It turns out gadgets can really make some people sick, as evidenced by a recent French court ruling that awarded the plaintiff a disability grant for ‘gadget allergy’ caused by electromagnetic radiation, according to the BBC.
Marine Richard, a former radio documentary producer, sued the southern city of Toulouse last month for exposure to electromagnetic radiation that everyday gadgets like Wi-Fi routers and smartphones emit. Even though the ruling makes clear it is not officially recognizing Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) as an illness, the court acknowledges that her symptoms have affected Richard’s ability to work. As a result, she can claim just under $900 US a month as a disability allowance for the next three years.
People who are sensitive to these emissions typically suffer from headaches, fatigue, nausea and palpitations. While the World Health Organization (WHO) does recognize EHS as a known condition, it cites a lack of conclusive evidence that demonstrate a direct link between exposure to low levels of electromagnetic radiation and harm caused to humans. Plus, the fact EHS symptoms are usually self-reported make those claims even more difficult to prove — experts believe they are likely the result of phobia for the effects of radiations rather than a symptom, according to Wired.
A Massachusetts family is certainly hoping this “breakthrough” ruling in the French court will make its suit against a prestigious boarding school successful. The parents are alleging that the Fay School’s recently upgraded industrial strength Wi-Fi network is the cause of their child’s EHS, as reported by Ars Technica. Symptoms that affected their child while in school include: headaches, nose bleeds, dizziness, chest pains, and nausea.
Despite attempts to ask the school to make adjustments to potentially decrease the student’s hypersensitivity (like replace the wireless network with Ethernet connection), the parents claim the school has been unresponsive to their concerns and the health of their child. Hence, they have decided to file.
The symptoms some people experience around technology certainly sound debilitating, whether they’re the direct result of electromagnetic radiation or not. It is extremely difficult to lead an electronics-free life these days, so we can only hope someone can develop a solution for EHS sufferers soon.