Electrosensitivity: is technology killing us? – video
An excerpt from a film made by photographer Thomas Ball on his on-going project on electrosensitivity. Here he talks to some of the people who suffer from the condition and some of the experts in the field with differing opinions on whether such an illness exists
Electrosensitivity: is technology killing us?
Is modern life making us ill? Yes, say those who suffer from electrosensitivity. Are they cranks, or should we all be throwing away our mobile phones?
The Guardian, Friday 29 March 2013 15.00 EDT
Tim Hallam is just tall enough to seem gangly. His height makes the bedroom feel even smaller than it is. Muddy sunlight filters through the grey gauze hung over his window. His narrow bed appears to be covered with a glistening silver mosquito net. The door and the ceiling are lined with tinfoil. Tim tells me there is also a layer of foil beneath the wallpaper and under the wood-effect flooring. He says, “The room is completely insulated; the edges are sealed with aluminium tape and connected with conducting tape so I could ground the whole room. It’s a Faraday cage, effectively. Grounding helps with the low frequencies radiation, apparently. The high frequencies just bounce off the outside.”
Tim is trying to escape atmospheric manmade radiation caused by Wi-Fi, phone signals, radio, even TV screens and fluorescent bulbs. It’s a hopeless task, he admits: “It’s so hard to get away from, and it’s taken a toll on my life.” I offer to put my phone outside the room and he happily accepts, firmly closing the door. He explains the phone would have kept searching for a signal. “And because it wouldn’t find one, it would keep ramping up.” With the tinfoil inside his cage, the signal would hurtle around the room like a panicked bird.
Tim estimates he spent £1,000 on the insulation, taking photographs at every stage to share with others via ElectroSensitivity UK, the society for sufferers. He found the whole process stressful, especially after a summer sleeping in the garden of his shared house in Leamington Spa to escape a new flatmate’s powerful Wi-Fi router. How did he feel about the flatmate at the time? “Oh, I hated him. It wasn’t really him, of course. But I was so angry.” Among the symptoms Tim experiences – headaches, muscular pain, dry eyes – there are memory lapses and irritability. He now says his bed is the single most important thing he owns. “I climb in and zip it up so I’m completely sealed. Inside, I sleep extremely well. Without it, my sleep is fragmented, and without sleep, then lots of other things go wrong.”