For years, Marilyn Wilson had a disease with no cure. Doctors couldn’t help her, but an electrician did.
When Marilyn Wilson turned 40, nearly seven years ago, her friends threw her a surprise party. It was the last time in a long time that she remembers feeling good. Within a few years, Wilson was forced to leave her job as a social worker after using up all the sick leave she had accumulated over 17 years. Some days, she could barely pull herself out of bed, and then, after an exhausting day, she couldn’t sleep. Negotiating the stairs became almost unbearable.
By the account, she visited more than 20 doctors, but none could explain what was wrong. Her fatigue could not be attributed to a bacterial or viral infection. Her hands were sometimes too weak to button her own clothes, but multiple sclerosis and related diseases were ruled out.
Eventually she was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). For Wilson, the low point came toward the end of last year: unable to attend holiday celebrations, she even forgot a planned vacation due to the mental “fog” she experienced.
Around this time, in a support group for women diagnosed with CFS, Wilson stumbled across what might have been the most amazing discovery of her life. A woman, also diagnosed with CFS, contacted the group with the news of her own miraculous recovery. The recovery was not due to some new medical miracle. She had simply turned off the power in her house. She felt better right away and within days, her “CFS” symptoms disappeared. Now she keeps her house as de-electrified as possible, convinced that power quality was the root of her illness – and maybe that of others like her.
After “six years of hell”, Wilson was ready to try anything. She called an industrial electrician and consultant who has a long history of working with the phenomenon of “stray electricity” on farms. He came to Wilson’s house and measured to low-voltage, high-frequency current flowing on her wires and throughout her house. He rigged Wilson up with a meter connected to a small audio amplifier. When she touched her sink, her dimmer switches on the doorknob – anything conductive, the amplifier screamed.
Her house was full of high frequency electricity, and she was completing the circuit.
Later measurements confirmed the problem. She put a meter on her kitchen counter and charted how she felt. Peaks in the measured current matched her lowest points in the day. For the first time, Wilson could explain why she felt worse in the early mornings, when people were getting up and turning on appliances and, in the summer, and winter, when electricity usage for air conditioning and heat is at its peak. It was a revelation: “When I began to overlay my life experience with my electrical experience, it all made sense,” CFS was not to blame at all.
“It didn’t get better overnight”. She says, “but it was almost that fast.” Now Wilson, 46, says her symptoms have receded. A disease that her doctors could not cure has undergone a remission that they cannot explain. This has made her a true believer in an issue some dismiss as kooky while others say may be the greatest hidden public health issue of our time.
“There’s no doubt in my mind that there is a problem here,” say Wilson. “And I would like the government and the utilities to acknowledge the problem, identify a solution, and put it into place. People shouldn’t have to worry about whether their power is safe.”
Wilson and her consultant believe the cause of her illness stems from a phenomenon known to electricians and engineers as harmonics.
Electricity normally flows at 50 or 60 cycles per second (Hz) in an alternating current (AC). But computers, TVs, fax machines, fluorescent lighting and various others electronic devices incorporate circuitry that injects high frequency harmonics back into the electric lines. The cumulative effect of everyone turning their appliances on and off throughout the day is to overload the power grid with harmonic frequencies – popularly referred to as “dirty power”.
The standard response from utilities and the state Public Service Commission (PSC) is that electromagnetic fields pose no substantial health risk. But a study published in January 2000 by EPRI, the utility industry research center, found evidence that “may explain the reported associations of residential magnetic fields with childhood leukemia.” This study drew the first link between EMFs and contact currents, popularly known as “stray voltage”.
It’s an interesting coincidence that the classic symptoms of CFS – fatigue, insomnia, muscle and joint pain, headaches and tender or swollen lymph nodes – are almost exactly the same as the symptoms listed by people who are exposed to radio or microwave frequency radiation in a controlled setting.
Last year, The La Crosse Tribune published an award-winning series by reporter Chris Hardie documenting the effects of stray voltage on cows. Farmers have seen the productivity of their herds plummet. Their cattle twitch, moan, pick their feet up constantly and fail to produce milk. Some die.
The literature on the health effects of electromagnetic fields is in fact extensive. Even a causal survey turns up more than 1,000 journal articles. But that literature doesn’t show a causal relationship between electromagnetic fields and disease, just a correlational one. The kind of double-blind, peer-reviewed human clinical studies needed to establish mainstream credibility simple have not been done.
While most of the attention garnered by dirty power and harmonics has focused on farms, the problem is not limited to the countryside. This is an issue that crosses town and city boundaries, and we all should be aware of it and want it resolved.
Some feel that in the city the problem is worse because of the number of houses using the electrical grid. The density of houses, each with their own array of gadgetry being turned on and off, overloads the grid with harmonics much faster than in the country. It may be that cows are simply more susceptible to health effects.
For more information about electromagnetic fields, visit www.lessemf.com or contact the EMF Safety SuperStore in New York at: 1-518-392-1946.