Friday, April 19, 2013

Mobile Phones and ADHD: Is There a Link? April 17th, 2013

Mobile Phones and ADHD: Is There a Link?

April 17th, 2013

TherapyNewsPic71Yoon Hwan Byun of the Department of Medicine at Dankook University College of Medicine in Korea recently conducted a study that suggests a possible link between symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) and mobile phone use. Byun wanted to expand upon the existing literature on this topic by looking at how radio-frequency electromagnetic fields (RF-EMF) affected developing brains with prolonged exposure. The data that is available on this topic points to a possible, but inconclusive, link. Because mobile phone exposure is virtually impossible to avoid, it is important to know if the RFs of mobile phones can cause or influence ADHD. Another variable in the equation are blood lead levels, which appear to be higher in children with RF exposure. Although some research has been able to show that mobile phone exposure in utero increases the risk of conduct and behavior problems in children, there is no existing research that demonstrates a clear relationship between prenatalmobile phone exposure and later neurological developmental impairment in children.
Therefore, Byun assessed more than 2,400 elementary school children for mobile phone exposure and ADHD symptoms via parental reports. Two years later, Byun re-interviewed the participants and found that children who used mobile phones for voice calls were more likely to develop symptoms of ADHD than those who didn’t, but this was only statistically significant in children who were also exposed to high levels of lead. However, all children who played games on phones were at increased risk for ADHD symptoms with low-lead blood level children showing particular vulnerability. Also, the children who stopped using mobile phones during the study period had a much sharper decline in symptoms than those who continued using mobile phones. Byun added, “Therefore, preventing the use of mobile phones in children may be one measure to keep children from developing ADHD symptoms regardless of the possible roles of mobile phone use in ADHD symptoms.”
Byun notes that although these findings shed new light on the possible impact of RF-EMF on developing brains, there may be a reverse causality. In other words, children who spend an exorbitant amount of time playing video games may do so because of more severe ADHD symptoms, such as inattention and hyperfocusing. Nevertheless, the results of this study do offer further evidence that lead exposure and RF exposure increase dramatically with mobile phone use. The full impact of these exposures on ADHD and other cognitive and behavioral outcomes has yet to be clarified and more work should be devoted to this issue.
Byun Y-H, Ha M, Kwon H-J, Hong Y-C, Leem J-H, et al. (2013). Mobile phone use, blood Lead levels, and attention deficit hyperactivity symptoms in children: A longitudinal study. PLoS ONE 8(3): e59742. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0059742
© Copyright 2013 by Bellevue Bureau - All Rights Reserved.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

EMR Action Day April 21, 2013

Worldwide EMR Action Day aligns with Earth Day 2013 to protect the biological integrity of the natural world and all its inhabitants against unnatural Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR).  With this endeavour, people from around the planet join together to reduce harm from EMR and create a healthier life for all.
Man-made EMR is the only hazard that reaches every square centimetre of Earth’s surface at every moment, harming people, animals, insects and plant life. Electromagnetic pollution has been imposed upon us by military and industrial interests, with devastating health, environmental and social consequences.  From microwave (MW) and radio-frequency (RF) radiation to extremely low frequency (ELF) fields, sources include:
  • so-called ‘smart’ utility grids, meters and appliances
  • wireless internet (wi-fi), wi-max and their infrastructures
  • mobile phones and their antenna infrastructure on masts, rooftops and in disguised structures
  • cordless phones and their bases
  • microwave oven leakage
  • baby monitors and children’s RF-related toys
  • RF medical devices
  • RFID-embedded chips in people, animals, consumer products, and identity and credit cards
  • direct-energy and other EM weaponry
  • TV, radio and satellite broadcasts
  • radar and sonar
  • the electrical power grid, appliances and broadband over power lines (BPL)
  • fluorescent lights, including compact fluorescent lightbulbs (CFLs)

While some man-made EMR sources are falsely marketed as ‘green’, they all independently produce adverse biological and health effects. The effects markedly worsen with prolonged exposure or when combined with additional EMR sources, chemical toxicants or metals. MW radiation intensities in urban areas can be over a trillion times higher than natural background levels.
All life is electromagnetic in function. From the symbiotic balance of wildlife ecosystems to the health of our internal cells and organs – especially the brain and heart – living systems depend on undisturbed electrical signaling processes. All creatures derive a sense of wellbeing from the Earth’s own Schumann Resonances and other natural fields, which have now been overwhelmed by man-made EMR. 
Scientists and experts in policy and law, examining thousands of research studies, warn of immediate and long-term hazards and call for minimised exposures.  EMR Action Day provides support and information on sources, effects and solutions to communities and individuals in need.
Harmful EMR also includes ionising radiation from nuclear power plants and nuclear weapons. We urge reduced exposures to all such sources including medical tests, treatments and wastes.
EMR Action Day proposes new choices for safer and lower energy consumption: hard-wiring and fibre-optics in homes, schools and workplaces; shielding materials; and safe White Zones and other EMR-free solutions. We engage people in minimising EMR exposures and reconnecting with their own natural biorhythms. By our judicial, legislative, media, artistic and other creative endeavours, we act to free humankind, defend public safety and restore electromagnetic harmony to the Earth.
Our focus is on solutions that benefit us all.

Environmental Fields (EMF) Interact with Living Systems to Affect Health (book chapter)

Environmental Fields (EMF) Interact with Living Systems to Affect Health (book chapter)

Panagopoulos, DJ. Electromagnetic Interaction between Environmental Fields and Living Systems Determines Health and Well-Being. In Kwang, MH. and Yoon, SO. (eds.) Electromagnetic Fields: Principles, Engineering Applications and Biophysical Effects. Nova Publishers. 2013. URL:

This 41 page book chapter can be downloaded from:

Summary (from Abstract)

The chapter presents data showing the electric nature of the natural environment and living organisms and discusses how the interaction between the two, determines health and well-being.

A brief theoretical background of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and the differences between natural and man-made electromagnetic radiation are discussed.

The electromagnetic nature of the natural environment is discussed – terrestrial electric and magnetic fields, natural radiation from the sun and stars, cosmic microwaves and natural radioactivity. All living organisms live in harmony with these fields as long as these fields are within normal levels and not disturbed by changes, usually in solar activity.

The electrical nature of all living organisms is determined by electrical properties of cell membranes, the circadian biological clock, endogenous electric currents within cells and tissues, and intracellular ionic oscillations.

The periodicity of our natural environment mainly determined by movement of the earth around its axis and around the sun implies the periodic function of the suprahiasmatic nuclei (SCN) - a group of neurons located above the optic chiasm - which constitute the central circadian biological clock in mammals. The chapter describes: 1) the probable connection between the central biological clock with the endogenous electric oscillations within cells and organs constituting the “peripheral clocks”; 2) how the central clock controls the function of peripheral ones in the heart, brain, and all parts of the body by electrical and chemical signals; 3) how cellular/tissue functions are initiated and controlled by endogenous (intracellular/trans-cellular) weak electric currents consisting of directed free ion flows through the cytoplasm and the plasma membrane, and 4) the connection of these currents with the function of the circadian biological clock.

Experimental data are presented which show that the endogenous electric currents and the functions they control can be easily varied by externally applied EMF of similar or even smaller intensities than those generating the endogenous currents.

Two possible ways by which external EMFs like those produced by human technology can distort the physiological endogenous electric currents and the corresponding biological/physiological functions are discussed: 1) by direct interference between the external and the endogenous fields and, 2) by alteration of the intracellular ionic concentrations (i.e. by changing the number of electric current carriers within the cells) after irregular gating of electrosensitive ion channels on the cell membranes.

Finally, the chapter discusses how maintenance of this EMF equilibrium between living organisms and the natural environment, determines health and well-being, and how its disturbance will inevitably lead sooner or later to health effects.

Book’s Table of Contents

-Earth’s Natural Electromagnetic Noises in a Very-Low Frequency Band  (Yury P. Malyshkov, Sergey Yu. Malyshkov, Vasily F. Gordeev, Sergey G. Shtalin, Vitaly I. Polivach, Vladimir A. Krutikov, Michail M. Zaderigolova, Institute of Monitoring of Climate and Ecosystems, Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Science, Russia, and others) 

-Electromagnetic Interaction between Environmental Fields and Living Systems Determines Health and Well-Being (Dimitris J. Panagopoulos, University of Athens, Department of Biology, Athens, Greece, and others) 

-Thermodynamics of Surface Electromagnetic Waves (Illarion Dorofeyev, Institute for Physics of Microstructures, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nizhny, Novgorod, Russia) 

-Magnetic Field Originated by Power Lines (J.A. Brandão Faria, M.E. Almeida Pedro, Instituto de Telecomunicações, Instituto Superior Técnico, Technical University of Lisbon, Portugal) 

-Microwave Heating for Metallurgical Engineering (Jingjing Yang, Ming Huang, Jinhui Peng, Wireless Innovation Lab, School of Information Science and Engineering, Yunnan University, Kunming, People’s Republic of China, and others) 

-Extremely Low Frequency Electromagnetic Field and Cytokines Production (M. Reale, P. Amerio, Dept. of Experimental and Clinical Sciences, Dept. of Aging Medicine and Science (DMSI), Dermatologic Clinic, University "G. d'Annunzio" Chieti-Pescara, Chieti, Italy) 

-High Frequency Induction Heating for High Quality Injection Molding (Keun Park, Seoul National University of Science & Technology, Seoul, Korea) 

-Electromagnetic Characterization of Electrically Small Piezoelectric Antennas and Waveguiding Devices for Detection of Cancer-Related Anomalies in Biological Tissues (Diego Caratelli, Alessandro Massaro, Delft University of Technology, Microwave Technology and Systems for Radar (MTS-Radar), Delft, the Netherlands, and others) 

-Electro-Magnetic Field Induced Entropy Production in a Cell: Its Difference between Cancerous and Normal Cells (Liaofu Luo, Changjiang Ding, School of Physical Science, Inner Mongolia University, Hohhot, China, and others) 

-An Evaluation of Neurotoxicity Markers in Rat Brains, using a Pre-Convulsive Model and Exposure to 900 MHZ Modulated GSM Radio Frequency (María Elena López-Martín, Francisco José Ares-Pena, Morphological Sciences Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain, and others) 

-The Effect of Settlement Reoccupation on Electromagnetic Induction Data Sets in Archaeology (Daniel P. Bigman, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia, USA) 

-New Cooperative Effects in Single- and Two-Photon Interactions of Radiators with Electromagnetic Bath (Nicolae Enaki, Quantum Optics and Kinetic Process Laboratory, Institute of Applied Physics, Academy of Sciences of Moldova, Chisinau MD)

Settlement proposal would drop San Francisco’s bid to label cellphone dangers

This is outright disgusting! The fact that corporations have gained so much power in our society to be able to overturn legitimate laws that serve to protect the public and threaten elected governments with their lawyers shows just how far our system has been flushed down the toilet and just how far our rights have been stripped from us.


Settlement proposal would drop San Francisco’s bid to label cellphone dangers

By: Chris Roberts | 04/16/13 8:37 PM
S.F. Examiner Staff Writer | Follow On Twitter @Cbloggy
San Francisco Right to Know Act
San Francisco’s Right to Know Act would have required cellphone merchants to post warnings and distribute fact sheets about the radiation emitted by such devices.
Although it’s far from clear whether cellphones cause cancer, a first-of-its-kind San Francisco law requiring phone merchants to disclose mobile devices’ possible health risks has caused The City no shortage of headaches.
The 2½ years of legal wrangling over the Cell Phone Right to Know Act would end under a proposed settlement that would see the law overturned but also would not stick taxpayers with the attorney fees of cellphone industry lobbyists, believed to be in the six figures, according to court documents.
The law was introduced by then-Mayor Gavin Newsom and approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2010. It required disclosure of the radiation emitted by cellphones — the specific absorption rate, or SAR — and provided customers with a Department of the Environment-created fact sheet along with each newly purchased device.
The fact sheets warned phone users to keep devices away from the brain and reproductive organs, and advocated for headset use. Posters detailing the potential health risks would have been prominently displayed in stores, and warning stickers would accompany phones.
The law was scheduled to go into effect in October 2011, but almost immediately after its passage, a cellphone industry group called CTIA-The Wireless Association sued.
The July 2010 lawsuit alleged that the cellphone disclosure requirements violated federal law, including merchants’ First Amendment rights to not provide information with which they disagreed.  
A federal district judge upheld a modified version of the law that eliminated the SAR warnings and focused on the fact sheets, but the entire law was struck down by a federal appeals court in September 2012. According to the court, the fact sheet expressed The City’s “opinion,” not indisputably proved by science, that cellphones are dangerous.
The City and CTIA would have gone back to trial in February 2014. But attorneys hashed out the settlement agreement, which would see the law thrown out and litigation end.
Because it does not leave The City on the hook for CTIA’s legal bills, the settlement might be San Francisco’s best move, according to City Attorney’s Office spokesman Matt Dorsey.
“Without getting into details about this particular case, these kinds of constitutional challenges to local ordinances can run up fees in the mid- to high six figures,” Dorsey said Tuesday.
A spokesman for the Washington, D.C.-based CTIA said the group had no comment. San Francisco-based attorney Robert Allan Mittelstaedt, one of the lead attorneys for the association, did not respond to a request for comment.
The settlement still must be approved by the Board of Supervisors. A committee is expected to consider the settlement in a closed session this week.
The radiation warnings were part of a series of laws that attracted undue nationwide attention to San Francisco. A bid to regulate Happy Meal toys became fodder for Fox News and was seen as an overbearing nanny-state law.

Read more at the San Francisco Examiner:

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Documentary About Microwave Sickness: "Where can we live?"

Documentary About Microwave Sickness: "Where can we live?"

I never imagined my sister would die

I never imagined my sister would die

Tue, Jan 24, 2012, 00:00
First published:
Tue, Jan 24, 2012, 00:00


Sophia's nervous system had been ravaged by ME

BEFORE MY sister Sophia got Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), I had subconsciously
developed a disparaging view of the disease. The little I knew about ME at the
turn of the century was from how it had been portrayed in the tabloid press.

ME had been painted as some kind of luxury illness, labelled "yuppie flu". It
seemed a very boring disease and I can't say I had any interest in it.

I had got the impression ME was kind of a sabbatical illness, an excuse for a
few weeks off work to recharge the batteries. So when my mum told me Sophia had
ME, I wasn't that worried.

Sophia, two years my junior, had had meningitis before and malaria twice. What
was ME compared to those bad boys? My feisty sister could easily whip this
lily-livered ME.

I was living in New York at the time and on transatlantic phone calls with our
Irish mum, she would tell me how my sister had had to leave her London life
because she was too ill to look after herself. She told me Sophia was getting
worse and that nearly everything hurt my sister.

I thought my mum was exaggerating; how can everything hurt Sophia?

Light hurt my sister, noise, smells, vibrations, the list went on. My then
26-year-old sister had almost zero energy and had to lie in a blackened room day
and night, wearing a blindfold and earplugs, in constant pain.

If that wasn't bad enough, the doctors treating her said this disease was a mere
"wrong belief", despite doing no physical tests on their patient. And just for
good measure they called my mum an enabler, for believing her youngest child was
genuinely ill and threatened to remove her as Sophia's carer.

I listened to what my mum told me, but I couldn't really take it in. How could
Sophia be so desperately ill for months on end? The ME my mum described was like
nothing I had read about on the net. ME is often referred to as Chronic Fatigue
Syndrome (CFS) and the information my Google searches revealed at the time did
not correspond with what my mum was describing about Sophia. I believed my mum,
but I could not grasp just how ill my sister was.

By the time I came back to Britain, I was still none the wiser, but I was more
clued up about telling people about my sister's disease, or rather not telling
people about it.

Upon hearing of my sibling's ME, people's reactions ranged from "Is that all? I
thought you were going to say something serious from your tone of voice", to
polite "humour-her" nodding and baffled, sympathetic faces, and then the slam
dunk of some responses.

"Maybe your sister has got issues with your mum/dad/whoever," or words to that
effect. "Issues!" I snapped at the last person who suggested that, "Issues! If
you got ME from having f***ing issues, then the whole b*****d country would be
down with it!"

Not long after I returned to Britain, 9/11 happened. My then husband was in the
Twin Towers that day, and with hindsight, I can see I over-reacted to 9/11,
because it was on the strength of that, that I decided to become a nurse.

Throughout my three years of nurse training, I didn't tell a soul about Sophia
and the ME. I don't think I even mentioned I had a sister. I saw how ME was
viewed from the other side of the fence and it wasn't good or accurate. One day
during my second year of training, I was on my cardiac placement and telephoned
my mum on my break.

She was distraught, because at that very time I was calling her, the police were
breaking down the door so Sophia could be sectioned into a mental hospital.

I didn't know what to do, so I called my brother Shane, who went straight down
to help mum and Sophia. I then went back to the ward and couldn't say anything
to anyone.

And it was around that time I nearly cracked. I very nearly told my personal
tutor about my fears and concerns for my sister. I was about to blurt it out
once when my tutor mentioned that our confidentiality could be broken if
somebody was at risk or over something illegal.

Confiding about Sophia could have me seen as an enabler, it could have
jeopardised Sophia even more; I couldn't risk it. I stayed schtum and blamed my
tears on PMT and the stress of course work.

Visits to Sophia were rare and precious, they had to be in the dark with only a
smidgen of light. Her body may have been torturing her, but Sophia's mind was
still all there. Those 13 days in the mental hospital had done irreparable
damage to my sister, though, she went downhill from there.

I never imagined Sophia would die from ME, I thought she would outlive the lot
of us, by years. But my sister became the first person in England to officially
die from ME, a dubious honour indeed.

Sophia was 32 and had been bedridden for the last six years of her life. I was
in shock and grief-stricken for months after her death, but in among all the
pain, there was a tiny part of me that felt lighter; that tiny light was one of
relief, relief my sister was not suffering so unbearably anymore.

The post-mortem revealed the physical evidence of Sophia's ravaged nervous
system, proof at last her disease was of physical origin. Sophia's death from ME
made news around the world, but it hasn't changed how people with ME get treated
in Britain – well not yet it hasn't.

When Sophia got sectioned, the event was tape-recorded. This profoundly moving
audio is included in the award-winning documentary Voices from the Shadows , a
film made out of sheer desperation by the family of a girl who suffers with
severe ME.

This documentary includes the stories of other ME sufferers and carers, as well
as expert medical opinion and facts. This film needs to be shown to as wide an
audience as possible.

Voices from the Shadows will literally save lives and spare much unnecessary
suffering and bring much-needed understanding about the reality of ME. This
documentary urgently needs a way to be seen by the masses. Please go to more information.

Sophia suffered and died from ME, but nobody else should have to.\

Green Bank, West Virginia Recently Getting Lots of Media Coverage

When I was traveling through Southeast Asia in 2006 looking for a place with less of the electrosmog to live, I ran into a guy in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on a Songtao (minibus) and I told him about the EMFs and he told me about Green Bank. I posted this information on the Yahoo Group, EMF Refugee, that I started and since then more and more people have decided to move there with a seemingly recent surge of EMF refugees moving there recently.


Sufferers of Strange Disease Seek Refuge in Town Where Cell Phones are Illegal

By Lisa Collier Cool
Apr 15, 2013

Wesley Sizemore stands in front of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the mountains of West Virginia. (Photo by Michael Robinson-Chavez/The Washington Post/Getty Images)
A remote West Virginia town with no cell service, Wi-Fi hotspots, or TV has become a haven for people who say that wireless technology is making them sick.
Dozens of so-called “Wi-Fi refugees” suffering from a controversial malady called electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) have moved to Green Bank, West Virginia, where cell phone and Wi-Fi signals are banned. An estimated five percent of Americans claim to have EHS, a condition not recognized by the scientific community.
Green Bank is located in the US National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000-square mile area where electromagnetic radiation on the radio spectrum—such as radio and TV broadcasts, Wi-Fi networks, and signals from cell phones, Bluetooth and other high-tech electronic devices—are outlawed, to prevent transmissions from interfering with a local radio telescope and a nearby military radio installation.

Hiding From the Wired World in a Cage

Diane Schou and her husband moved to the Appalachian town in 2007 to escape symptoms she believes are triggered by cell phone radiation. “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," she told BBC News
To block cell phone signals and relieve the pain, Schou’s husband built an insulated living space known as a Faraday cage on their Iowa farm. “It's a horrible thing to have to be a prisoner," she recalled. "You become a technological leper because you can't be around people.”
Now, Schou says she lives a relatively normal life in Green Bank (population 147) that includes going to church and socializing with friends. “There’s no grocery store, no restaurants, no hospital nearby,” she told Slate Magazine. “But here, at least, I'm healthy. I can do things. I'm not in bed with a headache all the time.”

Disorder Only Recognized in One Country

EHS sufferers contend that exposure to electromagnetic radiation sparks a wide range of symptoms, including facial flushing, twitchy muscles, burning or itchy skin, chest pain, headaches, sleep problems, mental fog, rapid heartbeat, ringing in the ears or hearing problems, nerve or muscle pain, nausea, and chronic fatigue.
More than 30 studies have been conducted to see if electromagnetic fields (EMF) can spark these symptoms or other health problems. So far, scientists remain skeptical. When the World Health Organization (WHO) reviewed the research in a 2004 workshop, it reported that:
“There are also some indications that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about believed EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself."
In a recent report, WHO added that, “The symptoms are certainly real and can vary widely in their severity … EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure. Further, EHS is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem.”
Currently, Sweden is the only country that recognizes EHS as a legitimate impairing condition. In that country—where the government reports that about 3 percent of the population (some 250,000 people) are affected—those with EHS are entitled to the same legal rights and social services as those who are deaf or blind.
The government will even pay to have the homes of people with EHS electronically “sanitized” with metal shielding to block electromagnetic radiation, Popular Science Magazine reports.

Is Electromagnetic Radiation Dangerous?

Some researchers have reported that long-term exposure to power lines or cell phones might raise the risk for cancer.  Most studies have focused on possible links between electromagnetic fields and childhood leukemia, but research has had conflicting results.
Studies have also examined whether these fields have any link with other cancers, depression, suicide, heart disease, reproductive problems, and other disease. The WHO Task Force Group finds evidence that electromagnetic radiation is associated with any of these problems is “weak” at best.
A study published in Epidemiology found no link between using cell phones and risk for gliomas, cancerous tumors of the brain or spinal cord. The study analyzedglioma incidence statistics from four Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark) over a 20-year period.

Little Evidence that EHS Is Real

 A trial at Sweden's University of Uppsala's Department of Clinical Psychology involved taking blood samples from people who claimed to have EHS. The samples were analyzed for indicators of stress, both before and after the test.
Some participants were exposed to electromagnetic radiation without their knowledge, but no differences were found between EHS sufferers and a control group in their reactions, nor were there any differences in stress among those who received radiation and those who didn’t.
When study participants received psychotherapy, those who identified themselves as EHS sufferers had a greater reduction in stress after the treatment than those who didn’t describe themselves to hypersensitive.


The cellphone-free town in West Virginia that offers people who are 'allergic' to radio waves escape from the modern world

  • Wireless electronics are banned in Green Bank, West Virginia

  • It is in the National Radio Quiet Zone, which was set up to minimize disturbance around the National Radio Astronomy Observatory.Town has just 147 residents, including people who believe they suffer from 'electromagnetic sensitivity' which leaves them in pain

PUBLISHED: 17:39 GMT, 12 April 2013 | UPDATED: 17:46 GMT, 12 April 2013

A life without cell phones, iPads or WiFi may seem a daunting prospect to many of us, but in the town of Green Bank, West Virginia, where every electronic device is banned, the residents like it that way.

The remote town of just 147 people in the Allegheny Mountains falls in the National Radio Quiet Zone, where wireless is banned across 13,000 square miles.

The ban is in place to minimize disturbance next to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, home to the world's largest steerable radio telescope.

While it may seem like an undesirable destination for today's tech-savvy citizens, many people are moving to the area as they believe it is better for their health.

Silence: Residents living near the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the National Radio Quiet Zone in Green Bank, West Virginia are banned from using phones or wireless devices to lower interference
Silence: Residents living near the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in the National Radio Quiet Zone in Green Bank, West Virginia are banned from using phones or wireless devices to lower interference

Diane Schou is just one of the residents who believes she suffers from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS, which leaves her in pain whenever she is exposed to radio frequencies.

Schou explained to Slate that before she and her husband escaped to Green Bank in 2007, she lived in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where she suffered headaches, twitching muscles and chronic pain.

She first noticed the pains in 2002 when a wireless provider put up a tower near their farm.
    'I was extremely tired, but I couldn't sleep at night,' she told Slate. 'I got a rash, I had hair loss, my skin was wrinkled, and I just thought it was something I ate, or getting older.'

    She soon began to connect the pains with triggers - mobile phones, driving past signal towers - but the phone company dismissed her claims, even though she has no doubt of the cause.

    'I'll say, "Oh, I have a headache," and then someone's cellphone will ring,' she said.

    Relief: Diane Schou, pictured with her husband Bert, said that whenever she is exposed to radio frequencies she suffers headaches, twitching muscles and chronic pain, but these have eased in Green Bank
    Relief: Diane Schou, pictured with her husband Bert, said that whenever she is exposed to radio frequencies she suffers headaches, twitching muscles and chronic pain, but these have eased in Green Bank

    They found out about the Radio Quiet Zone in 2007 and when they visited, she immediately began to feel better - so they sold half of their farmland and made the move.

    In their new home, they use a landline and an Internet-connected computer which does not have WiFi. They have struggled to find a refrigerator with low enough emissions, so fill up on ice instead.

    Enlarge Zone: The area is 13,000 square miles and 147 people live in the town of Green Bank
    Zone: The area is 13,000 square miles and 147 people live in the town of Green Bank
    'Life isn't perfect here,' she said. 'There's no grocery store, no restaurants, no hospital nearby. But here, at least, I'm healthy. I can do things. I'm not in bed with a headache all the time.'

    While she is not alone - she believes 36 others like her have moved to the area to escape electronics - the condition is not recognized by the World Health Organization.

    Around five per cent of Americans believe they have EHS, but the WHO has not connected the symptoms with exposure - and there is only brittle scientific evidence.

    'EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF (electromagnetic field) exposure,' the WHO states. 'Further, EHS is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem.'

    James Rubin, a psychologist at King's College London, added that he has carried out extensive studies but found sufferers could not always tell when there were blasted with electromagnetic frequencies compared to harmless ones.
    'It is definitely the case that some people experience symptoms that they attribute to electromagnetic frequencies,' he told Slate. 'But is it really these frequencies causing the symptoms? At the moment, we can say that there simply isn't any robust evidence to support that.'

    Rural: Schou said that other residents were not very welcoming to EHS sufferers but she has no choice

    Rural: Schou said that other residents were not very welcoming to EHS sufferers but she has no choice

    Other residents of Green Bank are also skeptical of those who say they have EHS, Schou said. They are reluctant to rent out their homes to them in case they ask for special treatment.

    She added that after she asked the town to remove florescent lights at the community center, she has had packages stolen from her porch and was told: 'We don't want your kind here.'

    Although she said she sometimes feels discriminated against, she said she has no plans to move.

    'I can be outdoors. I can go to church, I can attend some celebrations, I can be with people,' she said. 'Living here allows me to be more of a normal person.'

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    Radio Silent: Living Inside the National Radio Quiet Zone

    The National Radio Quiet Zone protects electromagnetic hypersensitivity sufferers from the world's abundant radio signals. But is minor radiation really causing their conditions?
    Green Bank, West Virginia, a town of 147, sits inside the National Radio Quiet Zone, a 13,000 square mile area of land near the Virginia border. Green Bank is surrounded by national and state forests and parks like so many other secluded rural towns in the United States. It is not, however, surrounded by the radio signals that crisscross the rest of the country. There are no cellphone towers, no AM or FM radio stations. Thanks to the National Radio Quiet Zone, the skies above Green Bank are effectively dead air.
    The radio-free Quiet Zone fills one important purpose and a second coincidental one. It was established by the FCC in 1958 to protect the National Radio Astronomy Observatory in Green Bank from interference; the observatory operates the largest steerable radio telescope in the world. Of growing importance, however, is the fact that the Quiet Zone protects its inhabitants from radio signals as well.
    Most of us don't think twice about needing to protect ourselves from radio signals. We use Wi-Fi and cell phones every day. Everything plugged into a wall socket gives off some low level radiation. While some studies have raised concerns about cell phones eventually causing cancer, we never think twice about the electromagnetic fields emitted by our refrigerators, televisions, or microwaves. Some of Green Bank's residents, however, worry about all of those things. In fact, they moved to Green Bank specifically to get away from it all.
    Slate just published an article titled Refugees of the Modern World, detailing the issues some people have with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS. As the name implies, EHS sufferers are unusually sensitive to radiation that isn't harmful to the rest of us, and several dozen have moved to Green Bank in recent years to live in relative isolation. Some still use electronics in their homes, but they're still protected from the radio signals that would fill the air in most other parts of the country.
    EHS is fascinating because the symptoms are most definitely real, but scientists aren't convinced that electromagnetic radiation is the cause. Slate details the conviction of several Green Banks residents and how much the National Radio Quiet Zone has improved their health. But it also dives into studies that have returned inconclusive results about EHS:
    "James Rubin, a psychologist at King’s College London who studies psychogenic illnesses, has analyzed the literature on provocation studies and conducted some at his own lab. His most recent meta-analysis—which covered 1,175 participants in 46 studies—found no rigorous, replicable experiment in which radio frequencies were identified at rates greater than chance. 'It is definitely the case that some people experience symptoms that they attribute to electromagnetic frequencies,' he told me. 'But is it really these frequencies causing the symptoms? At the moment, we can say that there simply isn't any robust evidence to support that.' "
    Slate also covers the opposition--some claim that the settings those tests were conducted under (in labs where other devices emitting radiation would be present) undermines the test. But there's a counter to that, too:
    "Rubin points out that many provocation studies start with an unblinded stage, where the participants are truthfully told whether the electromagnetic field is on. 'They almost always report symptoms when they know it is on, and not when they know it is off,' Rubin said. 'In the second stage, when the experiment is repeated double-blind, they report symptoms to the same extent in both conditions.' When the participants know whether the field is on, in other words, contaminant radiation and frequency specificity suddenly aren't such big problems."
    It's a fascinating issue. EHS deserves more tests, and its symptoms are either resulting from a widespread psychological effect--a buildup of stress or other issues related to the always-on nature of the modern world--or genuine sensitivity to radiation. Either way, more and more people in the future will turn to places where electronics and electromagnetic radiation aren't so prevalent. Slate's article covers the social issues Green Bank's new issues are causing, international initiatives from EHS sufferers to see the condition recognized, and more--it's well worth a read.

    Wireless Refugees flock to Green Bank, West Virginia: 'Cell phones, Wi-Fi making us sick'

    GREEN BANK, WV (WUSA9) -- When cell phones first hit the U.S. market in the mid-1980s, there were only a few thousand subscribers.  Today, there's more cell phones in this country than there are people: 322 million subscribers. 
    On top of that, 20 million Americans now use wireless-enabled laptops, tablets, and modems, and that number has jumped 50 percent in just two years, according to The Wireless Association.
    The invisible electromagnetic radiation that these wireless devices emit are all around us, and most of us can't get enough. But a growing number of people are moving to Green Bank, West Virginia to get away from it.
    "To come to Green Bank, it's leaving the shopping malls, the theaters, the cultural events. Here, I don't have my family, I don't have my friends. But at least now I have some hope and a future," said Diane Schou, a Green Bank resident.
    Schou is one of about 30 "wireless refugees" now living in Green Bank.
    "I was a police officer in Toronto," said Martin Weatherall.
    "I was a professional pianist and singer in California," said Deborah Kooney.
    "I was working as an architect in Hawaii," said Jennifer Wood.
    They've left their families, jobs, everything because they believe they have a condition called "Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity," or EHS. Think of it as an allergic reaction to wireless technology.
    "It's horrible when something is emitting and your body is having reactions," said Schou.
    "I felt like I had some kind of radiation suit on and my muscles were getting all bound up," said Kooney.
    "It just feels like pins and needles all over my face and head. I felt dizzy, violently ill to my stomach. I just felt poisoned," said Wood.
    Weatherall said his symptoms started with heart problems and heart arrhythmia.
    "Just more recently, I found that the cancer has come back and I know that if I'm going to survive this, I really need to go somewhere I can be safe. So that's the main reason that I'm here," he said. 
    Here, wireless technology is strictly outlawed because of the Green Bank Telescope. It's protected from any interference by the only Radio Quiet Zone in the country. There's no cell phone towers and no microwaves. It's a radio dead zone.
    "It's not perfect here, but it's the only place in the world I know that's protected where people live," said Schou.
    Before you write these people off, think about the electromagnetic spectrum. The radiation that comes from things on the long-wavelength end of the spectrum, power lines and AM/FM radio, are harmless. But the radiation that comes from things on the short-wavelength end -- Gamma Rays and X-Rays --  can hurt us. 
    Wireless technology sits right on the threshold of what's safe for us and what's not. So, what if some people are simply more sensitive to it than others?
    In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." But the report stopped short of recognizing EHS as a real medical condition. It said the symptoms are certainly real, but "there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to electromagnetic field exposure."
    Dr. Andrew Marino, a neurology professor at Louisiana State University, disagrees with the World Health Organization.
    "You're talking about an area that hasn't been studied," said Marino.
    Last year, Marino published a study in the International Journal of Neuroscience titled, "Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Evidence for a Novel Neurological Syndrome." It concluded that EHS can occur as a environmentally inducible neurological syndrome.
    "There's no question in my mind that exposure to environmental electromagnetic fields produces acute responses," said Marino.
    But there's also no question in the mind of Bob Park, a physics professor at the University of Maryland. He says there's no scientific evidence that EHS exists.
    "There's not only no science, there's science showing that there's no science," said Park.
    There's been dozens of studies, but the scientific community is split.
    "If you're talking to a physicist, you're talking to the wrong guy in terms of background," said Marino.
    "Oh, I think he's wrong," said Park.
    What do the wireless refugees of Green Bank have to say when told their EHS isn't real?
    "I don't worry about that because, I know it's happening. It's happening and it's getting worse, and I would suggest that we are probably near the end of the wireless age. Wireless will become a technology that can't be used any more," said Weatherall.
    The National Institute of Health is not funding or conducting any studies on EHS, but other countries are. Sweden has fully recognized EHS as a physical impairment. Meanwhile, the Canadian government has started funding treatment of EHS and there's currently a nine-month waiting list to get in.

    Refugees of the Modern World

    The “electrosensitive” are moving to a cellphone-free town. But is their disease real?

    By |Posted Friday, April 12, 2013, at 5:30 AM
    Nicols Fox.
    Nicols Fox moved to the Radio Quiet Zone to escape electromagnetic forces
    Courtesy of Christine Fitzpatrick
    You can turn your phone on in Green Bank, W.Va., but you won’t get a trace of a signal. If you hit scan on your car’s radio, it’ll cycle through the dial endlessly, never pausing on a station. This remote mountainous town 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, home to the world’s largest steerable radio telescope.
    For most people, this restriction is a nuisance. But a few dozen people have moved to Green Bank (population: 147) specifically because of it. They say they suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS—a disease not recognized by the scientific community in which these frequencies can trigger acute symptoms like dizziness, nausea, rashes, irregular heartbeat, weakness, and chest pains. Diane Schou came here with her husband in 2007 because radio-frequency exposure anywhere else she went gave her constant headaches. “Life isn’t perfect here. There’s no grocery store, no restaurants, no hospital nearby,” she told me when I visited her house last month. “But here, at least, I'm healthy. I can do things. I'm not in bed with a headache all the time.”
    The idea that radio frequencies can cause harm to the human body isn’t entirely absurd. Some research has suggested that long-term exposure to power lines and cellphones is associated with an increased chance of cancer, although most evidence says otherwise. But what these people claim—that exposure to electromagnetic frequencies can immediately cause pain and ill health—is relatively novel, has little medical research to support it, and is treated with deep skepticism by the scientific mainstream.
    That hasn’t stopped them from seeking to publicize the dangers of wireless technology. One of the most prominent activists in the field, Arthur Firstenberg, gained notoriety in 2010 for suing his Santa Fe neighbor for the effects of her Wi-Fi network. But he began organizing EHS-sufferers way back in 1996—when digital cellular networks were initially installed across the country—forming the Cellular Phone Task Force and publishing Microwaving Our Planet, one of the first books on the topic. In the years since, a fringe movement has grown around the idea, with some 30 support groups worldwide for those affected by radiation. The purported “epidemic” is particularly concentrated in the United Kingdom and Sweden, where surveyshave found that 1 to 4 percent of the population believes they’re affected.

    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 newsreports 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.
    When you walk in the Schous’ two-story brick house, 4 miles up a forested road from the Green Bank post office, the first item you see might be a radiation meter they keep in their living room. She and her husband, Bert, moved here from Cedar Falls, Iowa, because they believe Diane is sensitive to very specific radio frequencies. She first began noticing her sensitivity in 2002, she says, when U.S. Cellular, a wireless provider based in the Midwest, built a tower near their farm. “I was extremely tired, but I couldn't sleep at night,” she said. “I got a rash, I had hair loss, my skin was wrinkled, and I just thought it was something I ate, or getting older." After she started getting severe headaches, she heard about EHS from a friend and did some reading online, and eventually came to believe the tower had triggered her latent sensitivity. She went for a consultation at the Mayo Clinic, but doctors refused to consider the possibility, and when she wrote to the FCC complaining about the tower, they simply replied by saying it was safe.
    Over the next four years, she repeatedly left the farm to search for a safe place, traveling through Scandinavia (where their son was studying abroad) and logging more than 75,000 miles driving across the United States in their RV. She’d find relatively safe spots but still got pounding headaches and chest pains from a range of triggers: if someone nearby turned on his phone, if she drove past a signal tower, if a neighbor next door used a coffee maker. “It would be like a sledgehammer on top of my head,” she said. Initially, only U.S. Cellular phones had harmed her, but eventually, being near any electrical device was a risk. (Virtually all devices that use electricity, even if they don’t rely on wireless signals, emit a low level of radiation.)
    Then, in 2007, she learned about the Radio Quiet Zone. When she visited, she finally started to feel better. She and Bert sold half of their Iowa farmland and bought the house in West Virginia, unfinished, and have since installed wiring with thick insulation to reduce radiation. (Bert—who gets much milder symptoms of EHS, including tinnitus—still goes back to their farm every summer to conduct corn research.) Over time, living without exposure reduced Diane’s sensitivity, and she can now tolerate many devices without pain. The Schous use a landline and an Internet-connected computer (without Wi-Fi). But they still haven’t found a refrigerator with low enough radiation emissions, so Diane manually fills an icebox with ice each day. Even now, if she leaves the Radio Quiet Zone, exposure can set her off: “I'll say, ‘Oh, I have a headache,’ and then someone's cellphone will ring,” she said. “This happens time and time again.”
    The Schous often host EHS-sufferers who want to test out Green Bank. One person who relies on their hospitality is Deborah Cooney, a singer, pianist, and voice coach from San Diego. Her problems began in 2010, she told me, when a smart electricity meter was installed on her house; she believes this triggered her boyfriend’s heart issues, led to her own hypersensitivity, and even caused her cat to start panting, pacing, and shaking her paws. Over time, Cooney’s symptoms intensified—they included fatigue, numbness, circulation problems, and intense jolts of pain in her heart—and she impulsively moved out one night in October 2011. “I got so sick that I felt my life was in serious jeopardy, and if I didn't leave that minute, I didn't know if I'd survive,” she said. She drove cross-country to the one friend she had who didn’t get any cell service (he lived elsewhere in West Virginia) and learned about the Radio Quiet Zone soon after she arrived.
    Currently, she lives without running water or electricity in a simple one-room cabin the Schous built at the foot of their driveway, because simply sleeping in a wired building makes her sick. During the day, she shares a nearby apartment with another hypersensitive person, where she cooks, bathes, and occasionally uses a computer. Because she has trouble finding work, she’s having money problems. Recently, she traveled to Texas and Florida to perform, sleeping in her car every night of the monthlong trip because of the devices and Wi-Fi networks in hotel rooms. “This is a tough place to live,” she says. “I really don’t know how I’m going to be able to support myself.”
    Some residents of Green Bank, along with the nearby town of Marlinton—also in the Radio Quiet Zone—apparently aren’t thrilled about this influx.* According to Schou, many locals are reluctant to rent housing to people with EHS, perhaps a result of the fact that in a remote area with few job opportunities, any new arrivals only heighten competition—and maybe because they’re likely to ask for special treatment. Schou told me that since she requested to have the fluorescent lights shut off at the community center, she’s faced intense discrimination: Packages have been stolen from her porch, and she once found a dead groundhog in her mailbox. “I’ve been told, ‘We don’t want your kind of people here,’ ” she said. Cooney was banned from the radio observatory for bringing up radiation issues at a town meeting held there and says her tires have been punctured in the night more than once. (I tried to talk to some locals about their new neighbors—but it’s hard to do a man-on-the-street interview in an area with so few streets or proverbial men.)
    Cooney, like many with EHS, is particularly angry about the rollout of smart meters by electric utilities in many parts of the country. In some places, the backlash has been fierce, in part because of the belief that their wireless signals (used to monitor electricity consumption in real time) are dangerous. In Maine, consumers successfully demanded opt-outs for those who don’t want smart meters installed, while one utility in Hawaii switched to an opt-in program. But Cooney says this doesn’t go far enough: “Those options doesn’t let me opt out of the smart meter on my neighbor’s house, 10 feet outside my door, or the bank of 100 smart meters on the apartment building behind by house. And radiation doesn’t respect property rights.” She’s currently suing California’s Public Utilities Commission for $120 million in damages and wants a decision that bans smart meters entirely. Cooney also believes the telecommunications industry has been actively concealing the dangers of radio frequencies for some time. “They just want to keep profits high,” she said. “They want to keep injuring people because they don't want to pay the money it would take to correct the problem.”
    It’s clear that Cooney, Schou, and the others are suffering. But the question remains: What exactly is “the problem”?
    Even a skeptical thinker can be briefly entranced by the notion that researchers may have simply failed, so far, to uncover a real disease—as Carl Sagan was fond of saying, “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” It’s especially tempting when talking to someone like Nicols Fox, who reported for the Economist on food safety issues for more than a decade and wrote three books before moving to the nearby town of Renick, W.V., in 2008 in an attempt to control her EHS. A science-minded person who probably would have once scoffed at the idea of hypersensitivity, she gradually came to believe that her shooting pains, unpredictably plunging heart rates, and difficulty speaking were a result of years in front of a computer. “I got more and more sensitive, and eventually there was a day when my body just screamed when I touched the keyboard,” she said.
    Now, she lives simply in a little two-bedroom house on a forested ridge and does her writing on a typewriter (she's working on a novel), mirroring the Luddite tradition she once wrote a book about. At night, she wears a shirt woven with silver fibers to reduce her radio frequency exposure, and though her house has electricity, she shuts it off and uses gas lamps whenever possible. During our conversation, her voice would occasionally get cracked and raspy if I got too close with my audio recorder. In the five years since she’s moved to the Radio Quiet Zone, she hasn't left once.
    A barn near Green Bank, W.Va., in the National Radio Quiet Zone
    Courtesy of Christine Fitzpatrick
    Fox’s position on the dangers of radio frequency seems to make sense at first glance. “It’s completely artificial, we've invented it, and it’s never been on this planet before, so nothing—not animals or humans—is adapted to it,” she told me. Of course, this kind of thinking (that a natural state is inherently better than an unnatural one) is a logical fallacy, and can’t replace actual evidence in proving the existence of EHS. Nevertheless, Fox and others who believe they suffer from it often compare wireless devices to tobacco—a dangerous addiction that many of us sign up for before fully understanding the risks.
    Unlike many people who believe they suffer from EHS, Fox doesn’t seem particularly worried about proving it. “I don't care if there's research or not,” she said. “I've done my research. Meaning, I’ve sat in the doctor’s office and seen my heart range drop to 36 beats per minute when they turn the equipment on.” As she points out, there’s no reason why she’d turn her life upside-down—abandoning her career and selling her house on Maine’s Mount Desert Island—to fake a disease.
    But “faking it” isn’t the right way to discuss EHS—both because it alienates sufferers by making them defensive and because, more importantly, that doesn’t seem to be the case. According to research, these people’s symptoms may be real. But—and this is the important part—radiation isn’t to blame. A 2010 meta-analysis of 46 studies concluded that “repeated experiments have been unable to replicate this phenomenon under controlled conditions,” while the World Health Organization simply says that “well controlled and conducted double-blind studies have shown that symptoms were not correlated with EMF exposure.”
    The primary way of testing is a provocation study, in which a purported EHS-sufferer is exposed to either an electromagnetic field or a sham field and asked to identify which is which. James Rubin, a psychologist at King’s College London who studies psychogenic illnesses, has analyzed the literature on provocation studies and conducted some at his own lab. His most recent meta-analysis—which covered 1,175 participants in 46 studies—found no rigorous, replicable experiment in which radio frequencies were identified at rates greater than chance. “It is definitely the case that some people experience symptoms that they attribute to electromagnetic frequencies,” he told me. “But is it really these frequencies causing the symptoms? At the moment, we can say that there simply isn't any robust evidence to support that.”
    Some EHS-sufferers criticize provocation studies, saying that holding them in a lab means spillover radiation from equipment and nearby buildings even in the sham condition. They also argue that the experiments don’t necessarily use the correct radiation frequency. (“The scientist is pretending to be God, knowing what frequency that person will react to,” Diane Schou said to me.) But Rubin points out that many provocation studies start with an unblinded stage, where the participants are truthfully told whether the electromagnetic field is on. “They almost always report symptoms when they know it is on, and not when they know it is off,” Rubin said. “In the second stage, when the experiment is repeated double-blind, they report symptoms to the same extent in both conditions.” When the participants know whether the field is on, in other words, contaminant radiation and frequency specificity suddenly aren’t such big problems.
    As such, the best predictor for whether a hypersensitive person will experience symptoms isn’t the presence of radio frequency—it’s the belief that a device is turned on nearby. An elegant demonstration of this on a much larger scale took place in 2010, when residents of the town of Fourways, South Africa, successfully petitioned for a cell signal tower to be taken down because of the sickness caused by its radiation—even though it was later revealed that it hadn’t been switched on during the time of their complaints.
    The idea of EHS is also undermined by our basic understanding of electromagnetic radiation. The full spectrum of electromagnetic radiation is divided into ionizing and non-ionizing frequencies. The former category, which includes X-rays and nuclear fallout, is energetic enough to tear electrons off our body’s atoms and cause radiation sickness; the latter isn’t. While the frequencies in this latter group (which includes visible light, cell signals, Wi-Fi, and the radiation from power lines) can burn biological tissue at extremely high intensities, our devices operate at levels well below anything considered harmful. The alluring idea that life hasn’t evolved to withstand non-ionizing radiation becomes silly when you consider that the main source of it on planet Earth is sunlight.
    As Fox and others note, there is research supporting the idea that EHS is real—but scientists largely dismiss it as pseudoscience. Most well-known is the BioInitiative Report (a non–peer-reviewed publication authored by 29 self-described “scientists, researchers and public health policy professionals”), which has been widely criticized for selectively using favorable studies and data. The European Commission noted that, contrary to its claims, the report was a post facto assembly of many different papers and studies, not the consensus of a working group, and that it often ignored the conclusions of the researchers themselves in interpreting the data. A recent article in the Guardian cited a 2011 study by a team of LSU neurologists that purported to find that electromagnetic frequencies caused headaches and muscle twitching, but the study involved only one subject—and even she wasn’t able to identify if a field was turned on at rates better than chance.
    Given the data, the long-hidden danger of tobacco isn’t an apt parallel for the supposed harm of radio frequency radiation. But other episodes from history are. Technology historian Genevieve Bell says that in the early days of rail travel, experts warned that if a woman traveled faster than 50 miles per hour, her uterus could suddenly fly out of her body. Bell has charged the many instances throughout history in which new technologies triggered unfounded, irrational “moral panics." She theorizes that innovations which change our relationship to time, space, and other people are the most likely to incite fear. It’s hard to imagine technologies that hit all three of these all comprehensively as smartphones and the mobile Web.
    You could also view EHS as a mass psychogenic illness, in which very real symptoms arise from a socially contagious belief in a nonexistent disease. In 1962, for example, after a June bug infestation at the Montana Mills textile factory in North Carolina, workers began getting sick: They broke out in rashes, experienced nausea, and in some cases fainted and required hospitalization. A total of 62 workers exhibited symptoms, but doctors and entomologists couldn’t find any explanation. In a seminal 1968 study, a pair of psychologists who had interviewed the staff concluded that their physical symptoms had been triggered by the belief that they were at risk, reinforced by local news stories about the infestation and resulting contagion. Interestingly, those with close friends who’d gotten sick first were more likely to develop symptoms, as were those more stressed and dissatisfied with their jobs. Other episodes attributed to mass psychogenic illness include a supposed post-9/11 chemical attack at a Maryland Metro station (in which window cleaner somehow caused 35 people to develop headaches, nausea, and sore throats), and last year’s mysterious outbreak of twitching among female high school students in Le Roy, New York.
    As The New Yorker recently pointed out in a blog post, EHS, along with these types of episodes, hint at the bizarre power of the nocebo effect: the flip-side of the placebo effect, in which inert substances or the suggestion of harm brings about real physical symptoms. In many studies of the nocebo effect, simply explaining to patients that a pill might trigger side effects has been enough to cause everything from back pain to erectile dysfunction. “If you believe that a substance, compound, or phenomena harms you, and you start experiencing symptoms, there's confirmation for your belief right there, and then it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Brian Dunning, a prominent skeptic who hosts the Skeptoid podcast and frequently takes on pseudoscientific claims, told me. “You see that your phone has a signal or that there’s a Wi-Fi router in the room, it further increases your stress level, and you have very real and very distressing physical symptoms. Once you have this confirming experience, it becomes really difficult to sit there and be told otherwise.”
    Our brains’ expectations, it turns out, have a surprisingly potent effect on the functioning of our bodies. If the people who moved to Green Bank truly suffer from piercing headaches, nausea, and dizziness when they are around wireless signals, the nocebo effect (and previous instances of mass psychogenic diseases) is as good an explanation of anything we have so far.
    But what does this mean for people who believe they suffer from EHS? Probably not much. Science might say that they can’t possibly be allergic to cellular networks, but as long as they are certain they are, the Radio Quiet Zone is the one place they can get relief.
    So, for now, most of them plan to stay in Green Bank, and more arrive all the time. In just the week before I visited, Bert Schou told me, they’d gotten calls from people in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Virginia asking whether they could come stay. Diane wants to raise money to build a resource center for the hypersensitive nearby, where they can be medically evaluated in a radiation-free setting and stay overnight when necessary.
    Above all, they want to spread the message that electromagnetic radiation is dangerous—and that the only solution is getting away from this invisible form of pollution. "You might find a friend or someone in your workplace who's not feeling well,” Bert said to me as I stood in his driveway, getting ready to head out before it got dark. “Bring them here, and they might feel better, too."
    This article arises from Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, the New America Foundation, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, visit the Future Tense blog and the Future Tense home page. You can also follow us on Twitter.