June 18, 2007 — -- If you saw Sarah Dacre on the street, you'd probably be dumbfounded.
Dacre walks around North London in a full beekeeper's uniform, complete with headgear and a veil. But Dacre has nothing to do with bees, and she's not wearing the getup to make a fashion statement.
She's trying to protect herself from electromagnetic fields.
Until two years ago, Dacre was a high flying career woman running her own television company.
''I used to ski with my son, tango dance three times a week, and the days I wasn't doing anything in terms of activity, I would be off to the gym," she said.
Suddenly, her life changed dramatically.
"I developed palpitations, skin numbness. I found it difficult to stand up straight," she said. "I was falling over a lot."
Dacre deduced that she was suffering from something invisible and silent in her home.
''I realized that my home, in addition to the masts and the WiFi, was actually a thumping hive of electromagnetic radiation," she said. "It's really minimizing electromagnetic smog in my environment and then I've been able to live quite peacefully."
Beneath the coats of magnolia paint in her bedroom lies wallpaper lined with foil to shield her. Dacre said the wallpaper blocks about 99 percent of electromagnetic radiation, making her home a safe haven.
But when she goes outside, the beekeeper's headgear is an essential part of her wardrobe, protecting her from electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere.
According to complementary medicine specialist Dr. David Dowson, Dacre's allergy is known as electrohypersensitivity or EHS.
"It is a condition where some people seem to be hypersensitive, overreactive to levels of exposure to electromagnetic radiation which don't affect the majority of the population," he explained. "It's rather like an allergy to electromagnetic field.''
With WiFi spreading to airports, cafes and classrooms, and electricity power lines going up all the time, EHS is becoming a hot topic in some sectors of the medical community.
Scientists say that the average home with a laptop, stereo and microwave has relatively low levels of electromagnetic radiation, but warn that if people are close to WiFi equipment, levels can jump up to a hundred times higher.