Energy and Climate Change CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Damian May (SMR102)


Electrosensitivity is an invisible, but very real problem for many people, and manifests in many ways. It is caused by the interaction of artificial electromagnetic fields with biological systems, both from field effects from cables and appliances, and from transmission effects from transmitting technology. Mechanisms are thought to include calcium efflux from cells, interference with the blood-brain barrier, general sympathetic upregulation, and interference with free radical pair recombination amongst others.

Other symptoms that more sensitized people can develop include headaches, fatigue, poor sleep patterns, altered sensation and tingling, irritation and rashes, earaches and unsteadiness, confusion and difficulty in memory, aches and numbness, mood swings, faintness, tremors and restless legs, and other sensitivities.

Please note, the above are all short term effects—the jury will be out for some time on long term effects, though we already know the correlation between EM fields and childhood leukaemia, whilst there is increasing evidence linking dementia with EM Fields. During the Cold War microwaves were used as offensive tools to cause ill health.

I am convinced that this is very real, but under-recognized problem. Regulatory and safety levels and information provided by the Health Protection Agency and ICNIRP may be lagging the developments in research and the harms occurring. Meanwhile the Council of Europe has recommended caution in the roll-out of transmitting technologies (wifi etc), especially in schools and the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research into Cancer has re-classified transmitting technologies as a Class 2b possible carcinogen (instead of having no potential for harm). The UK Government and industry are committed to the rollout of Smart Meters and wifi coverage without appreciating the increasing number of people affected.

There is now a considerable amount of good scientific research on the matter world wide, and the area deserves urgent investigation—however, research always lags the appearance of the problem in susceptible individuals—so we should all heed the precautionary principle advised by Sir William Stewart of the Stewart Inquiry.

We are seeing a developing picture—(Canaries were used to detect carbon monoxide, dioxide and methane, as they were affected before the miners were). The incidence is not certain, but some reports show 3–5% moderately affected, less than 1% severely—but possibly 20% slightly affected. I myself am severly affected.

Treatment is problematic—but essentially includes avoidance of EM fields as much as possible, as well as nutritional support, and antihistamines for rashes and irritation. It will certainly be a developing field to help the many people affected.

It took a long time for adverse effects to be noted from tobacco, from lead in petrol, and from asbestos—and the relevant industries were not exactly helpful in admitting the possibility of any problems. Expect to see lots of lobbying that rubbishes the helpful factual information such as on the websites noted below—even though Michael Bevington’s book alone has 828 references.

Thank you for reading this.

Resources and have a good deal of useful info, as does the Bristol University site from Prof Denis Henshaw

The Powerwatch Handbook by Alasdair and Jean Philips (Amazon) is recommended, as is,

Electromagnetic Sensitivity by Michael Bevington—an excellent overview with 828 scientific references from ES-UK, BM Box ES-UK, London WC1N 3XX for £10

February 2013

Prepared 26th July 2013