A haven for the electrosensitive

A long, detailed and interesting feature at Slate about people who think they are suffering from Electromagnetic Sensitivity and where they go for relief.

Green Bank, W.V., where the electrosensitive can escape the modern world. – Slate Magazine.

Green Bank, W.Va., is [...] inside the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000–square-mile area where most types of electromagnetic radiation on the radio spectrum (which includes radio and TV broadcasts, Wi-Fi networks, cell signals, Bluetooth, and the signals used by virtually every other wireless device) are banned to minimize disturbance around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.

A few dozen people who believe they are adversely affected by radio frequencies have moved here on purpose and say they feel better.

Here in the United States, West Virginia’s Radio Quiet Zone has become a gathering place for the hypersensitive since the mid-2000s, when they first began arriving. Most find out about the area through EHS groups, at conferences, or by reading about it in the handful of news reports published over the last few years. Diane Schou estimates that, so far, 36 people like her have settled in and around the tiny town to escape radiation.

Some people live without modern conveniences. And some locals are not happy to rent to EHS people because they think they will cause trouble. They ask for accommodations such as turning off fluorescent lights.

So what does the science say about this. Well, we gathered some references before. The science does not show HARM. But you can’t tell people that who are suffering. The article describes how some who believe this condition is real because of only their experience think that the government KNOWS it’s a hazard but do it anyway. That’s ridiculous. We’ve all lived with EMF radiation our whole lives and live longer and better for the conveniences. It could be, as we see in many of these stories, that people are fed up with undiagnosed illness and the stress of modern life. Simplicity is an answer and removal from the modern world is how they accomplish this. It is a serious disorder but the cause may be misattributed.

This article is excellent, touching on past fears of new technology and its effects, various logical fallacies, nocebo effect and the testing that has failed to show that under controlled conditions, people can actually tell when EMF fields are on. They decry those studies because they do not show what they want them to show. There is a quote from Skeptoid’s Brian Dunning.

Electromagnetic sensitivity – Can’t escape it, but here is the science.

See all our past stories on electromagnetic sensitivity here.

  4 comments for “A haven for the electrosensitive

  1. Chris Howard
    April 12, 2013 at 7:51 PM

    Don’t EMF’s occur in naturally, as well?

  2. Chris Howard
    April 12, 2013 at 7:52 PM

    Wow. Sorry. “Occur naturally, as well?”

  3. April 12, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    I would like one, just one EHS person, to explain to me the difference between ionising and non-ionising radiation. But they never do in comments where I enounter them. I just get the “But science doesn’t know everything!” reply.

  4. Stuart Robbins
    April 13, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    I’d like just one EHS “sufferer” to explain why they can’t tell when there’s a solar flare. You know, those things with so much EM radiation that they can zap satellites and drive aurora to mid-latitudes.

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