebo effect

Nocebo is the opposite of placebo. Some people are so convinced that electromagnetic fields will hurt them, that they actually develop symptoms just by thinking about it! It is however what a study in London demonstrates6, during which participants reacted to false electromagnetic sources.

This nocebo effect is often used by detractors to prove that this is all fake. I think indeed that some people develop a phobia of EM fields, but that doesn’t mean that the suffering isn’t real, nor that the EM fields are safe. I remain doubtful regarding these studies taht seek at all costs to deny the dangerousness of our exposure.

What to do?

No need to wait and become hypersensitive in order to start protecting yourself. Electromagnetic fields are a form of pollution and we must protect ourselves. Not feeling the pollution of the water or the air doesn’t mean that it doesn’t affect you.

Reduce / delete sources

Here is a reminder of electromagnetic sources. Turn it off or keep away from it as much as possible.

  • High voltage lines
  • Antennas
  • Wireless
  • DECT (cordless phone)
  • Neons
  • Phone or computer chargers
  • All electronic devices
  • Baby phone
  • All wireless devices
  • Electricity meters

At work, turning off the sources is often an impossible task… This is why many people with EM hypersensitivity had to leave their job.

At home, you can turn off the Wi-Fi and use a cable instead. Same for the DECT phone. Use your mobile phones with a hands-free kit or with the speaker, in order to avoid sticking them on your brain.

Unfortunately, it is often difficult to ask your neighbors to turn off the Wi-Fi. It is also impossible to remove mobile phone antennas (some have succeeded, but it is very long, and very difficult…).

Moving out

If your environment is really overloaded with electromagnetic fields, the only solution may be to move out.

Before making such a big decision, you can first test other less “polluted” environments and try to confirm that it is the EM fields that are involved:

  • On holidays
  • Visiting the family
  • At the hotel
  • While camping
  • At a friend’s house

Fribromyalgic leaving the city - comic

Moving out is often a big deal, especially with a chronic disease. But it can be a life changer.

Electromagnetic shielding

I’m not an expert on the subject, but it’s good to know that there are techniques available for electromagnetic insulation. This consists for example of using conductive paint, connected to the ground. Or build a Faraday cage around a bed.

Some metal caravans also make good Faraday cages.

There are also so-called shielding clothes, but their effectiveness isn’t proven, and they are often overpriced.

knight - comic

Grounding / Earthing

Grounding means connecting to the Earth. This enables you to lower you body voltage into the earth own voltage (near zero). In addition, the frequencies of the Earth could have many other beneficial effects on your well-being ( Schumann Resonances – 7.8 Hz ). You may also get the feeling of “recharging” yourself. But that deserves a whole article, so I won’t detail it here.

Grounding yoga - comic

Protect children

Pay a special attention to children: they are the most fragile. And their development is at stake!  I am thinking in particular about the study on chicken fetuses (see above): protect your chicks! Some schools have already started to remove Wi-Fi. At home, if you keep Wi-Fi, place your babies away from the box. Also make sure there is no neighbor’s box on the other side of the wall! Avoid using the baby phone if you can. Do not let the kids play with the phone or tablet either.

A new handicap

This handicap can be very difficult to live with. Nobody sees it, which makes it difficult to understand. Most of the time, it is denied or even laughed at. Everyone thinks you are crazy. You develop a sixth sense, except that it doesn’t play to your advantage.

Hypersensitive people like to make the following analogy:

We are the canaries in the coal mine.

canary in a coal mine - comic
In coal mines, the canary served as a warning signal for toxic gases (mainly carbon monoxide).

There is no “disabled access” for this specific case. Access to cities is impossible for some. There is no “wave free” place in modern countries. The mobile antennas coverage is total, and operators are proud of it.

Sometimes the only solution left is going to a distant isolated place. Needless to say, psychological isolation goes with it.

sad man - comic

The precautionary principle – respect for others

Tap water is tested, air pollution is quantified, drugs are subjected to drastic controls. We are warned of the dangers of tobacco, sugar, and even lack of sport! And for the EM fields? Nobody cares. Since we don’t see them, it’s easy to forget about them, or to think of them as harmless. Yet, everything suggests that they could be a great danger.

So why don’t we use the precautionary principle? Unfortunately, we may know the answer…

And what about respect? Smoking indoors or too close to someone is generally perceived as a lack of respect. We have the right not to suffer someone else’s cigarette smoke. Why wouldn’t it be the same with phones? If my neighbor in the subway plays with his phone, he sends waves through my body… I cannot ask everyone to turn off their phone, just like we couldn’t ask a whole pub to stop smoking.

 

Conclusion

Suffering people on one side, a denial of the other. We don’t know much about the EM fields yet, which should have us apply the precautionary principle. It isn’t so. Things aren’t moving, or way too slowly. The number of sufferers will have to massively increase before things can change. It’s a shame.

Me, I want to refuse to be a guinea pig, but the reality catches me. I live in the city, I have neighbors who refuse to cut off their Wi-Fi, and a mobile antenna in front of my flat. I’m thinking of moving… but where?! It’s the same everywhere.

And you, are you satisfied with your environment EM fields? Leave me a message in the comments.

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  1. Embryos (Gallus domesticus)
  2. Effects of exposure to 2100MHz GSM-like radiofrequency electromagnetic field on auditory system of rats.
  3. 916 MHz electromagnetic field exposure affects rat behavior and hippocampal neuronal discharge
  4. The effects of exposure to electromagnetic field on rat myocardium.
  5. Low frequency electromagnetic fields long-term exposure on testicular histology, sperm quality and testosterone levels of male rats
  6. Are some people sensitive to mobile phone signals? Within participants double blind randomized provocation study

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