EHS is contentious because the radio-frequency levels at which sufferers say they’re affected fall well below those considered dangerous by regulators. And its existence is denied by mainstream medicine. While allergies can be tested with a needle-prick blood sample, there is no accepted diagnostic test for EHS, so most sufferers are self-diagnosed. “The collection of symptoms,” says a World Health Organisation (WHO) fact sheet, “is not part of any recognised syndrome.”
SUFFERERS OF EHS SAY they are environmental refugees in their own country, moving to other cities or suburbs or retreating to remote rural hideaways to escape their symptoms. Good Weekend spoke to a dozen sufferers, some of whom coat their houses in paint that reflects electromagnetic radiation (EMR), fit wire mesh over their windows, or wear protective caps made of cotton-metal-blend fabric. Shielding items cost dearly: one online business lists a five-litre pot of paint for $499 and a protective iPhone 6 case for $55. “The number of people contacting us with EMR-related problems is absolutely growing,” says EMR Australia director Lyn McLean.
In the meantime, a grassroots movement is growing across Australia against new mobile or NBN towers. The community-based OREAD Project in Kyogle, NSW, adopted a biological approach to testing EMF effects ahead of a proposed NBN tower in the area. Twelve residents had their blood analysed, and the results were sent to NBN Co., Visionstream and Ericsson by Nimbin solicitor David Spain. If the tower is erected and subsequent blood tests show their health has been compromised, Spain says there could be grounds for an injunction or as a precedent in future planning cases.
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