This year's ES-UK conference was held, once again, in the head offices of Samworth Brothers in Melton Mowbray (major manufacturers of food products for all of the supermarkets and many others), whose CEO, Brian Stein, electrosensitive himself, is a trustee of both ES-UK and the Radiation Research Trust and is very active in raising the awareness of electrosensitivity both in the UK and worldwide. He has also been instrumental in setting up a new website, www.electromagneticman.co.uk, that describes, through personal stories, how ES can affect your life and gives some basic shielding and avoidance advice.
Thanks to Brian's own sensitivity, his own area of the building where the conference was held has very low radiation levels (very helpful for the attendees the vast majority of whom were quite seriously sensitive); thanks to Samworth's pre-eminence in food manufacture conferees were treated to an excellent lunch which was not only totally delicious but free of gluten and admirably and nutritiously healthy!
Around a hundred sufferers forgathered to hear an eclectic selection of talks and – almost as important – to talk to each other. The presentations will appear on the ES-UK website in due course and we hope also to feature some of the speakers on the FoodsMatter website over the next month. However, here is a brief run down:
Thomas Saunders - The Boiled Frog Syndrome
Thomas Saunders is a successful architect who retired some 20 years ago and has spent those years studying the build environment in which we live and which, he believes, has dramatically influenced our health. His studies have been distilled into his book, The Boiled Frog Syndrome – Your health and the Built Environment. As he says on the book's website:
The Boiled Frog Syndrome presents compelling evidence to show that the source of the majority of the Western diseases of civilisation that have multiplied over the past 100 years, ranging from cancers to debilitating sicknesses and allergies can be traced to the modern built environment, our increasing exposure to electromagnetic radiation and the indiscriminate use of untested advanced technology. It is also due, in part, to the 20th century's repudiation of perennial wisdom.
However, his talk in Melton Mowbray focused not so much how our buildings are damaging us (to find that out, you can read the book) but on how electrosensitives should be using the Disability and Equality Act (2010) to their own benefit. Crucially, he pointed out, the act focuses not on what has caused the disability but on the effect that the disability has on the person's life:
The definition of 'disability' under the Equality Act 2010:
In the Act, a person has a disability if:
If you are therefore unable to carry out 'normal' activities (which include shopping, travelling, going to work, working in a standard office/factory etc, going to the cinema, watching television, cooking and cleaning your house or any other activity that a 'normal' person would expect to be able to perform), you qualify to be considered for a disability allowance.
Of course, this does not mean that you would automatically get one – far from it and, as government spending cuts cut ever deeper, it will be harder and harder for anyone to get a disability allowance. But, his point was that, a strict reading of the act should not exclude someone suffering from electrosensitivity, even if the condition was not recognised as a medical disability as it is not the cause of the disability that matters but how it disrupts your ability to lead a normal life.
Thomas Saunders suggested that the equivalent of a 'class action' was really needed by electrosensitives to test this out and that, for success, one needed a lawyer who was prepared to take on the establishment – a Clive Stafford Smith for electrosensitives. As yet, as Brian Stein pointed out, one has not appeared. Indeed, quite the contrary as most lawyers are too nervous of the fall out from taking on the mobile phone industry to stick their heads even a centimetre above the parapet.
None the less, it is an interesting concept, if someone would care to take up the cudgels.
Dr Erica Mallery Blythe – Discussion of Present Management & Diagnostics
Dr Mallery Blythe gave a long, very well received and helpful talk on management strategies.
Professor Denis Henshaw – EMF and Health – the science, or some or it – but when will anyone take any notice?
Professor Denis Henshaw from Bristol University gave a fascinating talk. He looked at power frequencies and magnetic fields and the disruption of nocturnal melatonin by magnetic fields. He also described how animals (birds, mammals, fish – and humans) sense and use magnetic fields through magnetic particles (magnetites and cryptochromes) in beaks, eyes and brains – and how this can be disrupted by man-made electromagnetic fields.
Dr Andrew Tressider – A GP's perspective
Dr Tressider, who is a trustee of ES-UK, practices as a GP in Somerset and is electrosensitive himself. He ran through his own history (which will be very familiar to many ES sufferers) and then descroibed several case histories from his own practice.
His own experience:
Four-year-old boy. Remained unwell with fevers and poor sleep three months after a dose of flu. Moved into mother's bed, father slept in child's bed and found it hard to sleep there. Hospital could find no cause for child's ill health.
However, as Dr Tressider pointed out, none of these cases would have been resolved had he not been ES-aware and either asked the right questions or, in the last case, actually made a home visit with an electrosmog detector. But amongst general practitioners, he is in a vanishingly small minority for, as of now, there is no information about electrosensitivity provided for doctors either at medical school or during their subsequent careers.
Dr Diana Samways – Airborne particles and total load
Dr Samways talked specifically about mould intolerance and how it can add to the total load upon the body. For here protocol for mould allergy management see here.
Alasdair Phillips of Powerwatch
Alasdair gave a run down of the latest developments in the world of ES, pointing out that although there were very worrying development such as the spread of the smart meter network, significant strides in public and government awareness had been made, such as the WHO's International Agency for Research into Cancer's classification of mobile phone usage as a Group 2b carcinogen and the Council of Europe's recommendation that wifi and mobile phones should be banned in schools and that 'acceptable threshold values for electromagnetic radiation' should be re-assessed and lowered.
First Published in September 2011