New Mexico Group Says It’s Allergic To Wi-Fi

    May 28, 2008

A group in Santa Fe, New Mexico wants to ban Wi-Fi from public buildings because they claim they are allergic to the wireless Internet signal.

"If I walk into a room or building that has Wi-Fi, my most immediate sign is that the front of my right thigh goes numb," Arthur Firstenberg, of Santa Fe told ABC. "If I don’t leave, I’ll get short of breath, chest pains and the numbness will spread."

Firstenberg is part of a small group of people who believe they have Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, a condition in which they are sensitive to electromagnetic fields and feel pain.

The Santa Fe group maintains that putting Wi-Fi in public areas is a violation of the American with Disabilities Act. The city attorney is investigating to see if putting up Wi-Fi could be considered discrimination.

"There are those who believe that the various and sundry electronic devices have these magnetic waves that affect the nervous system," said Dr. James Toole, professor of neurology and public health sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

A 2004 World Health Organization workshop found," "There are also some indications that these symptoms may be due to pre-existing psychiatric conditions as well as stress reactions as a result of worrying about believed EMF health effects, rather than the EMF exposure itself," the editors of the WHO workshop wrote.

They added," Whatever its cause, EHS is a real and sometimes a disabling problem for the affected persons."