I have just read a very interesting column "Family doctors do not hand out antidepressants 'like sweets'", http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/10123944/Family-doctors-do-not-hand-out-antidepressants-like-sweets.html. At the end of it, he asks if anyone has encountered health problems related to wireless gadgets, such as iPads.
This phenomenon has been covered in extenso in the scientific literature, and just for your information I enclose a few recent papers by myself and my coworkers (N.B. See p. 2 of the press release from 1995).
In addition, note the following: In Sweden, electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is an officially fully recognized functional impairment (i.e., it is not regarded as a disease, thus no diagnosis* exists; N.B. This is not special for Sweden, the terms "functional impairment" and "disease" are defined according to various international documents (see below)). Among the nine million Swedes there are currently around 250,000 people with this disability.
Persons with the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity have their own handicap organization, The Swedish Association for the Electrohypersensitive (http://www.feb.se; the website has an English version). This organization is included in The Swedish Disability Federation (Handikappförbundens SamarbetsOrgan; HSO; http://www.hso.se; the site has an English short version). As a consequence of this, The Swedish Association for the Electrohypersensitive receives an annual governmental subsidy (cf. below).
Fortunately, for most persons with electrohypersensitivity their impairment is not life debilitating, thus, with accessability measure alterations of their home, their workplace, their means of transportation, and their places of leisure, they can manage their life well. However, for a smaller proportion of persons the symptoms - including also light intolerance - are very severe, and for yet another group they can be completely devastating, leaving them no other choice than to leave our modern society and spend a lengthy time in desolated parts of their country, living in small shielded cabins, huts, tents or trailers. Such refugees can be found in many countries, including Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Switzerland, France, Germany, the UK, the USA and in Canada.
The first step for a person in Sweden with a functional impairment is to contact the municipality’s special civil servant for disability issues, as well as the various handicap organizations and authorities, to achieve accessability measures of various types with the sole aim to have an equal life in a society based on equality (according to the The UN 22 Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for People with Disabilities - since 2007 upgraded into The UN Convention on Human Rights for Persons with Functional Impairments, http://www.un.org).
An impairment is - by definition - not defined by someone else or proven by certain tests, etc. The impairment is always personal (private) and develops when in contact with an inferior environment.
[N.B. Remember that functional impairments are only based upon each individual’s impaired accessability to - and contact with - an inferior environment (cf. the UN), thus, there is actually no need for any “recognition” in local laws (cf. the UN). In Sweden, the former Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Lars Engqvist - as a member of the previous government - anyhow gave his “approval” in a letter dated May, 2000 [Regeringskansliet 2000-04-06, Dnr S2000/2158/ST]. He also made it clear in his response that for EHS persons there are no restrictions or exceptions in the handicap laws and regulations. Thus, these laws and regulations are to be fully applied also for EHS persons.]
Treating members of the community equally is not something that should be done as a favour; nor is it something that any parliament or government should politely request other inhabitants to provide others with. Equality is not something to be done “out of the goodness of one’s heart”. It is something one does because it is expected of every citizen, because inaccessibility and discrimination are prohibited by law. Thus, it is not alright to deliberately make your symptoms worse.
The electrically hypersensitive must therefore, in every situation and by all available means, demand respect, representation and power. They shall very clearly reject all approaches which reflect
a mentality of “feeling pity for them” or “caring for them”. Inaccessibility is not a personal problem. It is a problem for society. Inaccessibility is not about attitudes. It is about discrimination. And discriminatory actions and conduct shall not be dealt with by well-meaning talk about treatment. Discrimination is already illegal!
This view can fully be motivated in relation to national and
international handicap laws and regulations, including the UN 22
Standard Rules/UN Convention and the Swedish Action Plan for
Persons with Impairments (prop. 1999/2000:79 “Den nationella
handlingplanen för handikappolitiken – Från patient till medborgare”; Proposition 1999/2000:79, 1999/2000:SoU14). Also, the Human Rights Act in the EU fully applies.
Finally, remember we all must adhere to and follow all the handicap laws and regulations. To do the opposite is a serious violation and should immediately be reported/filed as an official legal complaint to your local authorities, parliament, government, the EU and the UN. This is of particular importance since Katri Linna, the Swedish Diskrimineringsombudsman (=the Equality Ombudsman), clearly states in the newspaper Sydsvenskan (January 23-26, 2009; http://sydsvenskan.se/chattarkiv/article408013.ece
) that “electrohypersensitivity is – according to the law – a functional impairment and I recommend EHS persons that are discriminated to file a complaint”.
(Olle Johansson, assoc. prof.
The Experimental Dermatology Unit
Department of Neuroscience
171 77 Stockholm
The Royal Institute of Technology
100 44 Stockholm