Green Bank is a small town deep in the mountains of in West Virginia. Its primary claim to fame is that it is the home of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, the world’s premiere single-dish radio telescope, along with a number of other telescopes. As such, it is in the centre of the 13,000 sq miles (33,000 sq km) US Radio Quiet Zone to minimize interference with the telescopes.
With a 2010 census population of 143, Green Bank has become home to dozens of people who believe they are suffering from electromagnetic hypersensitivity. One of these is Diane Schou who for years was ‘forced’ to live in a Faraday Cage to protect herself.
BBC has the story.
“Living here allows me to be more of a normal person. I can be outdoors. I don’t have to stay hidden in a Faraday Cage,” she says.
“I can see the sunrise, I can see the stars at night, and I can be in the rain.
“Here in Green Bank allows me to be with people. People here do not carry cell phones so I can socialise.
“I can go to church, I can attend some celebrations, I can be with people. I couldn’t do that when I had to remain in the Faraday Cage.”
Although there is no reason to doubt her symptoms or the fact that she suffers terribly.
Symptoms range from acute headaches, skin burning, muscle twitching and chronic pain….
“My face turns red, I get a headache, my vision changes, and it hurts to think. Last time [I was exposed] I started getting chest pains – and to me that’s becoming life-threatening,” Ms Schou says.
There is however, very good reason to doubt is that her symptoms are caused by electromagnetic waves. I’ve written about the non-existent dangers of Wi-Fi and EMFs several times before. More can easily be added. The WHO does not recognize electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a disorder, and researchers continually fail to find any real sensitivity when they conduct literature reviews.
There are always those who disagree. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but caution must be exercised.
Research by scientists at Louisiana State University and published by the International Journal of Neuroscience, claims to show that EHS can be caused by low frequency electromagnetic fields found in the environment.
In this study, one person, self diagnosed with EHS was tested with exposure to electromagnetic fields of varying strengths or no field at all, while the paper stated that neither her nor her interviewer were aware of whether or not a field was being applied, it did not rule out other possibilities of introduced bias.
The results section of the paper states
The overall yes response rate in the field trials was (51/586) x 100 = 8.7%. The occurrence of a yes response was significantly associated with the presence of the field (P < 0.05) (Table 5a), but the sensitivity of the yes responses was low ([32/(32 + 261)] x 100 = 11%). The yes response rate in the sham trials was slightly higher than that seen in the field trials ([27/273 = 9.9%])
So, in one self diagnosed individual, they managed a measurable response. That, in my mind, is not terribly convincing.
The truth, is out there. However, in this case, the truth is much more likely to be a collection of symptoms with either unrelated causes, or a single cause other than electromagnetic waves. As far as the science is concerned, it is highly unlikely the cause is rampant EMFs.