That’s the headline in the Sunday Times – Britian. It’s about time that another government acknowledged what a friend in reinsurance calls “the next asbestos.”

(And a translation for those of us on this side of the pond — pylons are transmission line structures, and masts are the cellular towers!)

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Electrical fields can make you sick

Sarah-Kate Templeton, Medical Correspondent

A GOVERNMENT agency has acknowledged for the first time that people can suffer nausea, headaches and muscle pains when exposed to electromagnetic fields from mobile phones, electricity pylons and computer screens.

The condition known as electrosensitivity, a heightened reaction to electrical energy, will be recognised as a physical impairment.

A report by the Health Protection Agency (HPA), to be published next month, will state that increasing numbers of British people are suffering from the syndrome. While the total figure is not known, thousands are believed to be affected to some extent.

The report, by the agency?s radiation protection division, is expected to say that GPs do not know how to treat sufferers and that more research is needed to find cures. It will give a full list of the symptoms, which can include dizziness, irregular heartbeat and loss of memory.

Although most European countries do not recognise the condition, Britain will follow Sweden where electrosensitivity was recognised as a physical impairment in 2000. About 300,000 Swedish men and women are sufferers.

The acknowledgement may fuel legal action by sufferers who claim mobile phone masts have made them ill.

In January Sir William Stewart, chairman of the HPA and the government?s adviser on mobile phones, warned that a small proportion of the population could be harmed by exposure to electromagnetic fields, and called for careful examination of the problem.

The HPA has now reviewed all scientific literature on electrosensitivity and concluded that it is a real syndrome. The condition had previously been dismissed as psychological.

The findings should lead to better treatment for sufferers. In Sweden people who are allergic to electrical energy receive government support to reduce exposure in their homes and workplaces.

Special cables are installed in sufferers? homes while electric cookers are replaced with gas stoves. Walls, roofs, floors and windows can be covered with a thin aluminium foil to keep out the electromagnetic field ? the area of energy that occurs round any electrically conductive item.

British campaigners believe electrical devices in the home and the workplace, as well as mobile phones emitting microwave radiation, have created an environmental trigger for the syndrome.

There is particular concern about exposure to emissions from mobile phone masts or base stations, often located near schools or hospitals.

In January Stewart also called for a national review of planning rules for masts. The review was launched by the government in April.

British sufferers report feeling they are being ?zapped? by electromagnetic fields from appliances and go out of their way to avoid them.

Some have moved to remote areas where electromagnetic pollution is lower.

The HPA report is eagerly awaited by campaigners. Alasdair Philips, director of the campaign group Powerwatch, said: ?This will help the increasing number of people who tell us their GPs do not know how to treat them.?

Rod Read, chairman of Electrosensitivity UK, added: ?This will be the beginning of an awareness of a new form of pollution from electrical energy.?


This is the issue for my clients, Diane and Bert Schou, in Cedar Falls, Iowa, who are battling Cedar Falls Utilities and the Iowa Utilities Board, working toward having the permit denied or the transmission line rerouted. It’s important to put a face on electrical sensistivity — this is very real. Diane Schou is very real, her injuries are real.


Diane has developed electrical sensitivity, and it has made life very, very difficult. Every day, she must take extreme precautions to protect herself from the signals emitting from a local cell tower. There is a LOT of information out there on EMF, electrical sensitivity, biological impacts, and precautions that should be taken, including:

EMF-RAPID report

A pooled analysis of magnetic fields and childhood leukaemia

Black on White, just published in English, the experiences of hundreds of people suffering from electric sensitivity. This is the site with the entire book, available for downloading. It’s BIG, be prepared.

Here are a couple of general sites with a LOT of information:
The Swedish Association for the Electrically Sensitive
The Power Line Task Force’s

Now, to add injury to Diane’s electrical injury, Cedar Falls Utilities wants to put a transmission line 70 feet from her home, located directly on the other side of the road. And the Iowa Code requires that lines be sited only where it will not “inconvenience or cause undue injury” to affected property owners. The Administrative Law Judge of the Iowa Utilities Board did not take Diane Schou or Iowa law into account.

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The route that Cedar Falls Utilities has chosen as their “preferred” route is odd, in that it doesn’t utilize already existing transmission corridors through the area, and that it goes right past a registered landing strip and the Schous’ home. It is carefully routed around all the new development in the area, development that equals the new residential load growth! The new substation is going up about a mile east on Ridgeway, the same road that Schous live on.

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The new substation is located near the John Deere factory, but a look at the map shows that there are at least four substations named for Deere facilities — that’s the main load in the area. Deere seems to be the primary benefactor of this line.

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Here’s the Des Moines Register article about their case:

Cedar Falls woman loses bid to block power line extension

Things have changed a bit since that article! Since the last blog report, when the Iowa Utility Board approved seven issues for appeal, a VERY favorable Order (here’s that Order), we’ve submitted our Initial Brief, as did Cedar Falls Utilities and the Office of the Consumer Advocate, and we submitted Reply Briefs as well. Cedar Falls Utilities has made three Motions to Strike, to strike me as their attorney, to strike Exhibits and to strike me as their attorney and my brief again! It’s been a legal marathon. We’ve replied to their Motions with a legal “pffffffffbbbbbbbbt!” and we’ll see how the Iowa Utiltiies Board rules.

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