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Why Are People Who Think Wi-Fi Makes Them Sick Moving to West Virginia?

b3nscott, Flickr

Although most scientists believe the electromagnetic radiation emitted by technology such as Wi-Fi and cell phones is largely harmless, a small group of people nevertheless believe they suffer from a malady called Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, or EHS.

The five percent of Americans who think they have EHS allegedly experience such symptoms as chest pains, headaches, and hearing loss. Some of them are so convinced of the evils of electromagnetic radiation that they’ve packed up and moved to a 13,000-square-mile area of West Virginia that has no wireless technology.

The area, deemed a US Radio Quiet Zone, is free of such signals because they would interfere with the local telescope, thus making it an ideal location for people who claim to have EHS.

While there is some data suggesting EHS is a real malady, Bob Parks, a physics professor at the University of Maryland, isn’t buying it, saying Wi-Fi-emitted radiation just isn’t strong enough to cause the type of body chemistry changes that would make people sick.

“The bigger problem that we face is that in our society, driven by technological change, people have very little education,” he says. “There are lots of things people need to learn and they’re not learning it. The thing that’s going to kill them is ignorance.”


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