Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas - A Special Peril - EHS

When I was a kid, it was a standing joke in my family that by Christmas Eve I would be unwell. The less charitable put it down to youthful excitement and anticipation, though none of us understood why it was a recurring pattern I did not seem to grow out of. That was until a couple of years ago when I had Christmas at my sister’s.

One of the strings of Christmas tree lights had packed up and I offered to fix them, as I had frequently done as a youngster. No sooner had I reached into the tree than I was overcome by an intense feeling of nausea. Like a light bulb going on, for the first time in over 40 years I suddenly realised that it was the electric field from the Christmas lights that was affecting me so significantly. Recollections of Christmas Past suggested what we had all failed to grasp at the time, a time way before anybody in our family understood anything about Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity - EHS. It was electromagnetism that was making me sick and spoiling my Christmas each year.

After Christmas Dinner, we’d all settle down in the sitting room to open presents. It was our job as children to dive under the tree and distribute parcels and this of course further added to my repeated exposure. By the time all the presents were unwrapped, I was typically feeling jaded, ill, perplexed and not very happy.

Between Christmas and New Year, when everyone is playing with their new gizmos, many EHS find it particularly difficult to cope. Often they have no idea what is affecting them. With the excitement of many new things and the season’s festivities, it is easy not to make associations between cause and effect.

Electromagnetic emissions (Electrosmog) from new wireless / mobile devices, electronic toys, even Christmas tree lights may affect some people. If it is unclear why some of your friends and family are unhappy at Christmas-time, could it be because of novel forms of electromagnetic exposure?


denby said...

Very interesting. The thing is, is there any general guidance on types of lights and safe distances or time exposures? For instance, I've always been transformer wary and will site plug in ones powering lights (or come to that battery chargers or anything similar) 8 or 9 feet from pillow, but is this far enough? Can be tricky to get further away in a small terraced house.
What about trad versus LED light strings please?

Electric Forester said...

Hi denby,
Whether incandescent or LED, staying away from Christmas lights is precautionary. If you are aware of the possibility of adverse reactions and what to watch out for, then you can choose to limit proximity and duration of exposure. Flashing lights particularly are liable to increase Dirty Electricity on mains wiring and flashing LED bike lights often put out quite a bit of RF, suggesting mounting them as far away from the body as possible is a good idea.
Staying 1.5 to 2 metres away from household transformers is also a good idea and unplug them when not in use. Beware of coiled extension leads running high powered devices such as heaters as they can produce significant magnetic fields. The current required to power lights is unlikely to produce this effect through the coiled wire.