Electrosensitivity (being made ill by the man-made electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones and phone masts, wifi, smart meters, fluorescent lights etc etc) has been recognised as a ‘functional impairment’ in Sweden for some years. But in the rest of Europe (indeed the world) ES sufferers have struggled to have their illness recognised by doctors, let alone by employment tribunals. So the recent news from France is very welcome.
I do not know the full details of the case, but whatever they are, on the 1st April La Maison Départmentale des Personnes en Situation de Handicap in Toulouse accepted that 39-year-old Marine Richard suffers from ‘a syndrome of hypersensibility to electromagnetic waves and that, even if this condition is not recognised in France, it is in other countries. The description of the clinical signs is irrefutable. The symptoms disappear as soon as the cause (the electromagnetic waves) is eliminated; but this elimination imposes on her a way of life and sacrifices which cannot be simulated. In an area protected (from electromagnetic radiation) her symptoms do not exist; in a ‘hostile’ environment they are 100%.’
The deposition goes on to describe the things that Marine Richard cannot do and how she has had to alter her house to protect her self; it recognises that there is, currently, no treatment for this condition except to try to escape from the radiation. More importantly, it recognises that she is effectively 85% disabled and is unable to work as a result of her handicap. They therefore accept that she is entitled to the same support as any other handicapped person and have allocated her that support for a two year period, after which, presumably, the situation will be reviewed.
Well done the good burghers of Toulouse. But then, France is a good deal more advanced in this area than many other countries in Europe – especially the UK. Wifi is banned in French nursery schools and its use is restricted in primary schools for example. For a good article on wifi in schools see Florence Waters in the Telegraph on May 9th this year.
In this article Dr Erica Mallery Blythe, a leading medical specialist on ES, is widely quoted and, if you do not know much about ES do either watch the presentation in the article (although it is quite long….) or watch her much shorter but helpful video introduction to the subject given at the Commonwealth Club of California in June.
And while on the subject of ES…. ES-UK, the excellent support group helping those who suffer from electrosensitivity, has just produced an updated version of their information pack which includes a directory of screening products and of the various devices that can be used to measure radiation levels and protect yourself against them. You will need to make a small donation to the group but they do a fantastic job, so your money will be well spent!
And if you are wondering what I am doing swathed in grey netting at the top the page…. The picture dates from the days when I was very electrosensitive myself and could only go out at all if I was wrapped in silvery netting. The silver threads created a sort of mini Faraday cage around my body and head protecting me from some, although certainly not all, of the ambient radiation. Incidentally, one of the most difficult aspects of ES is that protecting yourself against radiation is not cheap – this silver net fabric cost around £50 a metre and if you have been made so ill by radiation that you are no longer able to work, then protecting yourself becomes financially impossible.