April 12, 2013

The non receptionists

Slate profiles Green Back, West Virginia - a tiny town that falls within the U.S. National Radio Quiet Zone, where almost any kind of radio transmission is prohibited. This means no radio, TV, WiFi, or cell phones:

For most people, this restriction is a nuisance. But a few dozen people have moved to Green Bank (population: 147) specifically because of it. They say they suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, or EHS—a disease not recognized by the scientific community in which these frequencies can trigger acute symptoms like dizziness, nausea, rashes, irregular heartbeat, weakness, and chest pains. Diane Schou came here with her husband in 2007 because radio-frequency exposure anywhere else she went gave her constant headaches. Life isn’t perfect here. There’s no grocery store, no restaurants, no hospital nearby,” she told me when I visited her house last month. But here, at least, I’m healthy. I can do things. I’m not in bed with a headache all the time.”

This was a good read although I do wish it focused less on the issue and more on the people: less scientific and psychological angles of EHS and radio signal harm, more on the town’s inhabitants and how it feels to be virtually isolated from the rest of the world.

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