A French woman has won a court-ordered disability grant after claiming to suffer from a 'gadget allergy' due to electromagnetic radiation.
Marine Richard, who lives in the mountains of southwest France to avoid electronics, said that the ruling was a "breakthrough" for people who claim to suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS).
Sufferers say they experience symptoms including headaches, nausea, tiredness and 'tingling' sensations when exposed to electromagnetic radiation from cellphones, WiFi or even just batteries, screens and other elements of technology which give off electromagnetic radiation. In the UK several forums and groups exist to help self-identified sufferers, including ES UK
Scientific studies have not demonstrated a clear link between the type of radiation emitted by household gadgets and health problems in humans. EHS is not a recognized condition in the UK, and Public Health England has said there is no evidence that these low-level fields damage health
. The government does recognize the minor health impacts of some very high-level electromagnetic radiation exposure however, such as from power lines
The World Health Organisation is often cited by those seeking recognition for EHS because it does recognize the condition. However the WHO does not accept the condition is linked to electromagnetic radiation, and suggests merely that more research is needed into the health effects of radiation. It also states that "research has not been able to provide support for a causal relationship between exposure to electromagnetic fields and self-reported symptoms, or “electromagnetic hypersensitivity"".
Many people claim to suffer from the condition, however, and some scientists have suggested it could be a real -- though essentially psychosomatic -- response to a fear of the effects of radiation, rather than a symptom. In Sweden and Germany the condition is classified as an "occupational disease", though debate still continues in those countries as to the science behind the symptoms.
Concerns about the condition have also been raised in the US, where parents of a boy reportedly suffering from exposure to "high-intensity WiFi" at school have launched a lawsuit in Massachusetts asking the school to investigate.
"The high-density Wi-Fi used in the Fay classrooms is causing G to suffer headaches, chest pains, nosebleeds, nausea, dizziness, and rashes, all recognized symptoms of EHS," the family has claimed, with the support of a doctor -- though school officials say that radiation emitted by their WiFi is less than 10,000 times as strong as the legal limit.