Santa Fe City Hall may turn into a Wi-Fi dead zone Wednesday during a public hearing on telecommunications facilities in the public right-of-way.
The city is considering turning off the Wi-Fi in council chambers at the request of self-described sufferers of Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome, also known as Wi-Fi allergies.
"We’ll make that determination tomorrow," city spokesman Matt Ross said Monday. "We’ve gotten several calls this afternoon requesting that it be turned off."
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is a "little-known and highly disputed medical condition" that some people say is very real.
Local anti-Wi-Fi activist Arthur Firstenberg, who sued his neighbor for more than $1 million for damaging his health by using her iPhone and a Wi-Fi connection, claims wireless technology makes him sick.
"Apparently in retaliation for my activities in opposition to this bill, the City Clerk has been instructed that for the first time in eight years, electrically sensitive people will not have their disability accommodated and the WiFi will NOT be turned off in Council Chambers," Firstenberg wrote in an email.
"Since at least 2009, and as recently as October 13, 2016, the WiFi has been turned off upon request for public hearings involving telecommunications facilities," he added.
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity isn’t recognized as a medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization.
"The disease is purported to be a weakness to the electromagnetic waves produced by Wi-Fi routers and cellphone towers," according to Newsweek. "People who believe this say modern society is bombarding us with damaging waves, causing myriad symptoms, from headaches and nausea to nosebleeds and sleep problems."