Sep. 14, 2011 at 12:07 PM ET
As you're reading these words, a wireless router, cellphone, or cordless phone might be silently sitting nearby. You normally wouldn't think twice about the presence of these gadgets — but what if being near them caused you physical pain? How would you find distance from such common household electronics?
If you are an individual who believes electromagnetic radiation emitted by wireless devices makes people ill, you might flee to Green Bank, West Virginia.
BBC reports that the tiny village of 143 residents is slowly turning into a shelter for a number of "Americans who believe they suffer from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), which they say is caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields typically created by mobile phones, Wi-Fi and other electronic equipment."
The reason these individuals are gradually flocking to Green Bank is because it is located in the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, an area of about 13,000 square miles in which wireless transmissions are very restricted in order to prevent interference with radio telescopes.
Thanks to these restrictions, individuals thought to be suffering from EHS can avoid a variety of problems which — according to the World Health Organization (WHO) — may include "dermatological symptoms (redness, tingling, and burning sensations) as well as neurasthenic and vegetative symptoms (fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances)."
It is worth noting that while the WHO acknowledges that EHS symptoms are "certainly real and can vary widely in their severity," it does not provide a clear diagnostic criteria nor does it offer any "scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure."
Whether electromagnetic fields are or aren't causing EHS symptoms, folks struggling with them appear to feel better when they head into an area free of wireless technology — or at least that appears to be the case for a woman interviewed by BBC:
"Living [in Green Bank] allows me to be more of a normal person. I can be outdoors. I don't have to stay hidden in a Faraday Cage," she says.
"I can see the sunrise, I can see the stars at night, and I can be in the rain. Here in Green Bank allows me to be with people. People here do not carry cell phones so I can socialize."
"I can go to church, I can attend some celebrations, I can be with people. I couldn't do that when I had to remain in the Faraday Cage."