French Woman Wins Disability for ‘Wi-fi Allergy’*
By Joshua Krause
In recent years there have been growing fears towards the possible side effects of some electromagnetic waves, such as cell phone radiation and wifi. Even the World Health Organization has classified cell phones and wifi signals as “possible carcinogens.” To date however, the scientific community hasn’t found what they would consider to be, irrefutable proof that these energy fields are hurting people.
What we do know for sure is that there are plenty of people who claim to feel debilitating symptoms around some electronics. While doctors are often very skeptical of these patient’s claims, one of them recently received some validation in the form of a disability check.
The applicant, Marine Richard, 39, hailed the ruling as a “breakthrough” for people afflicted by Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS).
The condition is not recognised as a medical disorder in most countries, including France, but sufferers insist that exposure to mobile phones, wi-fi routers, televisions and other gadgets cause them anything from mild discomfort to life-ruining disability.
Scientific studies have found no evidence linking electromagnetic exposure to the symptoms — tingling, headaches, fatigue, nausea, or palpitations.
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 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 — about 800 euros ($912) per month for an adult — for a period of three years.
The ruling accepted that her symptoms prevented Richard from working, but stopped short of recognising EHS as an illness.
Her lawyer Alice Terrasse said the ruling could set a legal precedent for “thousands of people” concerned.
What I find really interesting about this case, is their reasoning for giving her disability. The court recognizes this woman’s symptoms, but won’t go so far as to say that it’s being caused by electronics. If you asked most doctors and scientists about why people may feel sick around electronics, they would probably claim that it’s nothing more than a “nocebo” effect, as in the opposite of a placebo. The patient believes something is harmful, which causes real debilitating symptoms to develop.
So why didn’t the French court give her disability based on that? Since they won’t admit that electromagnetic waves are making her sick, then as far as they’re concerned, she’s just crazy. They could have ruled in her favour by claiming that she had a mental illness that made it difficult for her to support herself.
Instead they gave her disability…just because? They don’t really say. She has symptoms that mainstream science (which I’m assuming is what the court would adhere to) would call a mental condition, or even just imaginary, but they still chose to cut her a check without citing mental illness. Plus, many of her symptoms would be subjective. Headaches, fatigue, nausea, as far as anyone can tell it’s just in her head. In that case, why would they give her anything at all?
Now I’m not saying that this is the case here. I’m just trying to view this from the perspective of a court that probably trusts mainstream science. It looks like they just gave someone money without any proof that this person suffers from a real condition.
If you ask me, it sounds like the court believes her, but doesn’t want to look silly in front of their colleagues. They’ve decided to help her out, but they don’t want the media and the scientific community to mock them. They probably just want her to take the money and go quietly. Make of that what you will.