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British woman develops allergy to electricity following chemotherapy treatment

Neeve M. Arnell

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(NaturalNews) British woman Janice Tunnicliffe cannot watch TV, keeps her washing machine in a concrete outhouse and cannot have neighbors with wireless internet because she is "allergic" to electricity. (

The problems began following chemotherapy treatment for bowel cancer. The cancer had not spread but it was decided that she should have chemotherapy after her surgery as a precautionary measure. Shortly afterward her unusual problem started, she began to feel ill whenever she was near electrical and wireless devices in her home. What could the rare condition, called electrosensitivity, say about chemotherapy or about the electrical and wireless devices that abound in our lives?

Tunnicliffe, 55, cannot bear to be anywhere near electromagnetic fields of any kind. She even had to cover her windows with a special metallic material to deflect any electromagnetic waves coming in.

Her condition, which requires her to avoid cell phones, radios, kitchen appliances, computers, and wireless internet, among other things, has left her completely isolated from the world filled to the brim with these devices that the rest of us live in.

She suffers constant headaches, chest pains, nausea and tingling in her arms and legs whenever she is near electrical devices or items that emit a signal.


The chemo connection

The medical profession has been slow to recognize electrosensitivity as an illness, according to Graham Lamburn, technical manager at the independent organization Powerwatch, which promotes safer environments, and the causes are still unknown.

But the timing of the Chemotherapy and the onset of her illness seals the deal for Tunnicliffe.

"Personally, I think there must be a link with the chemotherapy and the ES," she said. "But no one is going to admit that."

Toxicity of chemotherapy

In recent years more studies and more experts are beginning to acknowledge the toxic impact chemotherapy has on the human body even for the workers who only handle chemotherapy agents.

A 10-year study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control released in 2010 confirmed that chemotherapy agents continue to contaminate workspaces, and are still being found in the urine of those who handle them. (

"If cancer specialists were to admit publicly that chemotherapy is of limited usefulness and is often dangerous, the public might demand a radical change in direction," wrote Ralph W. Moss in his book "The Cancer Industry".

A 2010 study from Indiana University adds to the growing list of harmful side effects caused by chemotherapy. According to scientists, the chemical cancer treatment destroys gray matter in the brain associated with cognitive function and memory. (

A 2006 study published in the online edition of Breast Cancer Research and Treatment showed that chemotherapy might change the way the brain works, causing mild forgetfulness and brain fog in some cancer survivors, often described as "chemobrain". (

Canary in the coal mine?

Aside from the dangers of chemotherapy, what about the dangers of electromagnetic radiation?

Canaries were often used in coal mines as a warning system because toxic gases would kill the bird before they would affect the miners. Could Ms. Tunnicliffe, made extra sensitive by illness, be the canary of the electrical world?

Possibly so, according to a new report by the Council of Europe's Committee on the Environment, Agriculture and Local and Regional Affairs.

Last week, the powerful European body ruled that immediate action to protect children was required after examining evidence that cell phones and wireless networks have "potentially harmful" effects on humans. (

It is crucial to avoid repeating the mistakes made when public health officials were slow to recognize the dangers of asbestos, tobacco smoking and lead in petrol, according to the report.

The report also pointed to potential health risks from cordless phones and baby monitors, which use similar technology.

"Mobile phone technology is clearly incredibly beneficial and useful," said Professor Paul Elliot of Imperial College in London and lead researcher in an international study of the long-term effects of mobile phone use on 200,000 people. "But we have to weigh up those potential health effects, so it is responsible to do research on that. In children, that research has not yet really been done, so we need more research in this area. In the meantime the advice is not to be excessive in use."

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May 23, 2011