Hypersensitivity to Electromagnetism

Hypersensitivity refers to easy affect from some kind of drug, allergen or any other agent. Electromagnetism refers to Magnetism generated by an electric current. Hypersensitivity to electromagnetism refers to some kind of allergy due to electromagnetic fields (EMF).

With the increase of industrial and technological advances, variety of different EMF sources have been added to the community. These sources include video display units (VDUs) associated with computers, mobile phones and their base stations. Although they have added ease in our lives but at the same time they are increasing health risks due to their EMF emissions.

These EMF sources are affecting the lives of people from mild affects to severe effects that sometimes an individual has to change his/her entire lifestyle. This reputed sensitivity to EMF has been generally termed “electromagnetic hypersensitivity” or EHS.

Symptoms of hypersensitivity to electromagnetism:

The symptoms of EHS lacks apparent toxicological or physiological basis or independent verification.

Most common symptoms are associated with skin such as redness, tingling, and burning sensations. However, neurasthenic and vegetative symptoms such as fatigue, tiredness, concentration difficulties, dizziness, nausea, heart palpitation, and digestive disturbances may also be observed.

EHS resembles to multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS). In MCS, low-level environmental exposures to chemicals result certain hypersensitivity. Although, a more general term for sensitivity to environmental factors is Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI).

Number of cases of EHS:

According to a survey of occupational medical centres cases of EHS to be a few individuals per million in the population. On the other hand, 10% of the reported cases of EHS were considered severe.

The reported incidence of EHS has been higher in Sweden, Germany, and Denmark, than in the United Kingdom, Austria, and France.


Research has shown that EHS individuals have less ability to detect EMF than non-EHS individuals. However, EHS has no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure.

Treatment strategies:

Treatment of affected individuals should focus on the health symptoms and the clinical picture, and not on the person’s perceived need for reducing or eliminating EMF in the workplace or home.

Further Reading:

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs296/en/index.html accessed June 27, 2011.


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