Wednesday, May 28, 2008


A group of self-described "electro-sensitives" in New Mexico say they are being discriminated against because public buildings such as libraries have Wi-Fi in them, and they claim that Wi-Fi makes them sick.

Arthur Firstenberg says he is highly sensitive to certain types of electric fields, including wireless Internet and cell phones. "I get chest pain and it doesn't go away right away," he said.

Firstenberg and dozens of other electro-sensitive people in Santa Fe claim that putting up Wi-Fi in public places is a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The city attorney is now checking to see if putting up Wi-Fi could be considered discrimination.

link to story here

What do you think? Are libraries and coffee shops discriminating against "electro-sensitives" by providing Wi-Fi access? Should we provide "dead-zones" to accommodate?


Anonymous said...

I think they are a bunch of cry babies.

aev said...

why are they only in santa fe? is that where the electro-sensitive commune is?

Josh said...

I wonder why they are specifically targeting wi-fi!? With the number of cellular phones in existence, you would think electro-sensitives couldn't leave their house.

71 said...

This is what happens when folks have too much spare time.

Seriously...I suffer from seasonal allergies. I feel discriminated against by businesses and government offices that plant flowers outside their buildings, have trees in the vacinity, and grow grass. Oh, and for crying out loud, my coworkers with plants on their desks! Who do I call to sue these people? This world just has no respect for my rights to be allergen free!

Josh said...

At first I thought this was just a fe w individuals in New Mexico raising a fuss. However, a little digging brought me to their website:

According to their site:

ElectroSensitivity is a medical condition characterized by an unhealthy sensitivity to electricity. It is unique from most other medical conditions in that each individual reacts in a different way with their own set of symptoms and sources of electricity that trigger them.

This uniqueness makes it difficult for the medical profession to understand and accept, and as such, although very real, most countries do not officially recognize it as a disablement.

Marcantel said...

Why Santa Fe? The easiest answer to that is because its the home town of Arthur Firstenberg, an "electro-sensitive" & ES awareness advocate who has published extensively about this perceived problem.

While Firstenberg might be just a quack, a more reputable individual who has spoken out against this is Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, who also claims to be an ES sufferer.

I read some of Firstenberg's articles last year, and an interesting point he has made is concerning the ability of scientists to "diagnose" radio & electro-magnetic fields as the real source of the illness "electro-sensitives" seem to have. Since the 1950s there's been such a proliferation of electro-magnetic radiation that this creates problems for finding a control group. Since tower & now satellite radiation cover the entire earth, you would be forced to select a control group who has exposure to at least some degree.

There seems to be no direct ratio between the type, degree, or levels of radiation exposure and the onset & severity of symptoms. High-tension power lines, AM-FM radio towers, analog cell towers, 802.11b/g/n transmitters, and cell phones have all been claimed to be a source of illness by "electro-sensitives." A diagnostician would have quite a task correlating the cause-effect Gordian knot.

Nice blog! Really great posts, Josh.