Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: A disease for the wireless age?: Page 2 of 3

December 15, 2015 //By Paul Pickering
Paul Pickering considers the unexplained ailments and diseases that have arisen in different eras and speculates that a widely-held distrust of electromagnetic radiation may be about to go into decline.

Exposure to ionizing radiation, such as from radiation therapy, is known to increase the risk of cancer. Many studies have examined the potential health effects of non-ionizing radiation from radar, microwave ovens, and other sources, but so far there's no consistent evidence that non-ionizing radiation increases cancer risk.

The FCC defines RF exposure in terms of Specific Absorption Rate (SAR), a measure of the rate of absorption of RF energy of the human body. The SAR for cell phones is 1.6 watts per kg of body tissue, measured at a distance of 5mm. The SAR is defined as the exposure under worst-case conditions; most cell phones operate at a fraction of this level in normal coverage areas.

In addition, the field strength of the signal follows an inverse square law, so the exposure 40 feet from a cell phone transmission discussed above would be about six million times lower than the SAR limit, or 2.6 x 10-7 W/kg.

Given this, the scientific community is skeptical about EHS, especially since a series of double-blind tests have shown patients unable to distinguish between real and fake stimuli, cellphones, for example.

Many doctors consider EHS to be an example of the 'nocebo effect' a condition where an inert substance creates an adverse reaction in a patient. It's the opposite of the more widely known placebo effect, in which an inert substance causes a beneficial result.

Regardless of the cause, the symptoms are real and can be debilitating. One woman in the UK who claims she is allergic to electricity doesn't venture outside without a full-body protective suit that has silver woven into the fabric to repel EM fields; neighbors say she looks like a "demented bee keeper". Judge for yourself here. To give herself some relief from the unrelenting EM barrage, she lives life by candlelight and has moved to a rural part of Dorset.

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