Recent additions to this website are a page on Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) and a chapter on Symptoms.
Electromagnetic sensitivity is when a person experiences adverse health effects when using, or in proximity to, RF-EMF emitting devices and equipment – Smart Meters, cell phones, Wi-Fi, cell towers – and/or EMF fields. This is an environmentally-induced condition, and it can be life-threatening. Avoidance and reduced exposure are key. EMS is recognized by the U.S. government. This condition is also known as electrohypersensitivity (EHS) in Europe, Canada, and other countries.
EMS/EHS can be disabling, and in the United States, those who are disabled are entitled to equal access and protected from discrimination by the law.
The new page has information and resources on the Americans with Disabilities Act, including the U.S. definition of “disability”.
Wireless radiation poses an access barrier to those who are EMS-disabled.
In 2002, the U.S. Access Board recognized electromagnetic sensitivity and that it can be disabling. In 2005, the Board released the Indoor Environmental Quality report with building design and modification recommendations and accommodation suggestions for those with EMS and multiple chemical sensitivities. This report is a “must have” for everyone struggling with EMS and experiencing restricted access to their community, essential services including medical care and grocery stores, access to city streets and sidewalks, and the most essential of all, the use and enjoyment of their own homes.
Disabled accommodation is when a modification to policies and practices is made in order to increase access to a disabled person. For example, for the mobility impaired, that can be a ramp. Requests are made to the entity – eg. city hall, utility company, doctor’s office — for disabled accommodation, with suggestions on what would make that facility or service more accessible to the disabled person. The request has to be reasonable, or it can be denied. The accommodation granted has to be meaningful to you.
For those disabled by EMS, disabled accommodation can take many forms.
An important example is requesting an analog meter as a disabled accommodation. Though utility companies and utility commissions should understand that “this meter is making me sick” is a request for disabled accommodation, it is best to clearly state that you are requesting disabled accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act, that you are disabled by electromagnetic sensitivities, that the meter’s emissions are causing you disabling health effects, and this is an access barrier to the use and enjoyment of your home.
As quasi-state actors (ADA Title II Technical Assistance Manual, II-1.3000 Relationship to title III), state-regulated utilities have to comply with ADA Title II requirements, which are stricter than the Title III requirements for other businesses.
At this time, ADA is generally being ignored by utility commissions and by utility companies. In addition, many people that become ill from Smart/AMI/AMR/digital meter emissions and other wireless technology, do not think of themselves as disabled and consequently, do not avail themselves of these resources and protection. However, in many cases, they qualify as disabled under federal and state-equivalent rules. Learning about the definition, and making accommodation requests to regain access, raises the visibility on these crippling wireless impacts and is essential for your civil rights and to lessen the functional impairment you experience.
The so-called opt-outs do not apply to the EMS-disabled. The EMS-disabled cannot “choose” to have an analog meter; it is essential. There is no “option” when a person suffers disabling health effects from these EMF emissions. Furthermore, the ADA Title II Technical Assistance Manual states that fees, such as those for an “opt-out”, are considered a surcharge in relation to the disabled and are not allowed — II-3.5400 Surcharges.
Each accommodation granted can help to get additional ones. Asking a doctor or dentist to turn off the Wi-Fi when you go in for an appointment, or the public library to make a Wi-Fi free time during the week, so you can use it, or asking your city officials to ask people to turn off their wireless devices at the beginning of the meeting, or even turn off the Wi-Fi in the room while you are there – these are examples of accommodation requests.
If accommodation requests are not granted, if entities will not dialogue with you about possible alternatives, you can file complaints locally and with your state. This is a civil rights issue, and each state has a civil rights agency, board, or commission with which complaints can be filed.
A simple letter from a doctor or some other knowledgeable professional is not necessary except when an entity intends to challenge a person’s assertion of disabled rights. However, ADA says:
(ii) The primary object of attention in cases brought under title II of the ADA should be whether public entities have complied with their obligations and whether discrimination has occurred, not the extent to which an individual’s impairment substantially limits a major life activity. Accordingly, the threshold issue of whether an impairment substantially limits a major life activity should not demand extensive analysis.
Americans with Disabilities Act (revised 10/16) § 35.108(d)(ii)
Raising the visibility of this issue is the responsibility of everyone affected by it. We do that by asking for what we need — reduced exposure and equal access.
In addition, this disability is not a well-known class. When a disability is not well known, a person asserting his/her disabled rights also bears the responsibility of educating — informing an entity of his/her limitations and requirements. After the person has done so, then the entity must comply.
This situation has some similarities to smoking. Non-smoking areas used to be rare in restaurants and public areas. Now, non-smoking areas are the norm in the United States and many countries.
- disabled accommodation
- barriers to access
At present, the Electromagnetic Sensitivity page has mostly United States information. In future, I hope to expand that.