Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) refers to a medical disorder characterized by symptoms such as tingling, headaches, fatigue, nausea, or palpitations following exposure to electromagnetic radiation from everyday gadgets such as cellphones, wifi routers, televisions and other gadgets. A French court has awarded a disability grant to a woman claiming to suffer from EHS.
The applicant, Marine Richard, 39, hailed the ruling as a 'breakthrough' for people afflicted by EHS. The condition is not recognized as a medical disorder in most countries, including France, but sufferers insist that exposure to electromagnetic radiation causes them anything from mild discomfort to life-ruining disability. However, scientific studies have found no evidence linking electromagnetic exposure to these symptoms.
Richard, a former radio documentary producer, has opted for a reclusive life in the mountains of southwest France, in a renovated barn without electricity, and is drinking water from the well. In a ruling last month, a court in the southern city of Toulouse decided she can claim a disability allowance of about 800 euros ($912) per month for an adult for a period of three years.
The ruling accepted that Richard's symptoms prevented her from working, but stopped short of recognizing EHS as an illness. Her lawyer Alice Terrasse said, "The ruling could set a legal precedent for thousands of people concerned. It's a breakthrough."
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists EHS as a condition, but says there is no scientific basis for linking the symptoms to electromagnetic exposure. Sweden and Germany have classified EHS as an occupational disease.