When someone develops chemical and/or electrical sensitivities, activities we take for granted – watching TV, talking on the phone, connecting to friends on Facebook – can become too painful or dangerous to attempt. This means that many of us, already isolated from the public and limited in how we can interact with loved ones, can become even more isolated – cut off from all forms of media, world news, and social interactions, possibly for years. For some the problems are chemical in nature, as the fumes from newly purchased electronic equipment can take weeks or months – or for the severely afflicted, years – to “offgas” to a point of being tolerable enough to be used indoors. For others, the problem is more electrical. Some of my chemically and electrically sensitive friends have adapted various ways that make viewing TV and computers tolerable. (Click any of the accompanying photos to see a larger image.)
My friend Scott has a front porch with a nice-sized overhang that allowed him to put his audio-visual equipment outdoors. He views the computer through the window (see photo, above left) and it’s far enough away (about 12 feet) so that he is not affected by the electromagnetic fields. He says that, chemically, it’s perfect because the monitor sits outside his window and the fumes from plastics and heated electronics do not enter his house. You could use this same setup for a TV and DVD player, providing you have decent weather and a deep enough overhang to protect the electronics from rain, snow, and dust.
My neighbors Marjorie and Jim had a “TV box” built into their new home. The TV sits behind glass so when watching the monitor, no fumes enter the space and again, they can sit as far back as necessary to avoid any uncomfortable EMF exposure. One downside to their setup is that the back of the TV is exposed to the entrance when you first walk into their home. Another neighbor has a similar setup but the TV room is isolated from the rest of the house so she does not get exposed to the fumes when entering her home. I have heard of others who have TV boxes built so the back is accessible from the outdoors.
Front of TV; back of the TV; front of TV along foil-lined wall
Another neighbor shared this photo of his computer box – a vented metal box with a sliding safety glass front (not shown in photo) made by the late Fred Nelson of the Safe Reading and Computer Box Company. It’s made of 20 gauge galvanized steel and measures 24” x 24” x 24”. The vent fan is located at center back and a portion of the aluminum exhaust tube can be seen in the photo. This computer box could easily be used as a TV box if you have a monitor that fits the space. As far as I know, these are no longer being produced but you might find a used one for sale on occasion in the Chemical Injury Information Network’s newsletter Our Toxic Times, on eBay, or posted on one of the online MCS discussion groups.
Kathy and Gary have a unique setup. Their primary intention was to eliminate EMFs so they put a satellite dish and receiver about 200 feet from the house. In the barn, the receiver sits on a DVD recorder. They also have a TV monitor there so that they can see what they are recording, and so that they can program the DVD player to record, erase disks, etc. They are able to tolerate the EMFs standing in front of that TV for short periods and using the remote controls.
After recording their favorite TV shows when they air, they bring the recorded DVDs up to the house and put them in a DVD player in the projector room (behind their TV screen). The DVD player is attached to the rear projector, which projects the images onto the screen on the living room wall from behind. The DVD player is also attached to a stereo receiver which is cabled through the living room wall to the speakers there.
There is also a transmitter for the remote control for the DVD player. When they are in the living room, they can control sound level, fast forward, etc., using the remote control. There is also a unit in the living room wall above the screen that transmits the remote control signal into the projector room so the DVD player can sense and receive the signals. They use a Sharp DLP projector and warned that not all projectors would end up being bright enough, or be able to focus in the relatively short distance between the projector and screen (seven feet) so if you want to try to replicate this setup, be aware that finding the right projector can be a hit or miss project.