Electrosensitivity claim hits a bump

by scotslawstudent

Electrosensitivity is one of the newer injury complaints that’s been making the rounds worldwide. Generally it boils down to microwave or radio radiation triggering allergy type reactions and like all personal injury actions the aim is to remedy the damage. Unusually for personal injury cases if someone manages to win one of these it will change modern life.

There is such a case working its way through the courts in South Africa on this issue and the defence has possibly revealed the biggest card ever. The pursuers allege that they have been harmed by a radio tower owned by iBurst. iBurst say that this could not have happened, not just because of issues I’ll mention in a second, but because they’d turned the tower off a month and a half before the residents even got together to discuss their problems. I’m not a lawyer but I think that’s a pretty good defence. I really hope it won’t adversely affect their much more sensible planning based dispute with the mast’s operator.

I have no doubt that most of those complaining about electrosensitivity have suffered the effects they claim but I’ve always been sceptical that their electronic equipment is doing it to them. Electromagnetic radiation was ancient in Benjamin Franklin’s time.

The problem with electrosensitivity claims is that there’s just no solid evidence that the things that people complain about are actually capable of doing what they’re being accused of, even before considering if they are doing it. It’s either in the situation that cigarettes were in the 60s or homoeopathy is now and we might look back in the future and think we were silly for ever thinking it could have been the other way. Right now no one’s been able to show conclusive links.

We all know that radiation is bad for us, we know to avoid sitting in the sun too long, and to stay away from nuclear waste and the business end of X-Ray machines. It would follow that avoiding the microwave radiation in a mobile phone would be a critical survival tip too, right?

Not really, it all depends on whether or not mobile phones are harmful for us or not. It could well be like avoiding a house cat just because tigers and lions are dangerous. The effect radiation has on people comes down to power, like a lot of things in life, and to wavelength, like rather fewer things in life. If there’s not enough power in a signal at the right wavelength then the wave won’t do anything to you and I think that’s really where we are with WiFi and mobile phone, the most common complaints, electrosensitivity cases.