Cellphone Ailment Drives Sufferers to W.Va.

Wednesday, 14 Sep 2011 01:24 PM

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People who claim to be suffering from illnesses they believe are associated with Wi-Fi and cellphone signals are taking up residence in a 13,000-square-foot area of West Virginia called the U.S. Radio Quiet Zone, reports BBC News.

"It's a horrible thing to have to be a prisoner," said Diane Schou, one of the dozens of electromagnetic refugees who have come to the area, centered around the town of Green Bank. "You become a technological leper because you can't be around people. It's not that you would be contagious to them — it's what they're carrying that is harmful to you."

People such as Schou report symptoms including twitching muscles, chronic pain, burning skin, and acute headaches.

Before moving to West Virginia, Schou slept in a homemade Faraday cage, which is supposed to block harmful emissions. She said her symptoms became so overwhelming that she decided to move the family from Iowa to the tiny town of 143 in the Allegheny Mountains.

"Living here allows me to be more of a normal person,” said Shou. “I can be outdoors. I don't have to stay hidden in a Faraday cage.”

Scientific evidence for the existence of so-called electromagnetic hypersensitivity is inconclusive and sometimes conflicting, according to the BBC.

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