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Jenny Fry was only 15 when she took her own life. In a note she wrote shortly before she was found hanging from a tree near her home, she wrote, “I am insignificant, an insignificant number on someone’s screen and so is my life, a tiny blip in the whole existence of the universe … I find it hard to be hopeful when I can hardly enjoy anything anymore.”
Jenny suffered from a bizarre set of symptoms, including headaches, fatigue, and bladder problems. Her mother, Debra, claimed they were the result of an “allergy to Wi-Fi”: “Jenny was getting ill and so was I,” she told The Mirror. “I did some research and found how dangerous Wi-Fi could be so I had it taken out of the house… Both Jenny and I were fine at home but Jenny continued to be ill at school in certain areas.”
In an increasingly digital world, the thought that one can get sick from the slight electromagnetic fields produced by computers, power lines, and even wireless routers is terrifying. And it’s no mystery where the idea comes from: Higher doses of the same kinds of fields — radiation — can have severe effects on the body.
But doctors have a different name for so-called “allergies to Wi-Fi”: idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields, or IEI-EMF for short. Idiopathic is the medical term that means “of unknown cause,” for while sufferers believe that WiFi and other electromagnetic fields are to blame, decades of medical research has failed to find any connection between them and the myriad of symptoms experienced.
“Calling it electrosensitivity or electromagnetic hypersensitivity presupposes that electromagnetic fields are causing the condition,” James Rubin, PhD, a scientist and lecturer in the Department of Psychological Medicine at King’s College London, tells Yahoo Health. “But actually, the science on that is pretty conclusive that it’s not electromagnetic fields.”
The symptoms experienced by IEI-EMF sufferers are all too real. According to the World Health Organization, the most common complaints are of fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitations, digestive disturbances, and skin redness, tingling, and burning sensations. Sufferers are adamant that their symptoms, which can range from annoying to debilitating, are caused by electromagnetic fields.