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Wi-fi Anxiety. Real Or Fake?


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Wi-Fi anxiety. Real or Fake?

So what do people think of this anyways?

Even people emit energy of some form.

Would the person who says he gets sick with wireless emissions around him, not have gone into a tirade, if he did not know(his sub-conscious knew) his female friend was a big user of wireless electronics?

Just don't tell the guy that the electrical wiring in his home also emits electronic noise as well. So maybe he should move out into the desert with no electricity and a water tower.

Oh and all those satellites bombarding the earth in radio waves on various frequencies.

And the weather doppler radar dish sending out beams of energy to reflect off of rain or snow or mountains.

Even the Sun sends various waves of energy that hit the Earth in low to high energy levels.


Wi-Fi anxiety: Man sues neighbor to shut off electronics

The Santa Fe plaintiff claims to suffer from 'electromagnetic sensitivities' set off by cellphones, routers and other electronic devices.

Arthur Firstenberg, who says he is hypersensitive to certain frequencies of electromagnetic radiation, saw the house at the end of a narrow lane as a refuge from physical and neurological symptoms that have plagued him for three decades.

"It's been difficult because of my electromagnetic sensitivities," he said. "I had a lot of difficulty finding a house that I could be comfortable in."

So in September 2008, he bought the home on Barela Street, a few blocks from the newly redeveloped downtown rail yard here.

But last October, when a friend of his rented a house on the next block that backed up to Firstenberg's property, the familiar waves of nausea, vertigo, body aches, dizziness, heart arrhythmia and insomnia returned -- all, he says, because she was using an iPhone, a laptop computer, a wireless router and dimmer switches.

Firstenberg, 59, wanted Raphaela Monribot to limit her use of the devices. "I asked her to work with me," he said. "Basically, she refused."

So he sued Monribot in state district court, seeking $530,000 in damages and an injunction to force her to turn off the electronics.

"Being the target of this lawsuit has affected me very adversely," Monribot said Friday in response to e-mailed questions. "I feel as if my life and liberty are under attack for no valid reason, and it has forced me to have to defend my very basic human rights."

Firstenberg's claim has occasioned plenty of only-in-Santa-Fe eye-rolling. This is, after all, a town as known for its abundance of New Age healers, anti-nuclear activists and wealthy, turquoise-wearing expatriates as it is for spectacular sunsets and centuries-old adobe architecture.

"It makes me miss living in Santa Fe more than I have in a long time," one former resident wrote on a local newspaper blog. "When my brother sent me this link I wanted to cry from laughing so hard. I wonder if Blu-Ray players send him into convulsions? Would Bluetooth give him nosebleeds?"

Not everyone was laughing.

Nearly 400 people signed an online petition that Firstenberg helped organize against plans to add Wi-Fi antennas around town. The City Council postponed the project last month.

Dr. Erica Elliott, who treated Firstenberg and testified at a hearing on a preliminary injunction, said she signed the wireless petition because she's convinced electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a real disorder that may affect the nervous system.

Mainstream scientists object to the notion that microwaves and radio waves emitted by consumer electronics could cause the reported health problems.

Bob Park, a University of Maryland physics professor who has published a book on the subject, says that although such radiation can heat tissue, it lacks the energy to knock loose electrons and alter human DNA or otherwise cause the reported symptoms.

"It's totally implausible," Park said. The varied complaints, he said, are likely psychological in origin.

District Judge Sarah Singleton is expected to rule soon on a defense motion to dismiss the case, as well as the preliminary injunction sought by Firstenberg. She already dismissed a claim involving Monribot's iPhone because federal law prevents state courts from taking up cellphone issues.

On Friday, Monribot declined to step outside her home -- barely 30 feet from Firstenberg's house -- but agreed in a phone call to answer questions via e-mail.

She keeps in touch, she said, with relatives in the U.S., Asia, Europe and the Middle East. "Because my family members live in different time zones, I have always made myself available to them at all hours," she said. "We communicate often through Skype, Gmail chat, video and audio sessions."

Firstenberg knew this when he mentioned to her that the Casados Street house was for rent, but after Monribot moved in, he and a friend insisted that she turn off her Wi-Fi router and other equipment. She tried to comply, but felt harassed.

"I decided to bring it all to an end, stop trying to accommodate a neighbor and attempted to start concentrating on my own life again," she wrote.

Firstenberg said he was staying with friends and occasionally sleeping in his car. He finds the attention surrounding the lawsuit embarrassing, he said.

"I'm not after publicity," he said. "I just want to live. I want my home."

Heres another good article. And an attached pic.

Daily mail link of the story below..


The Daily Mail brings us the story of Sarah Dacre who suffers terribly from a range of symptoms including “hair loss, sickness, high blood-pressure, digestive and memory problems, severe headaches and dizziness. ” Sarah believes the symptoms are caused by the effects of the ‘electrosmog’ in our environment, the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) given out by mobile phones and Wi-Fi networks. She is so troubled by these devices that she resorts to wearing a metallic shield over her head. She covers her rooms with tin foil and avoids electrical equipment at all costs.

Sarah is not the only person in this position. More and more people report suffering as a result of electrosmog. The comment section in the Mail article testifies to this. Support groups have been set up and campaigning groups, such a Powerwatch, are on the case. Alasdair Philips of Powerwatch is a regular commentator on the effects of EMR. The newspapers are full of alarming reports about the problem and Alistair is there to offer his views.

As you might expect, some people are eager to cash in on the problem, selling useless devices to cure the problem, such as the QLink, and alternative ‘gurus’ like Patrick Holford selling devices to detect EMR. This could all be quackery as no-one really understands the nature of the illness yet. It may be one illness really caused by EMR exposure, but it could also be a group of unrelated problems where people just believe that it is the EMR causing their symptoms.

People do get upset though if you call an illness psychosomatic. They equate the word with ‘not real’ and see it as a threat. That could not be further from the truth. No-one is doubting that the eletrosensitives are suffering and need help, it is just that we do not need take their explanation of their illness at face value. Part of the problem is that lots is known about EMR and its effects on matter and people, and it is difficult to think up plausible explanations that could account for the wide range of symptoms and types of exposure being reported. Conversely it is quite easy to see how people could falsely believe that EMR was the cause – and be quite passionate about it.

People like explanations in their life. If you are suffering from debilitating symptoms and your doctor, or even your high street quack of choice, has no explanation, then it is easy to see how you might latch onto a ready-made explanation. We are very good at deceiving ourselves, and in particular applying post hoc logic to explain events. “I felt terrible today. It was the neighbours with their Wi-Fi on”, “Big headache came on after all those mobiles around me in town”. And so on. This self-deception may well be part of the psychosomatic illness.

Now, helping these people will depend very much on understanding the nature of the problem. Are they really being hurt by mobiles? Or, is a more subtle psychological problem at the root? Is there another problem that is being masked by their insistence on being electrosenstive? These are answerable questions where we can use science, experiment and observation to help come to some conclusions.

However, for many of the campaigners and the sufferers, there is already and answer – and it is mobile phones, it is WiFi, it is kettles and computers and modern life. No debate.

Powerwatch are already convinced it is EMR that causes these symptoms and they campaign and advise in accordance with that belief. The problem is, that if they are wrong, then they will not help their supporters get better and they will expose them to the quacks that wish to exploit the situation. If the illness is psychosomatic in nature, then it is likely that some form of talking therapy may be more beneficial than calling on governments to ban mobile phone masts and Wi-Fi hotspots.

The Powerwatch position can be seen on its ‘Dispelling the Wireless Myths’ page. It tackles the supposed myth that ‘People only got affected when the scare stories started, it must be psychosomatic’. The page counters this myth by saying,

this is a quickly dispelled myth (often also referred to as a ‘nocebo’ effect — basically a negative ‘placebo’ effect). A quick look at some of the science:

and then goes on to list four papers that we are supposed to take as evidence that the psychosomatic answer is wrong. The trouble is that all four papers appear to have nothing to do with determining if electrosensitivity is caused by EMR or if it is psychosomatic. There are papers on fruit fly eggs, sperm mobility, test-tube cells and stork nesting habits. But none on looking at humans and their exposure to EMR.

This is strange because there are plenty of papers written on the subject. So why do not Alasdair Philips and his team mention them? In fact there are well over thirty published studies looking into this question. The studies typically ask electrosensitive volunteers to record their symptoms in the presence of suspect devices like mobile phones. The trick is though that the researchers and the subjects are not told if the devices are really on or not, i.e. the trial is blinded. The thirty or so studies all do things a bit differently, but around this general theme.

Now of the studies, only seven so far have shown there is a difference between on and off, that is, that the mobile phone had some sort of affect. However, five of these positive results could not be repeated by the same researchers and the other two are thought to be statistical flukes. In other words, the vast majority of the experiments have shown that electrosensitivity has not been demonstrated to be due to exposure to EMR emitting devices.

A systematic review of most of the studies that have been done concluded,

The symptoms described by “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” sufferers can be severe and are sometimes disabling. However, it has proved difficult to show under blind conditions that exposure to EMF can trigger these symptoms. This suggests that “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” is unrelated to the presence of EMF, although more research into this phenomenon is required.

Why does Powerwatch not discuss this? Its a shame. If the people who care and campaign most on behalf of electrosensitive people are selective in their evidence, blind to alternatives and hold strong convictions, then people like Sarah Dacre in the Mail article may go on suffering. Rather than wearing that chain mail hood, perhaps Sarah may benefit from some other sort of therapy.

One thing I do on stories like this, is look for possible conflicting interests that may sway judgments. More often than not, it turns up interesting little facts that need a bit of thinking about.

In this case, I noted that Powerwatch recommend various products to help people like Sarah shield their house from EMR. Powerwatch provide a link to EMFields, a company that supplies all sorts of anti-EMR products. EMFields, also kindly provides a link to ‘consumer interest group Powerwatch that give good, practical advice’.

Now, doing a whois look up on both ‘consumer interest group’ Powerwatch and commercial trading business EMFields, shows that both domains are registered to an Alasdair Philips of Ely. Are they by chance related?


The woman who needs a veil of protection from modern life

No, she's NOT a beekeeper. This woman believes that her bizarre headgear can save her from the dangerous electrosmog all around us. Can she possibly be right?

Before knocking on Sarah Dacre's door, I take the precaution of checking my mobile phone. It's switched off, as she has requested.

"Last time someone came to visit," she warns, "I started feeling awfully nauseous. It turned out he had a picture phone with him and had left it switched on. A picture phone!"

She pauses, looking genuinely horrified. Apparently, this type of mobile automatically sends signals to a local base station every nine minutes - "No wonder I felt so sick."

We sit down in the living-room of the airy, north London house that, for the past two years, has been Sarah's refuge from modern life. Save for the absence of a television, it looks ordinary enough.

But beneath the coats of magnolia paint, she points out, the walls are lined with a special paper that contains a layer of tin-foil; and upstairs, the windows are hung with a fine, silvery gauze.

These aren't idiosyncratic decorating decisions, though. All these silvery layers are here for a purpose: to keep the 21st century at bay.

Sarah, 51, is one of a growing band of people who claim to be experiencing extreme - and incapacitating - sensitivity to electrical appliances, as well as to certain frequencies of electromagnetic waves.

"Wi-Fi, or wireless broadband networks, seem to be the worst thing," she says.

"Closely followed by mobile phones - particularly if they're being used in an enclosed space - the base stations of cordless telephones and mobile phone masts.

"I have to restrict the amount of time I spend on the computer or watching television, and make sure I don't have too many household appliances on at once, because that sets me off as well."

This may sound bizarre, but there is no doubt that Sarah's symptoms are real.

To date, they include hair loss, sickness, high blood-pressure, digestive and memory problems, severe headaches and dizziness.

They strike with such ferocity that, since diagnosing herself as "electrically sensitive" in May 2005, she has been marooned at home.

She can't work. When she wants to phone friends, she has to use a land-line - a significant advancement, it turns out, because she was so ill at one stage, she says, that she couldn't even touch an ordinary receiver without feeling a violent shock pass up her arm.

Food shopping is done as rapidly as possible, once a week, at a time carefully chosen to avoid younger people and their permanently switched-on mobile phones.

And she can venture into built-up areas only if she is swathed in a net-and-hat ensemble made from a special "shielding fabric" that makes her look like a bee-keeper.

"I'm sure people laugh," she says, "but I don't mind as long as it keeps me well."

Finding her own solutions - however outwardly bizarre - has been essential because, for the moment at least, the medical establishment does not even accept that her condition exists.

Fortunately, some individual doctors have been sympathetic to her plight.

Dr Sarah Myhill, who is registered with the General Medical Council and practises privately in Wales, says: "There is no doubt that electrical sensitivity is a real phenomenon - I have seen too many people affected by electro-magnetic radiation (EMR) to think otherwise.

"Clinically, I nearly always see electrical sensitivity in people who are already suffering from chemical sensitivity.

"There are many symptoms that can be switched on by electrical sensitivity, and it appears that almost any electro-magnetic frequency can be the cause."

Even so, I cannot help feeling a little sceptical. Is there any suggestion that ES could be a psychosomatic illness, I ask Sarah (who, in fairness, does not seem to be particularly highly-strung).

"Inevitably, people suggest that," she says, with a flick of her auburn, Farrah Fawcett-style hair.

"But at one time, ME sufferers were accused of having psychosomatic symptoms and were ignored as a result. Now, the illness is formally recognised.

"Before this, I'd barely had a day ill in my life - I've always been a very energetic, dynamic person.

"I had a career in banking, then in events management, and then I ran my own television production company.

I was always busy and I was always out doing things - skiing, tango lessons, looking after my son, Josh, who's now 17. I had a very active life and I loved it.

"Now, I have no income because I can't work and I have no choice but to devote all my energies to fighting to find out more about my allergies."

The first symptoms started about five years ago. At first, Sarah ignored them, hoping they might be due to tiredness or stress and would simply go away.

Gradually, though, her condition deteriorated. And about two years ago, she says "everything hit at once, like a car crash. As well as the exhaustion and nausea, I even lost the sight in my right eye."

A stream of doctors, complementary practitioners and Chinese herbalists all failed to alleviate any of her symptoms or come up with a diagnosis.

Instead, she found an answer on Google - through websites such as electrosensitivity.org.uk.

All her symptoms seemed to match those of people who believe they are allergic to modern life.

She lists some of the offending items that were in her home: "I had a burglar alarm emitting microwave radiation, I used a mobile phone constantly, I had two cordless phones and countless appliances - all of which have an electromagnetic field associated with them."

Convinced that she had almost certainly found the cause of her illness, she ordered, from the internet, some special rolls of foil wallpaper and a fabric called Swiss bobbinet - a netting made from polyester filaments dipped in silver.

Both promised to "shield" her from any emissions from phone masts or wireless broadband systems.

Within a few weeks of the wallpaper going up and the windows being hung with netting, she began to feel better.

So much so that when she suddenly had an offer on her house, which she had been desperate to sell for seven months, she decided not to sell after all.

Since then, she has gradually managed to find other ways to help her cope.

She can use her computer for up to three hours a day, "but only if I keep myself absolutely detoxed all the time, drinking plenty of water and revolving my meals so that I don't become sensitive to certain types of food as well."

Her long-term (some would say long-suffering) boyfriend, Rod, a gold and silversmith who lives in Kent, has been sympathetic, she says. But there have been unexpected setbacks that might test the happiest of couples.

Last month, she had a relapse and started to panic.

"I'd been feeling quite bright and energetic; then suddenly, for three nights, I couldn't sleep," she says.

"I really felt it was back to how it was in the beginning, when I didn't know what was wrong with me. I was exhausted, developed bladder problems, felt ill. That's when I decided to run some tests."

Using an "electrosmog detector" - the name given to a device that can apparently register levels of electromagnetic activity - she checked her bedroom.

"And there was radiation streaming in through the one wall that I thought I hadn't needed to protect. We have some new neighbours, and I think they must have installed wireless broadband."

To ensure a good night's sleep, Sarah now takes the precaution of swathing herself in her special silver netting.

She is concerned by the increasing spread of wireless networks.

"I think it's a terrible mistake," she says. "Is Wi-Fi going to turn out to be the tobacco, asbestos or Thalidomide of the 21st century? It's looking that way.

"And instead of testing it out properly, what are we doing? We're putting it into schools, exposing small children to it all day long, and opening up entire Wi-Fi areas - they've just created a giant new Wi-Fi zone in the City of London.

"It horrifies me to think of people in small houses or flats who might be affected by several overlapping wireless networks at once."

Yet the scientific case for electrosensitivity (ES) is threadbare. The World Health Organisation's position is that "there is no scientific basis to link ES symptoms to EMR exposure.

"Further, ES is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem."

This week, Professor David Coggan, a member of the Health Protection Agency's advisory group on non-ionising radiation, told BBC's Newsnight: "There is quite a lot of evidence now accumulated on mobile phones and health - and the balance of evidence overall doesn't point to problems.

"There's still uncertainty and there still needs to be further research, but so far we don't have a concern.

"And on that basis, the concern about Wi-Fi is much lower on the scale than, say, that about pan-global influenza."

Other research has backed the view of the medical and scientific establishment.

In one "provocation" study, a number of people who claimed to have electrical sensitivity were placed in a room with a mobile phone and not told whether or not it was switched on.

Asked by a researcher how they felt, they failed to establish any link between physical symptoms and the alleged trigger.

Sarah Dacre believes that this is because the tests were carried out in an area with high background electrosmog.

"Once you are sensitised," she says, "that's it.

"It's like having a glass of wine - it's cumulative in your system.

"You don't stop being drunk once you have finished drinking, so you can't then be tested sober."

She continues to campaign for electrosensitivity to be recognised as a valid medical complaint linked to electromagnetic fields.

"While I'm up and about," she says a little sadly, "I'm going to do something about it."


Edited by zalternate
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