My View: Nothing fake about EMF sensitivity
By Victoria Jewett | Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2013 7:00 am
Dorothy Klopf’s opinion piece, (“Mad science in City Different,” Jan. 27) denigrates an entire class of people about whom she knows nothing.
I work for a national organization that provides desperately needed support to people who, like Arthur Firstenberg, have been sensitized to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and can now barely exist in modern society because of the proliferation of antennas and wireless devices. Hospitals, courthouses, airports, hotels, almost all workplaces, and most other public places are dense with smartphones and Wi-Fi signals and are difficult or impossible for these people to endure, depending on the severity of their disability. We provide referrals to doctors, lawyers, engineers and other professionals who can serve this population. We are asked almost daily, by a wide range of people, if we know of a safe place where they can relocate, away from radiation. Many are professionals — some doctors and lawyers themselves — who, forced into “retirement,” just want to find a place where they can survive. Many are living in their vehicles in remote places, and, increasingly, cannot find a safe haven anywhere because, contrary to Ms. Klopf’s assumption, it is no longer easy to escape the reach of wireless infrastructure. You cannot imagine what life has become for these people who are then also subject to disbelief and disrespect.
This is not pseudoscience. Our organization’s library contains more than 1,000 studies showing harm at the cellular and organ levels from even the smallest doses of microwave radiation, and elevated risk for cancer, Alzheimer’s, autism, ADD, diabetes, heart disease and sleep disorders. As with any other disease or environmental factor, human beings are extremely variable. Some are much more vulnerable than others. These individuals should not be pilloried. Rather, like the canaries in the coal mine, they are warning us that something is wrong.
We have a letter, dated Oct. 26, 2000, from James Raggio, General Counsel for the U.S. Access Board, the federal agency that administers the Americans with Disabilities Act. He states: “We have heard from thousands of people across the country who are sensitized to chemicals and electromagnetic, radio and cellphone emissions. … There are many people with these and related disabilities whose condition is so severe that they cannot live in conventional housing.”
In 2011, the Council of Europe unanimously passed a resolution concerning wireless technology. The council, whose mission is protecting human rights, founded the European Court of Human Rights in 1959. The council has now recognized “biological effects on plants, insects and animals as well as the human body,” recommended wired Internet connections in schools, and urged its 47 member nations to “pay particular attention to ‘electrosensitive’ persons suffering from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network.”
This is outside of most people’s paradigm — until it happens to them.
In 2002, Gro Harlem Brundtland, then head of the World Health Organization, told a Norwegian journalist that cellphones were banned from her office in Geneva because she personally became ill if a cellphone was brought within about four meters (13 feet) of her. Brundtland is a medical doctor and former prime minister of Norway. This sensational news, published March 9, 2002, in Dagbladet, was ignored by every other newspaper in the world. Michael Repacholi, her subordinate in charge of the International EMF Project, responded with a public statement belittling her concerns. Five months later, for reasons that many suspect were related to these circumstances, Brundtland announced she would step down from her leadership post at the WHO after just one term.
Victoria Jewett lives in Santa Fe.