By Sarah Stacey
Last updated at 8:01 PM on 20th June 2009
Whenever Michelle Berriedale-Johnson, 63, leaves her London home (also her office), she dons a broad-brimmed hat, lined with net, and a diaphanous silvery jacket.
This isn't just a style statement: her glam garb is made from bobbinet, a fine net incorporating silver threads, to help protect her against electromagnetic radiation (EMR).
Michelle, an old friend and colleague, suffers from electrosensitivity (ES), a condition that Dr Andrew Weil describes as 'heightened responsiveness to
electromagnetic fields and illness resulting from it'.
Principal sources of EMR are mobile phones and masts, Wi-Fi, DECT cordless phones, televisions, computers, wireless headsets and power lines. Michelle dates the onset of symptoms to 1998: 'I broke the extending aerial off my mobile, but continued to use it – with my head, as I learnt later, acting as the aerial.'
She noticed a buzzing in her right ear, some memory loss and general malaise, but a new phone with a working aerial seemed to solve the problem. Four years later, however, it started again when she was working at her old computer which had a cathode ray screen.
Changing to a flat screen helped, but in 2007 she bought a state-of-the-art computer with 'a huge screen, which I was glued to for eight hours a day. I
didn't realise it came with built-in, enabled Bluetooth networking [which allows electronic devices to communicate wirelessly]. Also, the nearby Royal Free Hospital had installed eight mobile-phone masts on its roof, which beamed into our house.'
By February 2008, Michelle, usually one of the most energetic, 'up' people I know, was 'very depressed and lacking in energy, as if I was always about to get flu. I had chest pain, diarrhoea, felt nauseous and lost my appetite. My memory deteriorated and my vocabulary went to pot'. As editor of Foods Matter, a magazine and website dedicated to allergies, Michelle had run features on ES.
She realised that 'the sensitivity initiated by the aerial-free phone was heightened by the Royal Free masts, then tipped over the edge by the Bluetooth'.
Dr Andrew Goldsworthy, formerly of Imperial College London, explains in a report for the Breakspear Hospital (which specialises in allergy and environmental illness) that 'all of us are electrosensitive to some degree but some more than others'.
The symptoms occur, it seems, because EMR can interfere with – and block – cellular communication. (Find his report and other useful information and links at foodsmatter.com.)
In Sweden, electrical hypersensitivity is a recognised condition, with skin and memory problems identified as the most common symptoms, along with fatigue, weakness, headaches, chest pain and heart arrhythmias. Although Western doctors are mostly sceptical, Michelle's GP was sympathetic: 'He admitted he knew little about ES but sent me for tests to ensure that nothing else was amiss, and asked to be kept informed about other tests and treatments,' she says.
Michelle bought an electro-smog detector to identify the main sources of radiation, and reverted to a pre-Bluetooth computer. She has banned all 'wireless' devices and swapped low-energy light bulbs – which give off EMR – for old-fashioned tungsten ones. The side of her house facing the Royal Free is shielded with bobbinet curtains and special paint.
'It has restricted my life, but I'm lucky that I can adapt the house and work at home,' says Michelle. 'Many ES sufferers, who live in flats and work in offices, have a much harder time. The UK needs to recognise and research the condition. Also, crucially, we need greater discrimination about the
siting of mobile-phone masts, and Wi-Fi should be banned in schools.'
'Radiation Rescue: 4 Steps to Safeguard Your Family from the Other Inconvenient Truth - The Health Hazards of Wireless Technology'
MOBILE PHONE ALERT: Evidence and recommendations from scientists
and physicians on electro-magnetic radiation (EMR)
VICTORIA, British Columbia, June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Prominent researchers around the world are raising the alarm about the adverse health effects of wireless technology. Today there are 4 billion cell phones in the world, and these and the other devices we use every day -- PDAs, Wi-Fi, cordless phones, baby monitors and more -- are immersing us in a type of harmful radiation our cells have never encountered before in human history.
As Dr. Kerry Crofton, a health educator and concerned parent, reveals in her latest book, "Radiation Rescue" (published by iUniverse), the jury is no longer out ... there are thousands of studies showing adverse biological effects. In "Radiation Rescue," Dr. Crofton brings together, for the first time, the evidence and advice from an international panel of leading scientists, physicians and EMR technicians who tell consumers everything they need to know about how to protect themselves and their families. Children and young people are especially vulnerable. The good news: there are safer ways to use these high-tech devices.
The book also offers detailed information and healing interventions for EMR-related health conditions, including the growing incidence of electro-sensitivity. There are surprising connections between EMR and insomnia, infertility, cancers, Alzheimer's disease, and even Autism Spectrum Disorders.
"Radiation Rescue" is the cornerstone of a consumer education program, founded by Dr. Crofton, which will be delivered internationally in conjunction with the book's contributing experts. Read more at http://www.radiationrescue.org
About the Author
Kerry Crofton has a doctorate in health psychology, and 30 years of professional experience including a clinical practice, corporate training, a newspaper column and co-producing a health-related television
program. Her first book was "The Healthy Type A: Good News For Go-Getters" (Macmillan, 1998). Dr. Crofton is the director of WellBeing International
and founder of Radiation Rescue, an organization committed to educating people around the world about this serious public health issue, and the science-based solutions.
"Radiation Rescue: 4 Steps to Safeguard Your Family from the Other Inconvenient Truth - The Health Hazards of Wireless Technology"
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