Marine Richard, a 39-year-old woman from France, will now collect just under $1,200 a month (€800) in disability support because a court in Toulouse agreed that she has suffered a “serious handicap” due to her condition and that the symptoms of her condition prevent her from working.
Her condition is Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS).
EHS is not formally accepted as an “illness,” but it is recognized by the World Health Organization – even though they admit to not having a full understanding of the precise causes, and the majority of studies have been unable to identify a clear link between electromagnetic exposure and the symptoms of EHS.
In fact, some scientists suggest that the condition could be the result of a “nocebo” effect and complex psychosomatic factors.
Regardless, one thing the studies have shown is that the symptoms of those with EHS are very real and Richard considers the decision a “breakthrough.” This is the first time the law has officially acknowledged the potentially damaging day-to-day effects of mobile phone and Wi-Fi waves, and has ruled those affected as deserving of financial support.
It makes you wonder if two particular parents from Massachusetts have a case as they sue their son’s school for implementing a Wi-Fi network that they claim emits signals of a damaging strength causing an array of health troubles for their 12-year-old-boy. Despite findings from a radio signal measurement company that all combined emissions at the school were “substantially less than the… applicable safety limits (federal and state),” the family is still seeking an injunction on the Fay School and $250,000 in damages.
If you think that number is alarming, you should hear some of the symptoms.
According to those that suffer from the condition, they have experienced fatigue, nosebleeds, headaches, tingling, nausea and even heart and thyroid problems after extended exposure to electromagnetic waves.
Again, there’s nothing to prove conclusively that the condition arises as a result of exposure, but given that cell phones have been around less than 50 years and Wi-Fi only really took off in the 90s, we probably don’t know quite as much as we need in order to draw confident conclusions.
What we do know is that there is an effect. Hence, the safety limits and an explicit acknowledgement that pregnant women and children are at higher risk.
So if you’re pulling long hours at the office and your body is acting wonkier than usual, it might just be the weekend reminding you of your crummy decision-making. Or it might be your genetics, or your diet, or the fact that someone three desks over is listening to Nickelback.
But don’t forget that as much as you love your gadgets, it just might be them too.