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Electrical Fields Can Make You Sick
The Sunday Times-Britain, September
by Sarah-Kate Templeton,
GOVERNMENT agency has acknowledged for the first time that people can
suffer nausea, headaches and muscle pains when exposed to
electromagnetic fields from mobile phones, electricity pylons and
condition known as electrosensitivity, a heightened reaction to
electrical energy, will be recognised as a physical impairment.
report by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), to be published next
month, will state that increasing numbers of British people are
suffering from the syndrome. While the total figure is not known,
thousands are believed to be affected to some extent.
report, by the agency’s radiation protection division, is expected to
say that GPs do not know how to treat sufferers and that more research
is needed to find cures. It will give a full list of the symptoms,
which can include dizziness, irregular heartbeat and loss of memory.
most European countries do not recognise the condition, Britain will
follow Sweden where electrosensitivity was recognised as a physical
impairment in 2000. About 300,000 Swedish men and women are sufferers.
acknowledgement may fuel legal action by sufferers who claim mobile
phone masts have made them ill.
January Sir William Stewart, chairman of the HPA and the government’s
adviser on mobile phones, warned that a small proportion of the
population could be harmed by exposure to electromagnetic fields, and
called for careful examination of the problem.
HPA has now reviewed all scientific literature on electrosensitivity
and concluded that it is a real syndrome. The condition had previously
been dismissed as psychological.
findings should lead to better treatment for sufferers. In Sweden
people who are allergic to electrical energy receive government support
to reduce exposure in their homes and workplaces.
cables are installed in sufferers’ homes while electric cookers are
replaced with gas stoves. Walls, roofs, floors and windows can be
covered with a thin aluminium foil to keep out the electromagnetic
field — the area of energy that occurs round any electrically
campaigners believe electrical devices in the home and the workplace,
as well as mobile phones emitting microwave radiation, have created an
environmental trigger for the syndrome.
is particular concern about exposure to emissions from mobile phone
masts or base stations, often located near schools or hospitals.
January Stewart also called for a national review of planning rules for
masts. The review was launched by the government in April.
sufferers report feeling they are being “zapped” by electromagnetic
fields from appliances and go out of their way to avoid them. Some have
moved to remote areas where electromagnetic pollution is lower.
HPA report is eagerly awaited by campaigners. Alasdair Philips,
director of the campaign group Powerwatch, said: “This will help the
increasing number of people who tell us their GPs do not know how to
Read, chairman of Electrosensitivity UK, added: “This will be the
beginning of an awareness of a new form of pollution from electrical
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