With the spreading of wireless technology, the world’s population is increasingly exposed to high-frequency electromagnetic fields. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 3% of the world’s population suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS), a disease characterized by hypersensitivity to high and low electromagnetic radiation. EHS is not a recognized medical diagnosis, though there are significant numbers of people who claim to experience its symptoms.

The symptoms of EHS may involve the nerves and cardiovascular, respiratory, skeletal and neurologic systems. In Italy the statistics are alarming, with the percentage of people suffering with EHS estimated to be around 4% of the population.

EHS is closely connected to another disease called Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), a toxic-immune syndrome caused by exposition to chemical agents: Around 35% of people affected by MCS develops hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields as well.

Even though EHS is not recognized by WHO, more and more people apparently suffer from the disease and are forced to radically change their lives by seeking partial or complete isolation from society. The close correlation between humans and their environments is the main issue when discussing ways to improve the health of EHS people who are not able to leave the places that make them sick. Most sufferers try to find relief through self-made expedients. Others develop symptoms of depression and abulia due to resignation to an invisible and silent illness. These people are called sentinels because they are considered the ones who feel today what will potentially become a widespread phenomenon in coming years.

—Claudia Gori

“Sentinels” is one of many photo stories featured this summer at the excellent international photo festival in Tuscany, Cortona On The Move. The exhibitions are open through September 30, 2018.