Alison Main, editor-in-chief of the Notre Dame yearbook in 2000, graduating summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, found herself “electrified” by radiation three years ago.

Alison MainAlison Main

Main, who is a freelance creative director in New York, became hyper-sensitive to sources of radiation in her apartment including her computer, Wi-Fi, cordless phone and a “microfiber electrically-charged, chemically-infused synthetic” loveseat that she had just purchased.

She began to experience “debilitating neurological and immunological symptoms in the presence of radiofrequency transmissions [such as] wireless routers, cellphones, Bluetooth devices, tablets, game consoles, smart tech and cell towers, low frequency fields from computers, televisions, engines, wiring and power lines, and dirty electricity—the high-frequency micro-surges that ride on top of our otherwise clean electric current, such as our power grid, LED lights (light-emitting diode, a two-lead semiconductor light source) variable speed air conditioning units, and other seemingly innocuous items.”

She wrote about her experience for the June 23, 2016 Notre Dame Magazine. The essay has been picked up by Facebook and other social media.

Radiation health advocates who have studied Main’s affliction with EHS (electro-magnetic hyper-sensitivity) say there many sources of EMF including the metal springs in bed mattresses and couches that  “act as antennas."

Fled to Upstate Farm, Other Locations

The flight from symptoms that included “numbness, tingling, muscle twitching, vertigo, loss of balance, pressurized headaches, spinal pain, rashes, insomnia, memory lapses, cognitive dysfunction, altered heart rate, tinnitus, fatigue, gastrointestinal distress and urological spasms—for starters” included spending time in “safe places” such as a shed on an upstate New York farm, a remote cottage in Rhode Island, a friend’s car in her driveway, or a pew in a church.

She has discovered a network of “EHS comrades around the globe” including former designers, lawyers, bankers, pilots, teachers and students. They have been forced to leave their careers, schools, homes, family, friends and community and their financial worth, she says.

They have to “go off the grid in order to heal, to seek peace within their bodies, to make the pain stop, to be able to breathe again, think again, sleep again, exist again…they’ve slept in their own cars and in shacks and tents in the wilderness.” 

A “trick” they have given her is to have a computer with a solid state drive that is used with a wired external keyboard and wired mouse.

She holds a B.A. in English and economics from Notre Dame and a Certification in Graphic and Digital Design from the Parsons School of Design, New York.