My war on electrosmog: Julia Stephenson sets out to clear the airwaves

How one woman fought back after being diagnosed by her naturopath with overexposure to Wi-Fi and mobile phone frequencies

A A A

A few months ago I noticed I was feeling dog-tired and drained all the time. Usually a good sleeper, I'd suddenly begun waking up early in the morning and finding myself unable to go back to sleep.

It wasn't only me that was drooping. My once-lush plants had lost their lustre too. Ridiculous, considering how well I look after myself - and my plants.

I am well-doctored, to put it mildly. I probably consult more doctors than Woody Allen, who has separate screenings of his movies for his doctors. Everyone is entitled to a hobby; mine just happens to be my health, and what a fascinating hobby it is.

When at a loss to explain my new malaise, I visited my naturopath. It may sound unorthodox, but if it works, who cares?

She insisted that my exhaustion was caused by electromagnetic "smog" in my flat. The problem, she explained, is that our dependence on office and communications equipment (especially mobile phones and the masts needed to power them, as well as microwaves, computers and electrical equipment), exposes us to frequencies that can have a detrimental effect on our wellbeing, especially if we are run-down, or if our immune system is compromised in some way.

This made sense, as my symptoms had begun soon after installing wireless technology in my sitting room. Wireless (Wi-Fi) technology allows you to access emails and the internet anywhere in your living space. It's convenient but I could live without it if meant having more physical energy. So I immediately turned off my wireless network and replaced it with broadband.

My naturopath is not alone in her concern. There is growing evidence that Wi-Fi technology is harmful. When the Swedish town of Götene activated their new Wi-Fi system in May 2006, within hours the local hospital emergency services were receiving calls from residents complaining of a number of symptoms: difficulty breathing, blurry vision, headaches and even cases of heart arrhythmia. On 23 May 2006, Sweden's STV followed up the story on their current affairs programme "Debatt".

The worldwide centre of the mobile phone industry, Sweden is where much of the research on environmental illness has been carried out. It was the first country to recognise electromagnetic hypersensitivity as a valid medical condition, and has set up a federal body to assist sufferers of those affected (www.feb.se). There have been calls for the Swedish government to close down the nation's Wi-Fi networks, pending further investigation.

Those concerned about possible side-effects believe that our unprecedented exposure to electrical equipment, mobile phones and Wi-Fi mean that we are surrounded by a soup of electromagnetic smog at all times. In effect, we live in an electro-dictatorship: even if you haven't voted for this technology by say, owning a mobile phone, you may still suffer the same effects as those who have. For example, although I've turned off my wireless access I can still tap in to my neighbour's Wi-Fi downstairs.

Research being carried out by industry, the Government and academics has so far failed to find a persuasive link between mobile phone masts and health problems. The Department of Health and the Mobile Operators Association insist that British masts conform to international safety standards. A research group commissioned by the government-funded Health Protection Agency reported: "Exposure levels from living near to mobile phone base stations are extremely low and the overall evidence indicates they are unlikely to pose a risk to health." But it continued: "Research has limitations and the possibility remains open that there could be health effects from exposure - hence continued research is needed."

Many doctors are now convinced that this powerful technology is storing up huge problems for our future health. To date, 1,200 physicians in Germany, and 2,000 worldwide, have signed the Freiburger Appeal, a petition for severe restrictions on wireless technology. The doctors say they are seeing a dramatic increase in certain diseases and symptoms in their patients.

"Any imbalance in our electromagnetic field creates a disturbance in cell structure and function, which can lead to illness in sensitive individuals," says London-based complementary health practitioner Dr Nicole de Canha.

Even cordless hands-free home telephones - such a boon to multitaskers, enabling one to patiently listen to friends and family for hours while cleaning cupboards, re-potting house plants and reorganising the CD collection - are now off-limits. Their electrical force-field is nearly as powerful as that of a mobile phone. Since I'm now chained to a phone on a lead, my cupboards are filthy and my friends are neglected. But at least I'm less radioactive.

It's much harder to avoid mobile phone masts, however. Over the past 10 years they have sprouted all over the country to power the mobile phones owned by over 95 per cent of the population. To find out how close you live to a mast go to www.sitefinder.radio.gov.uk. The results may shock you: there are now 35,000 mobile phone masts in the UK, and chances are that several are in your immediate vicinity. It's supposed that you are never more than 10 feet away from a rat in London; you may find yourself even closer to a phone mast.

Despite being implicated in a number of health problems - something that alarms parents of the one in 10 schools located close to masts - these masts need no planning permission and are often disguised in trees, petrol stations, shop signs, even church steeples. For instance, the support pole for the golden angel weathervane on Guildford Cathedral is actually a mobile mast, supporting several antennas. In return for access to the coveted hilltop site, the golden angel was regilded. It seems that even God cannot offer protection from this insidious pollution.

Fortunately there are steps that concerned individuals can take to reduce the amount of "electro-smog" to which they are subject. Like many people, I'm mobile-dependent, but I now use a headset that delivers sound through an air-filled wireless tube similar to a doctor's stethoscope (but much smaller, so you don't look like you're on call). Conventional headsets transmit sound to the earpiece through a wire, but as wire is an electrical conductor it may also deliver radiation directly to your head. Since I've started using the tube I no longer experience headaches or a slight ringing in my ears.

You could also try the Q-Link pendant, which employs "sympathetic resonance technology," something that the makers declare "repairs and tunes your biofield". Friends who wear a Q-Link report that they feel healthier and more energetic.

The homeopathic medicine company, New Vistas, and the Australian flower essence company, Bush Flower Remedies, both make drops that claim to reduce the amount of radiation stored in the body.

Also, for the past two months I've been using an electro-magnetic field protection unit plugged into a wall at home. The device was created by engineer and homeopath Gary Johnson. Disturbed with the increasing number of patients coming to him with skin problems, exhaustion, blurred vision, and symptoms similar to chronic fatigue syndrome, he suspected that they might be sensitive to electromagnetic radiation (EMR).

"The heart of the unit is a programmed microprocessor unit that produces a holograph field that is amplified through an internal aerial system. This protection field protects the human system from the negative effects of EMR," says Johnson. He says he has had great success in alleviating patients' symptoms, and claims the unit offers unlimited protection from any negative electromagnetic emissions in a 700-square metre radius.

Professor Leif Salford, of Sweden's Lund University, has been researching the effects of phone masts for 15 years. He says that exposure to radiation emitted by mobile phones and masts can destroy cells in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, movement and learning, and calls mankind's dependence on mobile phones "the world's largest biological experiment ever".

As yet, no one knows what price we will pay for our dependence on modern technology.

Additional research by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, USA ( http://www.niehs.nih.gov) and the Office of Communications, the independent regulator for the UK communications industries ( www.ofcom.org.uk)

How to block the rays

* Magnetic field protection boxes start at £235 and are available from www.subtlefieldtechnologies.com

* Q-Link pendants cost from £70 at www.qlinkworld.co.uk

* Anti-radiation mobile phone headsets are available at www.rf3now.com or the Sloane Health Shop, London SW3 (020 7730 7046)

* Australian Bush Flower Essences can be found at www.ausflowers.com.au

Voices
There will be a chance to bid for a rare example of the SAS Diary, collated by a former member of the regiment in the aftermath of World War II but only published – in a limited run of just 5,000 – in 2011
charity appealTime is running out to secure your favourite lot as our auction closes at 2pm tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond in the Top Gear Patagonia Special
tv
News
Claudia Winkleman and co-host Tess Daly at the Strictly Come Dancing final
people
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
people
Sport
SPORT
News
people
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Arts and Entertainment
J Jefferson Farjeon at home in 1953
booksBooksellers say readers are turning away from modern thrillers and back to golden age of crime writing
Sport
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
News
Stacey Dooley was the only woman to be nominated in last month’s Grierson awards
mediaClare Balding and Davina McCall among those overlooked for Grierson awards
News
Twitchers see things differently, depending on their gender
scienceNew study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Christopher Biggins as Mrs Smee in Peter Pan
theatreHow do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY - An outstanding high level opportunity...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Austen Lloyd: Construction Solicitor - London

Very Competitive Salary : Austen Lloyd: NICHE CITY FIRM - We are making a disc...

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick