ArticleLiterature Review

Hypersensitivity of Human Subjects to Environmental Electric and Magnetic Field Exposure: A Review of the Literature

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Abstract

Hypersensitivity to exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) has been reported for nearly 20 years; however, the literature on the subject is still very limited. Nearly all the literature published concerns a dermatological syndrome that consists of mainly subjective symptoms (itching, burning, dryness) and a few objective symptoms (redness, dryness) appearing after individuals begin working with video display units and decreasing during absence from work. Case-control studies as well as some good but limited double-blind trials have not found any clear relationship between this syndrome and exposure to EMFs. A "general syndrome" with more general symptoms has been rarely described but seems to have a worse prognosis. The symptoms often associated with skin disorders are mainly of neurasthenic type and can cover a lot of nonspecific symptoms present in other atypical syndromes such as multiple chemical sensitivity or chronic fatigue. Most of these symptoms are allegedly triggered by exposure to different sources of EMFs, but there have been no valid etiological studies published on this more general syndrome. It appears that the so-called hypersensitivity to environmental electric and magnetic fields is an unclear health problem whose nature has yet to be determined.

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... En l'absence de critères diagnostics, les symptômes observés sont attribués à ce que Knave, et al., (1992), vont intituler « hypersensibilité à l'électricité », expression qui trouvera par la suite d'autres synonymes tels que « électrosensibilité » (electrosensitivity), « hypersensibilité électromagnétique » (electromagnetic hypersensitivity), « hypersensibilité électrique » (electrical hypersensitivity), « sensibilité électrique » (electrical sensitivity) ou encore hypersensibilité aux champs électriques et magnétiques » (hypersensitivity to electric and magnetic fields) lorsque celle-ci est restreinte aux champs de basse fréquence (Levallois, 2002). Si le terme « allergie à l'électricité » est parfois cité, il est préférable de ne pas l'utiliser car il ne s'agit pas, au vu des connaissances actuelles, d'une pathologie qui donne lieu à des réactions de type allergique. ...
... Subjectifs (douleurs, sensations de brûlures, démangeaisons) ou objectivables mais non spécifiques (rougeurs, peau sèche ou rosée, eczéma, acné, rosacée, dermatite atopique), les symptômes sont généralement transitoires (réduits le week-end ou après le travail) et de meilleur pronostic (Eriksson et al., 1997a ;Liden, 1996). Il s'agit du « syndrome dermatologique » (Levallois, 2002), aussi appelé « dermatite de l'écran » qui a émergé en Suède et en Norvège au début des années 1980 (Hillert et Kolmodin-Hedman, 1997 ;Bergqvist et Vogel, 1997). Le second sousgroupe se plaint de symptômes associés aux « appareils électriques » en général (Bergdahl, 1995) appelé par Levallois (2002) « syndrome général » et par Stenberg et al. (2002), « hypersensibilité à l'électricité », syndrome d'apparition plus récente et moins bien défini. ...
... Il s'agit du « syndrome dermatologique » (Levallois, 2002), aussi appelé « dermatite de l'écran » qui a émergé en Suède et en Norvège au début des années 1980 (Hillert et Kolmodin-Hedman, 1997 ;Bergqvist et Vogel, 1997). Le second sousgroupe se plaint de symptômes associés aux « appareils électriques » en général (Bergdahl, 1995) appelé par Levallois (2002) « syndrome général » et par Stenberg et al. (2002), « hypersensibilité à l'électricité », syndrome d'apparition plus récente et moins bien défini. Le pronostic est relativement moins favorable, dans la mesure où les tentatives de remédia-tion s'avèrent peu efficaces, les comportements d'évitement croissants menant à une incapacité à travailler et un isolement social parfois très important (Hillert et al., 1999, Stenberg, 2002. ...
Article
Hypersensitivity to electricity (EHS) is a self-defined syndrome where individuals experience adverse effects while using or being in the vicinity of devices or equipments emitting electric, magnetic or electromagnetic fields. Most of studies are Scandinavian and indicate dermatological complaints from visual display units workers but more and more individuals complaint about a general syndrome, neurasthenic like, which extend to other sources of non-ionising radiation; power-lines and mobile systems. The use of this term cannot be considered to imply an already established causal relationship between electromagnetic fields and reported symptoms, as shown by provocation studies. The origin of hypersensitivity to electricity appears to be mutifactorial and request a multidisciplinary approach of environmental, biologic, psychologic and psychosocial factors in the diagnostic and treatment of this heterogeneous syndrome. The goal of this paper is to review current knowledge and hypothesis related to this syndrome to better understand and help people suffering from it.
... Recent reviews of the literature on descriptive studies and case-control studies conclude that the association of EH with extremely low frequency (ELF: 0-300 Hz) electric and magnetic field (EMF) exposures, if any, is weak [3,5]. Regarding to experimental data, some studies on human nervous system have reported that ELF EMF exposure can induce transient deviations in EEG spectrum, brain evoked potentials or hearth rate in EH patients [6 -9]. ...
... Such results do not support sufficiently the hypothesis that the reported symptoms are caused or worsened by a potential sensitivity of the individuals to weak electric or magnetic fields. However, it has been reported that most of the published studies on EH suffer from methodological problems [5]. In fact, short-term exposures used in the laboratory studies, together with the potentially distressing influence exerted by the laboratory environment and by the test itself, could be in part responsible for the reported inconsistency of the responses. ...
... However, physiological studies in persons self-reporting EH have revealed increased sympathetic tone, hyperresponsitivity to sensors stimulation and higher arousal; which is indicative of an increased vulnerability to different environmental stressors [12,18]. Also, it has been proposed that chronic, EMF-induced reduction in the levels of circulating melatonin could be a causal factor for sleep disorders, depression or other symptoms in hypersensitive persons [5,19,20]. Melatonin is a neuroendocrine hormone synthesized and released by the pineal gland, known to intervene in processes involved in circadian rhythms, biological clock resetting and sleep modulation. Several studies have reported that the exposure to low frequency EMF can affect the synthesis and/or release of melatonin by the pineal gland in mammals and in humans [20 -22]. ...
Article
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The so-called electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EH) syndrome includes a number of unspecific, medically unexplained symptoms attributed to exposure to electric and magnetic fields. As a whole, laboratory tests conducted under controlled conditions have provided results that are not sufficiently supportive of a causal relationship exposure-response in patients with perceived electromagnetic hypersensitivity. Those results are in part inconclusive due to the fact that many individuals have shown unclear, inconsistent responses to repeated experimental field-exposures. It has been proposed that such inconsistencies could be due in part to distress caused by the lab test itself. We have developed a test to be conducted at the patient's residence, allowing for long-term follow up of exposure-response assessment and avoiding the laboratory environment and the presence of the researcher as potential stressors and confounding factors. In a preliminary test assessment, an EMDEX-II magnetometer was used to continuously recording power-frequency magnetic fields in the residence of a patient with perceived EH. The volunteer was asked to daily fill up a form describing the nature and timing of symptoms she attributed to residential exposure to magnetic fields. Those symptoms included distress, headache and dizziness, among others. Magnetographic data of a total of 123 recording days were plotted against the corresponding data on occurrence of the symptoms' episodes. As a whole, the results did not show positive linear correlation between the daily occurrence of the episodes and the exposure levels recorded during the day or during the day before. These preliminary results are little supportive of the hypothesis that the patient's ailments are caused or worsened by a putative hypersensitivity to residential exposure to power-frequency magnetic fields in the 0.02 – 4.00 µT range. Supported by HRC-IMSALUD 1. Introduction Cases of self-reported electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EH) have been described and studied in the literature for about 20 years. Up to present most studies have investigated subjective dermatological symptoms (burning, hitching) associated to occupational exposures near video display terminals [1]. However, in recent years a broader group of symptoms have been included in the EH syndrome. These are mostly neurasthenic symptoms (distress, headache, dizziness, sleep disorders) together with unspecific ophthalmologic, dermal and cardio-respiratory symptoms [2, 3]. Recent studies have estimated the prevalence of EH in the general population to be close to 3% [4]. As reported by most patients, the symptoms appear when in the proximity to electrical devices, transmission lines, transformers, or radio, TV or telephone emitters. These symptoms disappear short after switching the device off or increasing the distance from the source. The severity of the symptoms has been described to be highly variable, ranging from mild discomfort to severe pain and impairment [3].
... The prevalence of EHS has been reported to range from 1.5% to 10% in Western countries [3][4][5]. Several clinical and population-based studies have observed the characteristics of people with EHS include being female [6]; being 60-69 years of age [6] or of working age [7]; being an immigrant [6,7] or being of a race/ ethnicity other than White, Black, or Hispanic [8]; having multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or amalgam intolerance [6,8]; having a low income or education level [6,8]; having impaired physical and mental well-being [7,9,10]; greater health service utilization [9][10][11]; and being unable to work [1,8,12] or perform daily functions [7]. Despite several defi nitions have provided for such diverse designations of EHS, no clear diagnostic criteria exist for this potential health problem. ...
... The prevalence of EHS has been reported to range from 1.5% to 10% in Western countries [3][4][5]. Several clinical and population-based studies have observed the characteristics of people with EHS include being female [6]; being 60-69 years of age [6] or of working age [7]; being an immigrant [6,7] or being of a race/ ethnicity other than White, Black, or Hispanic [8]; having multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or amalgam intolerance [6,8]; having a low income or education level [6,8]; having impaired physical and mental well-being [7,9,10]; greater health service utilization [9][10][11]; and being unable to work [1,8,12] or perform daily functions [7]. Despite several defi nitions have provided for such diverse designations of EHS, no clear diagnostic criteria exist for this potential health problem. ...
... The prevalence of EHS has been reported to range from 1.5% to 10% in Western countries [3][4][5]. Several clinical and population-based studies have observed the characteristics of people with EHS include being female [6]; being 60-69 years of age [6] or of working age [7]; being an immigrant [6,7] or being of a race/ ethnicity other than White, Black, or Hispanic [8]; having multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) or amalgam intolerance [6,8]; having a low income or education level [6,8]; having impaired physical and mental well-being [7,9,10]; greater health service utilization [9][10][11]; and being unable to work [1,8,12] or perform daily functions [7]. Despite several defi nitions have provided for such diverse designations of EHS, no clear diagnostic criteria exist for this potential health problem. ...
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Objective: Individuals with electromagnetic hypersensitivity have been reported to have characteristics overlapped with some psychiatric conditions, but the relationship between psychiatric morbidity and electromagnetic hypersensitivity remains unclear. Here we intended to study the effects of psychopathology on the characteristics of electromagnetic hypersensitivity in a randomized sample of individuals with idiopathic environmental intolerance with attribution to electromagnetic fi elds (IEI-EMF). Methods: We identifi ed individuals in Taiwan with self-reported IEI-EMF (n = 170) in a nationwide telephone survey (n = 1,197) on the perception of risks from various environmental agents. The telephone interview questions contained demography, presence of catastrophic illness, self-reported health condition, functional impairment, medical utilization, and risk perception from 13 environmental agents. Individuals with psychiatric conditions were iden-tifi ed using the Brief Symptom Rating Scale-5 (n = 190). Of them, 49 persons were comorbid with self-reported IEI-EMF. Results: We found that individuals with IEI-EMF shared features with those with psychiatric conditions including inability to work and impairment of daily activities. Co-occurring psychopathology significantly increased the severity of poor self-reported health condition, and the degree of sensitivity to EMF among individuals with IEI-EMF. More severe degree of psychopathology was associated with signifi cantly increased medical utilization (p < 0.001), non-employment (p < 0.001), and impairment in daily activity (p < 0.001), whereas the severe degree of electrosensitivity was signifi cantly associated with non-employment only (p < 0.05). Conclusion: Commonly reported features of IEI-EMF were mainly predicted by the degree of psychopathology instead of the degree of sensitivity to EMF. Treating anxiety and depression in individuals with IEI-EMF may help improve these clinical features.
... 6e12 The characteristics of people with EHS among the general population have remained ill-defined, mostly because of using different case definitions and recruitment methods. Female sex, 6,13 age 60e69 years old 6 or working age, 13 born outside Nordic countries, 6 race/ ethnicity other than White, Black or Hispanic, 14 immigrants, 13 multiple chemical sensitivity reported by self or diagnosed by a doctor, 14 low income, 6,14 impaired physical and mental well-being, 13 and unable to work 14 or perform daily function 13 have been identified as correlates of sensitivity to EMFs in previous population-based studies. ...
... 6e12 The characteristics of people with EHS among the general population have remained ill-defined, mostly because of using different case definitions and recruitment methods. Female sex, 6,13 age 60e69 years old 6 or working age, 13 born outside Nordic countries, 6 race/ ethnicity other than White, Black or Hispanic, 14 immigrants, 13 multiple chemical sensitivity reported by self or diagnosed by a doctor, 14 low income, 6,14 impaired physical and mental well-being, 13 and unable to work 14 or perform daily function 13 have been identified as correlates of sensitivity to EMFs in previous population-based studies. ...
... 6e12 The characteristics of people with EHS among the general population have remained ill-defined, mostly because of using different case definitions and recruitment methods. Female sex, 6,13 age 60e69 years old 6 or working age, 13 born outside Nordic countries, 6 race/ ethnicity other than White, Black or Hispanic, 14 immigrants, 13 multiple chemical sensitivity reported by self or diagnosed by a doctor, 14 low income, 6,14 impaired physical and mental well-being, 13 and unable to work 14 or perform daily function 13 have been identified as correlates of sensitivity to EMFs in previous population-based studies. ...
Article
Background/Purpose: Psychological factors have been implicated in the etiology of idiopathic environmental illness in many studies. Few studies have ever reported psychiatric morbidity among individuals with electromagnetic hypersensitivity. We aimed to estimate the prevalence and identify the associated factors of self-reported electromagnetic field sensitivity (SREMFS) in adults of Taiwan. Methods: A total of 1251 adults selected from a nationwide Computer-Assisted Telephone Interviewing system received a telephone survey about the perception of risk from various environmental agents and their effects on health and well-being. Results: The estimated prevalence of people with SREMFS was 13.3 % (95% confidence interval: 11.2e15.3). People aged >65 years were associated with a lower risk of reporting sensitivity to electromagnetic fields, whereas people with a very poor self-reported health status, those who were unable to work, and those who had psychiatric morbidity were associated with a higher risk of having SREMFS. Conclusion: The prevalence of SREMFS in the general population of Taiwan is higher than that reported in western countries. People with psychiatric morbidity are more likely to report sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. The cross-sectional design precludes the causal inference of all identified correlates and electromagnetic field sensitivity.
... Whether this is due to a real increase in EHS or to greater media attention, is not known. However, to label EHS as a psychological disorder or to attribute the symptoms to aging and/or stress does not resolve the issue that a growing population, especially those under the age of 60, are suffering from some combination of fatigue, sleep disturbance, chronic pain, skin, eye, hearing, cardiovascular and balance problems, mood disorders as well as cognitive dysfunction and that these symptoms appear to worsen when people are exposed to electromagnetic emitting devices [2][3][4][5][6][7] . ...
... Library, vol. 5 A large percentage of participants had food allergies (64%), mold/pollen/dust allergies (48%), pet allergies (20%), and were chemically sensitive (36%) (Figure 7). Some also had pre-existing health/medical conditions ( Figure 8). ...
... Library, vol. 5 16 Fig. 10. ...
Article
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Purpose: The effect of microwav radiation on heart rate variability (HRV) was tested in a double blind study. Method: Twenty-five subjects in Colorado between the ages of 37 to 79 completed an electrohypersensitivity (EHS) questionnaire. After recording their orthostatic HRV, we did continuous real-time monitoring of HRV in a provocation study, where supine subjects were exposed for 3-minute intervals to radiation generated by a cordless phone at 2.4 GHz or to sham exposure. Results: Questionnaire: Based on self-assessments, participants classified themselves as extremely electrically sensi-tive (24%), moderately (16%), slightly (16%), not sensitive (8%) or with no opinion (36%) about their sensitivity. The top 10 symptoms experienced by those claiming to be sensitive include memory problems, difficulty concen-trating, eye problems, sleep disorder, feeling unwell, headache, dizziness, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, and heart palpitations. The five most common objects allegedly causing sensitivity were fluorescent lights, antennas, cell phones, Wi-Fi, and cordless phones. Provocation Experiment: Forty percent of the subjects experienced some changes in their HRV attributable to MW radiation. For some the response was extreme (tachycardia), for others moderate to mild (changes in SNS and/or PSNS). and for some there was no observable reaction either because of high adaptive capacity or because of systemic neurovegetative exhaustion. Conclusions: Orthostatic HRV combined with provocation testing may provide a diagnostic test for some EHS sufferers when they are exposed to electromagnetic emitting devices. This is the first study that documents imme-diate and dramatic changes in both HR and HRV associated with MW exposure at levels well below (0.5%) federal guidelines in Canada and the United States (1000 microW/cm 2).
... Some people are extremely sensitive to this form of energy. Symptoms among electrically sensitive individuals include headaches, flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, poor quality sleep, tightness in the chest, eye discomfort, skin disorders, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty concentrating [3]. As many as 2 percent of the Swedish population have identified themselves as hypersensitive to electric or magnetic fields [4] Magnetic fields associated with transportation systems have not been documented in great detail with some exceptions [5] [6]. ...
... Some electrically sensitive people feel uncomfortable in certain stores where the high intensity lighting becomes unbearable leading to headaches, confusion, and fatigue. If hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields in the Canadian population is similar to the Swedish population (2%) then as many as 28 thousand of the 1.4 million daily revenue passengers in the Greater Toronto Area may be experiencing some form of discomfort [3] [4]. ...
... Some people are extremely sensitive to this form of energy. Symptoms among electrically sensitive individuals include headaches, flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, poor quality sleep, tightness in the chest, eye discomfort, skin disorders, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty concentrating [3]. As many as 2 percent of the Swedish population have identified themselves as hypersensitive to electric or magnetic fields [4] Magnetic fields associated with transportation systems have not been documented in great detail with some exceptions [5, 6]. ...
Article
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Magnetic flux density was measured in the passenger compartment of buses, streetcars, subways and GO-trains that move millions of commuters daily in the Greater Toronto Area. The highest magnetic fields were found in subways (mean 30 mG, range 3 to 100 mG), followed by streetcars (mean 30 mG, range 2 to 100 mG), buses (mean 11 mG, range 1 to 50 mG) and the GO-train (mean 2 mG, range 1.2 to 2.8 mG). The magnetic field increased with acceleration and deceleration and varied with seat location and this was most obvious in subways and streetcars. All seats on subways, 98% of seats in streetcars, 85% in buses, and 38% on the GO train exceeded 2 mG, the magnetic field associated with childhood leukemia. The magnetic fields in the Toronto public transit system are higher than in most residential and occupational settings and are cause for concern considering that several studies have reported increased incidence of breast cancer, brain tumors, and leukemia among transit employees. Commuters with electrical sensitivity may have difficulty using some forms of public transit and as many as 2% of the 1.4 million daily revenue passengers in the Greater Toronto Area may be electrically sensitive. If the magnetic fields obtained in this study are representative of the transit system, then steps need to be taken to reduce magnetic field exposure of both commuters and transit employees.
... At the same time, epidemiological studies of EMF well-being are difficult to conduct because of imprecision in exposure assessment [53][54][55][56] and lack of objectivity in measuring health effects or complaints [35]. In addition, the symptoms are nonspecific and subjective, based on self-reporting, and hence difficult to prove clinically in absence of clear diagnostic criteria for the condition [57]. The subjective complaints of well-being also vary from individual to individual and are a function of several variables like age, sex, social status, anxiety, current health status and accompanying disease, and personality traits [35] as well as the fear generated due to awareness of adverse effects from EMF exposures [34]. ...
... The limited quality of research works in bioelectromagnetics and methodological problems is an important concern [57,155]. Until now, epidemiological investigations have failed to get the SAR value which is the most direct dosimetric measure of an individual's exposure at the tissue or organ level under study [217]. ...
Article
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Electromagnetic fields (EMF) have been implicated to influence a range of bodily functions. Given their ubiquitous nature, widespread applications, and capability to produce deleterious effects, conclusive investigations of the health risks are critical. Accordingly, this paper has been constructed to weigh the bioeffects, possible biointeraction mechanisms, and research areas in bioelectromagnetics seeking immediate attention. The several gaps in the existing knowledge do not permit one to reach a concrete conclusion but possibility for harmful effects cannot be underestimated in absence of consistent findings and causal mechanisms. Several studies with appropriate methodologies reflect the capacity of electromagnetic radiations to cause adverse health effects and there are several credible mechanisms that can account for the observed effects. Hence, need of the hour is to activate comprehensive well-coordinated blind scientific investigations, overcoming all limitations and demerits of previous investigations especially replication studies to concretize the earlier findings. Furthermore, appropriate exposure assessment is crucial for identification of dose-response relation if any, and the elucidation of biological interaction mechanism. For the time being, the public should follow the precautionary principle and limit their exposure as much as possible.
... While some earlier studies have assessed that a maximum one percent of the general population is afflicted (Bergqvist, 1997;Silny, 1999), a recently conducted population survey in Stockholm reported that 1.5 percent of the population identified themselves as suffering from EHS (Hillert et al., 2002). In a survey in California 3.2% (95%-CI: 2.8% ± 3.7%) of the population reported hypersensitivity to exposure to EMF (Levallois et al., 2002). A similar result came out in a recent study which used a more objective procedure to determine EHS (Leitgeb and Schrˆttner, 2003). ...
... Thus, a direct causal link between exposure to electric or magnetic fields below recommended reference levels and self-reported symptoms has not been established to date. There is no specific symptom profile or validated diagnostic criteria to diagnose EHS (Levallois, 2002). Apart from a pure EMF phenomenon, other causes of EHS, such as distress, neuroticism, psychiatric morbidity, and an influence of the public debate have been considered (David et al., 2002;Lonne-Rahm et al., 2000;Frick et al., 2002). ...
Article
Started in June 2001, health questionnaires have been distributed to people who complained about health symptoms, which they associated with exposure to electromagnetic radiation. The objective of the survey was to gain a better knowledge of the anxieties of the afflicted population, to obtain hints of possible problems and of actions that should be taken to solve the problems. The survey was not designed to establish a causal association between exposure to electromagnetic fields and health symptoms. Until March 2002, 342 questionnaires have been sent back. The average age of the responders was 49.5 years, 59 percent were female. Generally, more than one health symptom was named. Sleep disorders (59%), headaches (43%), nervousness/distress (20%), concentration difficulties (18%), and fatigue (16%) were most prevalent. The responders related their symptoms most frequently to exposure to mobile phone base stations (78%), followed by mobile phones (38%), and power lines (28%). 87 percent of the people who consulted a public authority due to their symptoms were unsatisfied with the answers, whereas consultations to self-help groups or building ecologists have mostly fulfilled the expectations. Two third of the afflicted people had taken steps to reduce their symptoms. The most common step was reducing the exposure by avoiding the source (if possible) or by shielding.
... That is, unlike EHS and/or MCS which are still considered as subjective entities because of a lack of etiological substratum, many other internationally recognized diseases were medically characterized before discovery of their etiopathological mechanisms. In fact, the acknowledgment of EHS and MCS as resulting from environmental causes oppose to powerful socioeconomic interests and may explain why they are still not recognized as genuine pathological disorders by national or international bodies and health institutions (137). ...
... Moreover, it is well known that diseases are multifactorial and this may explain why current research failed to attribute a causal origin to EHS and/or MCS. Case-control epidemiologic studies and provocation studies, globally have failed to demonstrate a causal link between EMF and EHS (13,137), as it may also be the case for chemicals and MCS. These negative results however, do not exclude the possibility of a causal link, as observational studies are difficult to conduct and objective inclusion/exclusion criteria and endpoint evaluation criteria were not clearly defined because of a lack of objective reliable biomarkers. ...
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Much of the controversy over the causes of electro-hypersensitivity (EHS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) lies in the absence of both recognized clinical criteria and objective biomarkers for widely accepted diagnosis. Since 2009, we have prospectively investigated, clinically and biologically, 1216 consecutive EHS and/or MCS-self reporting cases, in an attempt to answer both questions. We report here our preliminary data, based on 727 evaluable of 839 enrolled cases: 521 (71.6%) were diagnosed with EHS, 52 (7.2%) with MCS, and 154 (21.2%) with both EHS and MCS. Two out of three patients with EHS and/or MCS were female; mean age (years) was 47. As inflammation appears to be a key process resulting from electromagnetic field (EMF) and/or chemical effects on tissues, and histamine release is potentially a major mediator of inflammation, we systematically measured histamine in the blood of patients. Near 40% had a increase in histaminemia (especially when both conditions were present), indicating a chronic inflammatory response can be detected in these patients. Oxidative stress is part of inflammation and is a key contributor to damage and response. Nitrotyrosin, a marker of both peroxynitrite (ONOO°-) production and opening of the blood-brain barrier (BBB), was increased in 28% the cases. Protein S100B, another marker of BBB opening was increased in 15%. Circulating autoantibodies against O-myelin were detected in 23%, indicating EHS and MCS may be associated with autoimmune response. Confirming animal experiments showing the increase of Hsp27 and/or Hsp70 chaperone proteins under the influence of EMF, we found increased Hsp27 and/or Hsp70 in 33% of the patients. As most patients reported chronic insomnia and fatigue, we determined the 24 h urine 6-hydroxymelatonin sulfate (6-OHMS)/creatinin ratio and found it was decreased (
... Однако многие исследователи отмечают, что сама методика постановки диагноза EHS ненадежна: основывается только на субъективных оценках людей и не отражает факта влияния ЭМП на человека. Так, в обзоре [6] отмечается наличие реакций (кожные реакции, нервные и сердечно-сосудистые расстройства и т.д.) у гиперчувствительных операторов ЭВМ только в случае визуального контакта с работающим дисплеем. В то же время, в провокационных исследованиях, когда гиперчувствительные испытуемые не знали о включенном дисплее, такие реакции обнаружены только в одной из пяти работ. ...
... Возможны изменения в физиологических или психофизиологических параметрах, которые можно регистрировать, но вместе с тем они происходят неосознанно для испытуемого. Этот факт может объяснять отсутствие положительных результатов в провокационных исследованиях людей с EHS[6,7]. Если механизмы "гиперчувствительности" к НМП и синдрома EHS одинаковы, тогда объективная оценка количества "гиперчувствительных" к ЭМП людей могла бы быть больше в несколько раз, с 1.5-5% [2, 5] до 15-20% (размер группы гиперчувствительных семь человек из сорока испытуемых). ...
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In our previous work, we reported that compensation of the geomagnetic field to a level less than 0.4 microT (“zero magnetic field”, or ZMF) affected human cognitive processes. The compensation of the geomagnetic field was organized in a special wood box of 1×1×1.5 m3 in size. The box included a wire mesh that shielded a person from the outer randomly variable electrostatic field. A similar wire mesh inside the box generated a controllable electrostatic field that modeled the outer field in magnitude but was constant in time and direction. Magnetic field inside the box was measured near the human head to supply a feedback. This allowed the active system of magnetic exposure to compensate the outer magnetic field together with its variations caused by the city electric vehicles and industrial pulses. Forty tested persons who all have given their informed agreement to take part in the experiment were tested for the perfection of their cognitive processes. Each person has been tested twice: in ZMF and, for comparison, in sham conditions. The second session was organized usually in 30–50 days after the first one. Measured were the parameters (task processing times and the number of errors) of the following tests: (i) the rate of a simple motor reflex, (ii) colored words recognition, (iii) short-term color memory, and (iv) recognition of rotated letters. There were eight measurable parameters altogether. Under ZMF, the number of errors was grown and the task processing times were increased by about 2%, in average. This conclusion was made after the measured values were statistically treated using MANOVA. However, individual effects that deviated from the mean by more than “three sigma” have been found in the array of magnetic effects calculated from the measured parameters. At that, practically all of them had the same sign as the observable mean effect. It was unclear in what extent could these readings change the main result of the work, the statement that ZMF affects the parameters of the persons’ cognitive processes in average? Therefore, in the present work, methods of multivariate statistical analysis other than MANOVA have been used to study individual human sensitivity to zero magnetic fields. Using the discriminant analysis and the factor analysis, indices of the individual sensitivity of 40 persons have been defined and calculated. Previously reported findings that women and elderly people are more sensitive to ZMF have been confirmed. Temperature and pressure did not influence significantly on the effects of ZMF. At the same time, the effects of ZMF depended on how persons felt and on their allergic status. It has been shown, that non-allergic persons who felt “excellent” executed tests better when those who had occasional allergic reactions and/or felt just “well” or “moderately well”. Based on the individual sensitivity indices, different distributions of the magnetic effects over persons have been calculated. Then, the group of persons particularly sensitive to ZMF and that of persons showing no such sensitivity were separated. The cluster analysis confirmed the presence of different groups. In the group of sensitive persons, the average magnetic effects reached 9%, and the number of errors in letter recognition reached 28%. The known syndrome of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is discussed with regard to these findings.
... There is a great deal of controversy regarding whether hypersensitivity to EMFs is the cause of EHS symptoms (for a literature review see Levallois, 2002). ...
... While the evidence is far from clear-cut there is research suggesting that EHS and Electrosensibility have a neurobiological basis (Sandstrom, Lyskov, Burgund et al., 1997;Lyskov, Sandstrom, & Mild, 2001;Levallois, 2002;Starlanyl, 2004;Landgrebe, Hauser, Languth et al., 2007). Langrebe et al. (2007) found evidence that those participants who reported being sensitive to EMFs differed from the general population in terms of cortical excitability parameters and altered central nervous system function. ...
... There are huge between-country differences in the perceived impact rates, ranging from over 80% being concerned (Greece, Italy) to 16% and 17% of concerned citizens in Denmark and Sweden [1]. An important phenomenon related to the concern about EMF health risks is " electromagnetic hypersensitivity " [2], where people relate unspecific symptoms, such as fatigue, dizziness and nausea as well as dermatological symptoms like redness or rashes to EMF-exposure. Some people who perceive themselves as electromagnetically hypersensitive turn to the medical system and consult a GP. ...
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Our aim is to explore general practitioners' (GPs’) knowledge about EMF, and to assess whether different knowledge structures are related to the GPs’ concern about EMF. Random samples were drawn from lists of GPs in Germany in 2008. Knowledge about EMF was assessed by seven items. A latent class analysis was conducted to identify latent structures in GPs’ knowledge. Further, the GPs’ concern about EMF health risk was measured using a score comprising six items. The association between GPs’ concern about EMF and their knowledge was analysed using multiple linear regression. In total 435(response rate 23.3%) GPs participated in the study. Four groups were identified by the latent class analysis: 43.1% of the GPs gave mainly correct answers; 23.7% of the GPs answered low frequency EMF questions correctly; 19.2% answered only the questions relating EMF with health risks, and 14.0% answered mostly “don’t know”. There was no association between GPs’ latent knowledge classes or between the number of correct answers given by the GPs and their EMF concern, whereas the number of incorrect answers was associated with EMF concern. Greater EMF concern in subjects with more incorrect answers suggests paying particular attention to misconceptions regarding EMF in risk communication.
... An estimate of the prevalence of self-reported hypersensitivity to electric or magnetic fields is between 1 and 2 percent in the general Swedish population (Hillert et al. 2002). Symptoms include headaches, flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, poor quality sleep, tightness in the chest, eye discomfort, skin disorders, dizziness, nausea, and difficulty concentrating (Levallois, 2002). While power frequency (50/60 Hz) electromagnetic fields and particularly the magnetic flux density have been associated with a number of these complaints, it is possible that some of the biological reactions are due to dirty power. ...
Article
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Summary Graham/Stetzer filters significantly reduce radio frequency electrical noise on indoor wiring generated by computers, energy efficient lighting, dimmer switches, and entertainment units within the home or workplace and transported into buildings by power lines from neighbouring property. The resultant improvements in power quality in homes and in schools are associated with fewer and less severe headaches, more energy, lower blood sugar levels for diabetics, and improved balance for those with multiple sclerosis. Results are observed within a matter of hours or days. Cases studies for blood sugar, multiple sclerosis, and general wellbeing are presented.
... Electrosensitivity, also known as electrical hypersensitivity, is a relative new phenomenon that first received public attention in the early 1970s [1]. Symptoms of electrosensitivity resemble radiation poisoning experienced by radar workers and include chronic fatigue, depression, headaches, body aches and pains, ringing in the ears, eye discomfort, skin irritations, unnatural warmth or burning sensation in the face, nausea, dizziness, cardiac palpitations, impaired sleep, memory loss, and confusion [2]. Individuals with severe symptoms may have difficulty in public places and seek relief by minimizing their electricity use or by turning off the power supply in their home. ...
Article
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The purpose of this study was to test the effect of the Graham/Stetzer microsurge filters on the wellbeing of teachers and on the behavior of their students in a private school (grades 1 to 12) in Toronto, Canada. GS filters remove electromagnetic frequencies from 4 to 100 kHz on indoor wiring and they were installed in this school because one of the students is electrically sensitive. Teachers were asked in a single blind study to complete a questionnaire daily between January and March 2003 for a 6-week period (3 weeks with and 3 weeks without filters). Eighteen teachers out of 49 completed the questionnaire enough times to enable statistical analysis. Symptoms improved for 55% of the teachers and got worse for 11% of the teachers while the filters were installed. Three teachers (16%) had no response to the filters and another three (16%) had mixed reactions (some symptoms improved and some got worse). Overall teacher wellbeing improved while the filters were in place. Teachers were less frustrated, less tired, less irritable. They were better able to focus and had better health, improved mood, and greater sense of accomplishment. Student response appeared to be age-specific with younger students responding more favorably than older students. This preliminary study needs to be repeated in other schools. If the Graham/Stetzer filters are as effective as they appear to be, then the dirty electricity in schools, homes, and offices can be reduced until other methods are in place to minimize the production and distribution of this form of electrical pollution.
... In 1999, Hillert et al. [11] advanced that skin and not neurovegetative symptoms characterize the syndrome during the first years of illness. In his review of the literature, in 2002, Levallois [12] opposed clearly a dermatological syndrome and a general syndrome which associated skin disorders with a lot of non-specific symptoms present in other atypical syndromes such as multiple chemical sensitivity or chronic fatigue and seemed to have a worse prognosis. This difference in prognosis was confirmed the same year by Stenberg et al. [13] in a series of 250 subjects, 50 with hypersensitivity to electricity and 200 with VDT-related skin symptoms. ...
Article
Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is a recent, uncertain and somehow confusing concept. It is now widely agreed that people claiming to be EHS really experience symptoms. However, no evidence for a causal link between the symptoms and electromagnetic fields (EMF) has been reported. Thus, we have to wonder whether EHS constitutes truly a relevant entity. Most of the previous studies suffer from methodological flaws. Owing to the quantification of symptoms, the interdisciplinary assessment of patients, and the use of personal exposimeters, the recent studies are of better quality. A set of convergent associated signs suggests that individual neuropsychic factors take a prominent, but maybe not unique, part in this condition.
... The term electromagnetic hypersensitivity or electrosensitivity (EHS) referred to a clinical condition characterized by a complex array of symptoms typically occurring following exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) even below recommended reference levels and is followed by remission through the complete isolation [1,2]. The most frequently claimed trigger factors include video display units, radio, televisions, electrical installations, extremely low-frequency ranges of electromagnetic fields or radio-frequencies-including the so-called dirty electricity due to poor isolation of electric wires and telephonic lines, wireless devices, and wi-fifluorescent lamps and low-energy lights, appliances with motors, photocopiers, microwave transmitters, and high tension power lines (reviewed in [3,4]). ...
Article
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Growing numbers of "electromagnetic hypersensitive" (EHS) people worldwide self-report severely disabling, multiorgan, non-specific symptoms when exposed to low-dose electromagnetic radiations, often associated with symptoms of multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and/or other environmental "sensitivity-related illnesses" (SRI). This cluster of chronic inflammatory disorders still lacks validated pathogenetic mechanism, diagnostic biomarkers, and management guidelines. We hypothesized that SRI, not being merely psychogenic, may share organic determinants of impaired detoxification of common physic-chemical stressors. Based on our previous MCS studies, we tested a panel of 12 metabolic blood redox-related parameters and of selected drug-metabolizing-enzyme gene polymorphisms, on 153 EHS, 147 MCS, and 132 control Italians, confirming MCS altered (P < 0.05-0.0001) glutathione-(GSH), GSH-peroxidase/S-transferase, and catalase erythrocyte activities. We first described comparable-though milder-metabolic pro-oxidant/proinflammatory alterations in EHS with distinctively increased plasma coenzyme-Q10 oxidation ratio. Severe depletion of erythrocyte membrane polyunsaturated fatty acids with increased ω 6/ ω 3 ratio was confirmed in MCS, but not in EHS. We also identified significantly (P = 0.003) altered distribution-versus-control of the CYP2C19∗1/∗2 SNP variants in EHS, and a 9.7-fold increased risk (OR: 95% C.I. = 1.3-74.5) of developing EHS for the haplotype (null)GSTT1 + (null)GSTM1 variants. Altogether, results on MCS and EHS strengthen our proposal to adopt this blood metabolic/genetic biomarkers' panel as suitable diagnostic tool for SRI.
... The experience and belief of IEI-EMF patients is in contrast with the scientific state of the art; results from systematic assessment of experimental and epidemiological evidence are consistent, concluding that a causal association of EMF exposure with symptomatic and other physiologic or cognitive reactions cannot be adequately supported [12][13][14][15][16][17]. IEI-EMF has been associated with psychological components [18][19][20][21][22][23] but their exact role is not clear. ...
Conference Paper
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Background Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) remains a complex and unclear phenomenon, often characterized by the report of various, non-specific physical symptoms (NSPS) when an EMF source is present or perceived by the individual. The lack of validated criteria for defining and assessing IEI-EMF affects the quality of the relevant research, hindering not only the comparison or integration of study findings, but also the identification and management of patients by health care providers. The objective of this review was to evaluate and summarize the criteria that previous studies employed to identify IEI-EMF participants. Methods An extensive literature search was performed for studies published up to June 2011. We searched EMBASE, Medline, Psychinfo, Scopus and Web of Science. Additionally, citation analyses were performed for key papers, reference sections of relevant papers were searched, conference proceedings were examined and a literature database held by the Mobile Phones Research Unit of King’s College London was reviewed. Results Sixty-three studies were included. “Hypersensitivity to EMF” was the most frequently used descriptive term. Despite heterogeneity, the criteria predominantly used to identify IEI-EMF individuals were: 1. Self-report of being (hyper)sensitive to EMF. 2. Attribution of NSPS to at least one EMF source. 3. Absence of medical or psychiatric/psychological disorder capable of accounting for these symptoms 4. Symptoms should occur soon (up to 24 hours) after the individual perceives an exposure source or exposed area. (Hyper)sensitivity to EMF was either generalized (attribution to various EMF sources) or source-specific. Experimental studies used a larger number of criteria than those of observational design and performed more frequently a medical examination or interview as prerequisite for inclusion. Conclusions Considerable heterogeneity exists in the criteria used by the researchers to identify IEI-EMF, due to explicit differences in their conceptual frameworks. Further work is required to produce consensus criteria not only for research purposes but also for use in clinical practice. This could be achieved by the development of an international protocol enabling a clearly defined case definition for IEI-EMF and a validated screening tool, with active involvement of medical practitioners.
... Symptoms commonly reported include problems with cognition (e.g., attention and memory), general well-being (e.g., headaches, fatigue, nausea and dizziness), skin (e.g., skin irritation, redness, stinging and burning sensations), airway and mucosae (e.g., irritation/dryness of the mucous membrane, eye irritation, coughing, sneezing and nasal congestion) and coronary health (e.g., palpitation) (e.g. Andersson et al., 2009b;Hausteiner et al., 2007;Israeli and Pardo, 2011;Levallois, 2002). ...
Article
Environmental intolerance (EI) is characterized by attribution of several, multisystem symptoms to specific environmental exposures, such as exposure to odorous/pungent chemicals, certain buildings, electromagnetic fields (EMFs) and everyday sounds. The symptoms are medically unexplained, non-specific and the symptoms overlap between different types of EI. To approach the issue of underlying mechanisms the matter of overlap in prevalence between intolerances can provide valuable information. The aim of the study was to examine if the overlap between intolerance to odorous/pungent chemicals, certain buildings, EMFs and sounds is larger than the expected overlap if no association would exist between them. The study was using cross-sectional data from the Västerbotten Environmental Health Study in Sweden; a large questionnaire-based survey. 8520 adults (18-79 years) were randomly selected after stratification for age and sex, of whom 3406 (40%) participated. Individuals with the four types of intolerance were identified either through self-report, or by having been physician-diagnosed with a specific EI. The overlaps between the four EIs were greater than predictions based on coincidence for both self-reported and diagnosed cases (except for the overlap between diagnosed intolerance to sounds and EMFs). The results raise the question whether different types of EI share similar underlying mechanisms, or at least that the sufferers of EI share some predisposition to acquire the conditions.
... Demographic characteristics such as age, gender and occupational status have repeatedly been associated with IEI-EMF [6,10]. The experience and belief of IEI-EMF patients is in contrast with the scientific state of the art; results from systematic assessment of experimental and epidemiological evidence are consistent, concluding that a causal association of EMF exposure with symptomatic and other physiologic or cognitive reactions cannot be adequately supported121314151617. IEI-EMF has been associated with psychological components181920212223 but their exact role is not clear. ...
Article
Full-text available
Background Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) remains a complex and unclear phenomenon, often characterized by the report of various, non-specific physical symptoms (NSPS) when an EMF source is present or perceived by the individual. The lack of validated criteria for defining and assessing IEI-EMF affects the quality of the relevant research, hindering not only the comparison or integration of study findings, but also the identification and management of patients by health care providers. The objective of this review was to evaluate and summarize the criteria that previous studies employed to identify IEI-EMF participants. Methods An extensive literature search was performed for studies published up to June 2011. We searched EMBASE, Medline, Psychinfo, Scopus and Web of Science. Additionally, citation analyses were performed for key papers, reference sections of relevant papers were searched, conference proceedings were examined and a literature database held by the Mobile Phones Research Unit of King’s College London was reviewed. Results Sixty-three studies were included. “Hypersensitivity to EMF” was the most frequently used descriptive term. Despite heterogeneity, the criteria predominantly used to identify IEI-EMF individuals were: 1. Self-report of being (hyper)sensitive to EMF. 2. Attribution of NSPS to at least one EMF source. 3. Absence of medical or psychiatric/psychological disorder capable of accounting for these symptoms 4. Symptoms should occur soon (up to 24 hours) after the individual perceives an exposure source or exposed area. (Hyper)sensitivity to EMF was either generalized (attribution to various EMF sources) or source-specific. Experimental studies used a larger number of criteria than those of observational design and performed more frequently a medical examination or interview as prerequisite for inclusion. Conclusions Considerable heterogeneity exists in the criteria used by the researchers to identify IEI-EMF, due to explicit differences in their conceptual frameworks. Further work is required to produce consensus criteria not only for research purposes but also for use in clinical practice. This could be achieved by the development of an international protocol enabling a clearly defined case definition for IEI-EMF and a validated screening tool, with active involvement of medical practitioners.
... Plusieurs études épidémiologiques ont exploré cette question lors de situations environnementales générant des angoisses (ref. Roth et al., 1985 2 ;Shusterman, 1991 3 ;Neutra, 1991 4 ;Lipscomb et al., 1992,a), notamment en relation avec les champs électromagnétiques (Levallois, 2002). Ces derniers auteurs suggèrent de toujours prendre en compte dans l'analyse de problèmes environnementaux des éléments tels que le sexe (les troubles sont plus fréquemment décrits par les femmes), l'origine sociologique et ethnique, et les craintes des sujets vis à vis des problèmes environnementaux. ...
... Compared to the symptomatic subgroup of the Swiss Health Survey, project participants reported significantly more often`severe' or`pathologic' sleeping problems. In public discussions sleep disorders are often associated with exposure to electromagnetic fields in Switzerland (Rˆˆsli et al. 2002), but not necessarily in other countries (Levallois 2002). In our project 75% of the participants who complained about sleep disorders suspected electromagnetic fields and/or noise to be the cause of their health problems. ...
... Ráadásul további két vizsgálatban az IEI-EMF-es személyek rosszabbul teljesítettek a valós és álmezôk megkülönböztetésében, mint kontrolltársaik, ami leginkább arra vezethetô vissza, hogy az elektroszenzitív csoport az álexpozíció során is gyakrabban tapasztalt fizikai érzeteket (Frick és mtsai, 2005; Landgrebe és mtsai, 2008). Más, a témát szintén áttekintô kutatók az elôzôekhez hasonló következtetésekre jutottak (Bergqvist és mtsai, 1997;Levallois, 2002;Röösli, 2008;Seitz, Stinner, Eikmann, Herr, & Röösli, 2005). ...
Article
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The term "electromagnetic hypersensitivity" (EHS) refers to a typical representative of the health problems associated with the modern era. People with EHS experience unpleasant non-specific symptoms and aversive mood states in the proximity of functioning electric devices and machines. This narrative review summarizes the most important issues in the definition, diagnosis and therapy of the phenomenon as well as the supporting empirical results of the various explanation attempts about the background mechanisms. According to the most accepted approach, EHS represents a special type of the idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI) where causality is yet to be explored. Although direct biological effects of the electromagnetic field and radiation (often mentioned as "toxicogenic theory") cannot be excluded, the majority of the empirical evidences favour the "psychogenic" origin of the complaints. Symptoms can also be evoked by sham exposure, and sufferers are prone to somatization and somatosensory amplification, therefore EHS is often regarded as a nocebo-like phenomenon. Accordingly, the EHS represents a multicausal disturbance that can be explained and treated using the biopsychosocial approach.
... He slept poorly and was tired and irritable during the day. These symptoms are consistent with electrical hypersensitivity (Levallois 2002), although he did not use this term. His symptoms began 4 years ago and in May 2004 he installed G/S filters in his home. ...
Article
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Deteriorating power quality is becoming increasingly common in developed countries. Poor power quality, also known as dirty electricity, refers to a combination of harmonics and transients generated primarily by electronic devices and by non-linear loads. We have assumed, until recently, that this form of energy is not biologically active. However, when Graham/Stetzer™ filters were installed in homes and schools, symptoms associated with electrical hypersensitivity (such as chronic fatigue, depression, headaches, body aches and pains, ringing in the ears, dizziness, impaired sleep, memory loss, and confusion) were reduced. Five case studies are presented that include one healthy individual; one person with electrical hypersensitivity; another with diabetes; and a person with multiple sclerosis. Results for 18 teachers and their classes at a school in Toronto are also presented. These individuals experienced major to moderate improvements in their health and wellbeing after Graham/Stetzer filters improved power quality in their home or work environment. The results suggest that poor power quality may be contributing to electrical hypersensitivity and that as much as 50% of the population may be hypersensitive; children may be more sensitive than adults and dirty electricity in schools may be interfering with education and possibly contributing to disruptive behavior associated with attention deficit disorder (ADD); dirty electricity may elevate plasma glucose levels among diabetics, and exacerbate symptoms for those with multiple sclerosis and tinnitus. Graham/Stetzer filters and meters enable individuals to monitor and improve power quality in buildings and they provide scientists with a tool for studying the effects of dirty electricity. For the first time we can progress from simply documenting electrical hypersensitivity to alleviating some of the symptoms. These results are dramatic and warrant further investigation. If they are representative of what is happening worldwide, then dirty electricity is adversely affecting the lives of millions of people.
... Biomedical researchers have been reporting EM reactions for decades, although these reports have received little notice and have been regarded as controversial in the medical literature (Choy, Monro, & Smith, 1986). Patrick Levallois (2002) described a syndrome of hypersensitivity to EM fields that manifested primarily in skin disorders (redness, dryness, itching, and burning). He and his colleagues found EM hypersensitivity among 3% of the general population in California (Levallois, Neutra, Lee, & Hristova, 2002), and a survey of the Swedish population found a comparable incidence of 1.5% (Hillert, Berglind, Arnetz, & Bellander, 2002). ...
Article
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Electromagnetic (EM) aftereffects have been reported following near-death experiences (NDEs). These effects include both (a) EM actions, apparent actions by the individual on the surrounding EM environment, and (b) EM reactions, apparent reactions of the individual to the EM environment. This study investigated EM aftereffects among 216 NDErs, 54 persons who had been close to death without NDEs, and 150 persons who had never been close to death. NDErs reported both greater EM actions and greater EM reactions than did either comparison group. Among NDErs, those with higher scores on the NDE Scale reported more EM aftereffects. These findings corroborate and extend prior studies and suggest the need for controlled experiments to measure
... Table 2. SBS-BRI clinical comparison (modified after Rostron, 1998) [4] We see here at least two possible approaches for further research: 1) to constantly extract from the sick building syndrome pool of cases the entities that show a clearer etiological and pathological definition (micro particles, volatile organic compounds) who point more towards building related illnesses and 2) to integrate the previous with the environmental multi-exposure and analyze the overlap. Despite extensive studies to identify causes in the environment, the reactions and conditions developed cannot be related only to specific exposures [12][13][14][15][16] and therefore, beside the treatment of the somatic symptoms, behavior interventions might be of help [17]. However, more recent research [5] has demonstrated the complex system of biomarkers common to all sensitivity related illnesses (SRIs), which also include SBS/SHS and divided them into three large categories: genetic, immune and metabolic. ...
Article
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Sick building syndrome (SBS) is a complex syndrome consisting of non-specific symptoms with an onset associated with subjects’ presence in some modern building and the disappearance of symptoms shortly after they leave it. The effects of SBS may be the result of a series of protective reactions of the human body triggered by various types of surrounding environment, further suggesting that the human response could be based on a three-phase biological model: sensory perception, low degree inflammatory reactions and environmental stress reactions. Besides stress created by the discomfort of people who develop symptoms, SBS is the cause of an extensive loss of productivity, sickness absenteeism, wasted time in complaints with all the legal punitive issues that arise from them. The subjects diagnosed with SBS are hard to follow-up over time due to workers often leaving their jobs and being lost from cohort databases. Achieving a reputation of a “sick building” may prove difficult to rehabilitate even after expensive repairs and upgrades. In extreme cases closure and even demolition can occur. SBS is an evolving concept and this review we will present part of this evolution and what are the major challenges for its definition.
... Although psycho-vegetative symptoms are often reported from populations exposed to radio frequency electromagnetic fields (e.g. [2, 3, 5]), these have not been studied with scientific rigor so far. Nevertheless, in the context of the mobile phone health risk debate, increasing attention is paid to such symptoms. ...
Article
Objectives: The studies reported here investigated the association between health complaints and the vicinity to the short wave transmitter Schwarzenburg, and looked for evidence for a relationship between magnetic field exposure and sleep disturbances. Subjects and Methods: Between 1992 and 1998 two cross-sectional and two panel studies were performed in the area of Schwarzenburg. In each cross-sectional survey about 400 adults living in differently exposed areas were asked about somatic and psycho-vegetative symptoms including sleep disturbances as well as possible confounding factors. Exposure was estimated based on 2621 measurements of magnetic field strength made in 56 locations. In the panel studies, sleep quality and melatonin excretion was studied when the transmission was interrupted or definitively shut down, respectively. Results: In both surveys, prevalence of difficulties of falling asleep and in particular, maintaining sleep, increased with increasing radio frequency electromagnetic field exposure (RF-EMF). Sleep quality improved after interruption of exposure. A chronic change of melatonin excretion following RF-EMF exposure could not be shown, but a parallel study of salivary samples in cows showed a temporary increase after a short latency period following interruption of exposure. Conclusions: The series of studies gives strong evidence of a causal relationship between operation of a short-wave radio transmitter and sleep disturbances in the surrounding population, but there is insufficient evidence to distinguish clearly between a biological and a psychological effect.
... The anomaly in the AMF at different geographical locations can be used to search for minerals, such as coal, petroleum, and natural gas (Guan 1997). More recently, it was suggested that environmental and artificial magnetic fields have a significant impact on the angiocarpy and skin of the human body (Gmitrov and Ohkubo 2002;Levallois 2002). During AMF disturbances, geomagnetic activity due to the adverse effects of extreme weather can generate geomagnetic-induced currents in power transmission, which may affect power systems (Ngwira et al. 2011;Wang et al. 2012;Falayi et al. 2017). ...
Article
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Simultaneous measurements of the vertical magnetic field (VMF), three-dimensional electric field, ambient temperature, ambient relative humidity, particle mass concentration, and three-dimensional velocity are conducted during dust, haze, rain, snow, and thunderstorms. The hourly VMF variation (the rate of VMF increment and time increment with a 1-h time interval) is used to evaluate the disturbance level of the atmospheric magnetic field during the abovementioned weather conditions. There is no significant difference in the hourly VMF variations between hazy days and fair weather. However, the hourly VMF variations on dusty, rainy, snowy, and thunderstorm days differ from those in fair weather, implying that these weather conditions significantly affect the atmospheric magnetic field. On hazy days, although the haze particles are charged, the VMF does not change compared with in fair weather, which suggests that the horizontal electric field generated by haze particles is an irrotational field. On dusty and snowy days, the heterogeneity of the charge distribution forms a rotational horizontal electric field, which can induce the VMF to disturb the atmospheric magnetic field. During rain and thunderstorms, the hourly variation in the VMF is larger than in dust and snow, which can be attributed to the rotational horizontal electric field generated by raindrops and clouds. In addition, the hourly variation in the VMF in thunderstorms is one order of magnitude larger than that during days without thunderstorms, indicating that the VMF induced by the cumulonimbus cloud electric field is more significant than that in other weather conditions.
... Therefore, different parts of the spectrum of electromagnetic waves have very different effects on human tissues. Figure 2 shows the induction of electric and magnetic fields in the vicinity of power transmission lines on the human body [2][3][4][5]. Advances in electromagnetic engineering technology, on the one hand, have paved the way for the advancement of medical and biological technologies and, on the other hand, have raised concerns about the effects of waves on living organisms. In the face of external fields, the size of the electric fields inside the biological systems is much lower than outside the tissues. ...
Article
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Facilities and buildings installed nearby high-voltage equipment and electric field exposure is always a serious threat to the health of organisms and can have a significant impact on the functioning of sensitive and vital organs such as the heart and brain. Therefore, it is necessary to study the electromagnetic field value in these areas to control the intensity and restrict the induced value regarding to international recommendations. In this paper, the effects of 230KV transmission line electric fields on the environment are examined by proper FEM software.The model under consideration in this project is a four-story building adjacent to the 230KV transmission line.At first, the distance between the building and high-voltage transmission lines and its relationship to the intensity of the electric field is examined, and then the intensity of the electric field is compared to the standards of the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP). To continue, in places where the electric field exceeds the standard level value, solutions to reduce the intensity of the electric field to the tolerable value have been proposed.The first solution is to use a metal shield around the building as a Faraday cage, which weakens the potential for electric field value by creating an enclosed surface, the reduction rate is 4700%,both complete cage shape and incomplete cage shapes are considered in this study which reduces the exposure value to 62.5% of its initial value. The second approach to reducing the electric field is to use protective conductor paints against electromagnetic fields. In the following study, the effect of using trees as a barrier against electromagnetic radiation will be examined. Finally, the three proposed solutions are compared in terms of environmental constraints, economic justification, and the reduction in electric field value.
... 32 Approximately 3%---5% of the population subjectively associates the presence of nonspecific symptoms to acute or subacute exposure to EMRFR, even at levels below the safe limit of exposure. 33,34 These symptoms were generally referred to as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EMH) or electrosensitivity. 35 The term EMH can be used in two contexts: ...
Article
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Introduction: Tinnitus is a multifactorial condition and its prevalence has increased on the past decades. The worldwide progressive increase of the use of cell phones has exposed the peripheral auditory pathways to a higher dose of electromagnetic radiofrequency radiation (EMRFR). Some tinnitus patients report that the abusive use of mobiles, especially when repeated in the same ear, might worsen ipsilateral tinnitus. Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the available evidence about the possible causal association between tinnitus and exposure to electromagnetic waves. Methods: A literature review was performed searching for the following keywords: tinnitus, electromagnetic field, mobile phones, radio frequency, and electromagnetic hypersensitivity. We selected 165 articles that were considered clinically relevant in at least one of the subjects. Results: EMRFR can penetrate exposed tissues and safety exposure levels have been established. These waves provoke proved thermogenic effects and potential biological and genotoxic effects. Some individuals are more sensitive to electromagnetic exposure (electrosensitivity), and thus, present earlier symptoms. There may be a common pathophysiology between this electrosensitivity and tinnitus. Conclusion: There are already reasonable evidences to suggest caution for using mobile phones to prevent auditory damage and the onset or worsening of tinnitus.
Article
Electromagnetic fields from electronic equipment are detrimental environmental factors. Recently, a new type of electromagnetic pollution referred to as "dirty electric-ity" was discovered to affect human health. The current research measures levels of dirty electricity in one sec-ondary school in Kazan, Republic of Tatarstan, Russia. A Microsurge II meter that measures high frequency tran-sients and harmonics between 4 to 100 kHz (expressed as Graham-Stetzer units) was used in this study. Levels of dirty electricity were elevated in all areas of the school and the installation of Graham-Stetzer filters significantly re-duced these levels. Taking into account the detrimental effects of the dirty electricity on human health, plugging one Graham-Stetzer filter into each classroom is highly recom-mended.
Article
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Aim: The effect of pulsed (100 Hz) microwave (MW) radiation on heart rate variability (HRV) was tested in a double blind study. Materials and Methods: Twenty-five subjects in Colorado between the ages of 37 to 79 completed an electrohypersensitivity (EHS) questionnaire. After recording their orthostatic HRV, we did continuous real-time monitoring of HRV in a provocation study, where supine subjects were exposed for 3-minute intervals to radiation gener-ated by a cordless phone at 2.4 GHz or to sham exposure. Results: Question-naire: Based on self-assessments, participants classified themselves as extremely electrically sensitive (24%), moderately (16%), slightly (16%), not sensitive (8%) or with no opinion (36%) about their sensitivity. The top 10 symptoms experienced by those claiming to be sensitive include memory prob-lems, difficulty concentrating, eye problems, sleep disorder, feeling unwell, headache, dizziness, tinnitus, chronic fatigue, and heart palpitations. The five most common objects allegedly causing sensitivity were fluorescent lights, antennas, cell phones, Wi-Fi, and cordless phones. Provocation Experiment: Forty percent of the subjects experienced some changes in their HRV attribut-able to digitally pulsed (100 Hz) MW radiation. For some the response was extreme (tachycardia), for others moderate to mild (changes in sympathetic nervous system and/or parasympathetic nervous system). and for some there was no observable reaction either because of high adaptive capacity or because of systemic neurovegetative exhaustion. Conclusions: Orthostatic HRV combined with provocation testing may provide a diagnostic test for some EHS sufferers when they are exposed to electromagnetic emitting devices. This is the first study that documents immediate and dramatic changes in both Hearth Rate (HR) and HR variability (HRV) associated with MW exposure at levels 18-havas:18-havas 11-10-2010 9:14 Pagina 273 well below (0.5%) federal guidelines in Canada and the United States (1000 microW/cm 2).
Article
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IEI-EMF refers to a self-reported sensitivity characterized by attribution of non-specific physical symptoms to exposure to weak EMFs. The majority of empirical results do not support the existence of a causal relationship between EMF and IEI-EMF. However, this conclusion was drawn from environmental and experimental studies that are not without methodological limitations. In the current study, as part of a complex biopsychosocial approach, an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) protocol was applied for the investigation of the temporal relationship between actual radio frequency (RF) EMF exposure and IEI-EMF, at the individual level. Continuous measurement of autonomic variables by holter electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors and the ambient RF EMF by personal dosimeters, as well as repeated (8/day) paper-and-pencil assessments of momentary internal states (symptoms, mood, perceived EMF intensity) and situational factors was conducted for 21 days with the participation of three individuals with severe IEI-EMF. Temporal relationships were examined by time series analyses. For two participants, the results did not support the association between the suspected EMF frequency range(s) and symptom reports. Nevertheless, the results revealed a reverse association with respect to another frequency range (GSM900 downlink), which contradicts the IEI-EMF condition. Autonomic activation related findings were inconsistent. For the third participant, the claimed association was partly supported, both for symptom reports and autonomic reactions (UMTS downlink, total RF; RMS values). The findings of this study suggest that IEI-EMF does not have a unitary aetiology. For certain individuals, a biophysical background cannot be excluded, whereas no such underlying factor appears to be at work for others. EMA is a useful method for the investigation of the aetiology of IEI-EMF.
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Aim: To investigate differences in health perception and electromagnetic fields (EMF) between people within the general population reporting sensitivity or non-sensitivity to EMF, and people who registered themselves as sensitive to EMF at a non-governmental organisation (NGO). Methods: Correlations and regression analysis to compare a sample of the general population recruited via internet panel to individuals with idiopathic environmental intolerance to EMF (IEI-EMF) recruited via an interest group. Results: The general population sensitive group was more similar to the non-sensitive group in personal characteristics than to the NGO sensitive group. They experienced more - and more frequent - non-specific symptoms, reported higher perceived risk of EMF, and attributed their symptoms more to EMF than the non-sensitive group, but less than the NGO sensitive group. There was a positive association between attribution of symptoms to EMF and reported intensity of non-specific symptoms, which was stronger for the NGO sensitive subjects than for the general population. Conclusions: People sensitive to EMF and recruited via an internet panel differ from people sensitive to EMF and recruited via an NGO, who reported a higher frequency of non-specific symptoms. Attribution of symptoms to EMF is one of the predictors of the intensity of physical symptoms. Changing the perceived association between EMF and health problems in individuals with IEI-EMF might contribute to a better health experience.
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Improving housing performance in ecological terms is a major objective of sustainable development policies. This paper looks at the perception that households have of their environment in their homes, in terms of diagnosis, damages and control. Based on a survey of 107 households, it shows that their environmental concerns only partly reflect current ecological and health risks and that people are finding it difficult to reduce these risks. In order to increase environmental awareness at the level of their homes, the authors highlight the importance of providing support on an individual basis and suggest several courses of action, which should be adapted to the four levels of awareness that were identified by the study.
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This is an overview and critical evaluation of the relevant literature on experimental and observational studies, addressing methodological concerns along with implications for future research.E-Book: http://books.google.nl/books?hl=nl&lr=&id=SsmSAwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA259&dq=baliatsas+christos&ots=MiGHapdSre&sig=JMzU457cb_5J1yz11oovDHLFsZk#v=onepage&q=baliatsas%20christos&f=false
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Much of the controversy over the cause of electrohypersensitivity (EHS) lies in the absence of recognized clinical and biological criteria for a widely accepted diagnosis. However, there are presently sufficient data for EHS to be acknowledged as a distinctly well-defined and objectively characterized neurologic pathological disorder. Because we have shown that 1) EHS is frequently associated with multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) in EHS patients, and 2) that both individualized disorders share a common pathophysiological mechanism for symptom occurrence; it appears that EHS and MCS can be identified as a unique neurologic syndrome, regardless its causal origin. In this overview we distinguish the etiology of EHS itself from the environmental causes that trigger pathophysiological changes and clinical symptoms after EHS has occurred. Contrary to present scientifically unfounded claims, we indubitably refute the hypothesis of a nocebo effect to explain the genesis of EHS and its presentation. We as well refute the erroneous concept that EHS could be reduced to a vague and unproven “functional impairment”. To the contrary, we show here there are objective pathophysiological changes and health effects induced by electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure in EHS patients and most of all in healthy subjects, meaning that excessive non-thermal anthropogenic EMFs are strongly noxious for health. In this overview and medical assessment we focus on the effects of extremely low frequencies, wireless communications radiofrequencies and microwaves EMF. We discuss how to better define and characterize EHS. Taken into consideration the WHO proposed causality criteria, we show that EHS is in fact causally associated with increased exposure to man-made EMF, and in some cases to marketed environmental chemicals. We therefore appeal to all governments and international health institutions, particularly the WHO, to urgently consider the growing EHS-associated pandemic plague, and to acknowledge EHS as a new real EMF causally-related pathology.
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Objective: The purpose of this study is to compare the health status of residents who were exposed to sources of extremely low frequency electromagnetic fields (ELF-EMFs) in the living environment and those who were not exposed to such a source of ELF-EMFs through a survey designed to appraise the residents` health levels. Method: Aimed at 251 residents exposed to a source of ELF-EMFs and 278 residents not exposed to a source, the survey was conducted to investigate the health status of the residents on the basis of questionnaire SF-36. Result: The health status scores of residents exposed to ELF-EMFs turned out to be lower than those of their counterparts. In terms of self-reported symptoms related to health and sleep quality, residents exposed to ELF-EMFs were found to have a higher complaint rate of self-reported symptoms such as dizziness, depression, and fatigue. Regarding sleep disorders, residents exposed to ELF-EMFs appeared to have a slightly higher complaint rate of sleep disorders compared to non-exposed residents. Conclusion: If a region is to be exposed to a source of ELF-EMFs, a more proactive policy for reducing such exposure is advised. In addition, it is necessary to better understand problems of residents by emplacing an ELF-EMFs risk information delivery system and building an efficient communication system for voluntary participation during the construction phase.
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Toxicogenic and psychogenic theories have been proposed to explain idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI). Part 2 of this article is an evidence-based causality analysis of the psychogenic theory using an extended version of Bradford Hill’s criteria. The psychogenic theory meets all of the criteria directly or indirectly and is characterised by a progressive research programme including double-blind, placebo-controlled provocation challenge studies. We conclude that IEI is a belief characterised by an overvalued idea of toxic attribution of symptoms and disability, fulfilling criteria for a somatoform disorder and a functional somatic syndrome. A neurobiological diathesis similar to anxiety, specifically panic disorder, is a neurobiologically plausible mechanism to explain triggered reactions to ambient doses of environmental agents, real or perceived. In addition, there is a cognitively mediated fear response mechanism characterised by vigilance for perceived exposures and bodily sensations that are subsequently amplified in the process of learned sensitivity. Implications for the assessment and treatment of patients are presented.
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In our energy diagnostic department we noticed more and more cases with irrational stimulus-reaction-patterns and with a chaotic regulation state of the autonomous systems. We found an explanation by the 'Switching phenomenon'. However, in addition to earlier results a new cause came up, it is the electrosmog exposure. We used three criteria to clarify the findings: A) a negative reaction on a pulsating magnetic field, B) a positive reaction on a brain synchronization procedure, and C) the frequency distribution analysis of skin resistance values approximated by a lognormal (order) or by a bell curve (chaos). A retrospective evaluation over 4 years (435 patients) was performed. Results: 1) a positive correlation between the criterium A) and a chaotic tendency in C), and 2) a significant difference between reactions before and after the synchronization procedure B). The hypothesis of an electrosmog-induced chaotization of autonomous systems becomes likely.
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The presented approach addresses a review of the overheating that occurs during radiological examinations, such as magnetic resonance imaging, and a series of thermal experiments to determine a thermally suitable fabric material that should be used for radiological gowns. Moreover, an automatic system for detecting and tracking of the thermal fluctuation is presented. It applies hue-saturated-value-based kernelled k-means clustering, which initializes and controls the points that lie on the region-of-interest (ROI) boundary. Afterward, a particle filter tracks the targeted ROI during the video sequence independently of previous locations of overheating spots. The proposed approach was tested during experiments and under conditions very similar to those used during real radiology exams. Six subjects have voluntarily participated in these experiments. To simulate the hot spots occurring during radiology, a controllable heat source was utilized near the subject's body. The results indicate promising accuracy for the proposed approach to track hot spots. Some approximations were used regarding the transmittance of the atmosphere, and emissivity of the fabric could be neglected because of the independence of the proposed approach for these parameters. The approach can track the heating spots continuously and correctly, even for moving subjects, and provides considerable robustness against motion artifact, which occurs during most medical radiology procedures. (C) 2016 Optical Society of America
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Fibromyalgia (FM) as Fibromyalgia and Electromagnetic Sensitivity (IEI-EMF) are a chronic and systemic syndrome. The main symptom is represented by strong and widespread pain in the musculoskeletal system. The exact causes that lead to the development of FM and IEI-EMF are still unknown. Interestingly, the proximity to electrical and electromagnetic devices seems to trigger and/or amplify the symptoms. We investigated the blood plasma metabolome in IEI-EMF and healthy subjects using ¹H NMR spectroscopy coupled with multivariate statistical analysis. All the individuals were subjected to tests for the evaluation of psychological and physical features. No significant differences between IEI-EMF and controls relative to personality aspects, Locus of Control, and anxiety were found. Multivariate statistical analysis on the metabolites identified by NMR analysis allowed the identification of a distinct metabolic profile between IEI-EMF and healthy subjects. IEI-EMF were characterized by higher levels of glycine and pyroglutamate, and lower levels of 2-hydroxyisocaproate, choline, glutamine, and isoleucine compared to healthy subjects. These metabolites are involved in several metabolic pathways mainly related to oxidative stress defense, pain mechanisms, and muscle metabolism. The results here obtained highlight possible physiopathological mechanisms in IEI-EMF patients to be better defined.
Chapter
The ‘multiple chemical sensitivity syndrome’ (MCS) is defined descriptively as a (1) chronic condition (2) with symptoms that recur reproducibly (3) in multiple organ systems (4) in response to low levels of exposures (5) to multiple unrelated chemicals and which (6) improve or are resolved when incitants are removed. Patients' symptom profiles indicate that two different symptom clusters exist with predominant ‘central’, to the central nervous system (CNS)-related, and ‘peripheral’, mucosa-associated chemical sensitivities. The latter is identical with occupational rhinitis and asthma. Thus, an MCS diagnosis should only be made in cases with predominant exposure-related, non-specific complaints of the CNS. Our understanding of the aetiology and pathogenesis of MCS is still incomplete. There is sufficient evidence that psychological, but not neurophysiologic or biological factors contribute to the induction and perpetuation of MCS. There are no specific laboratory tests to establish an MCS diagnosis. Differential diagnostic procedures encompass a clarification analogous to chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) standards, evaluation of additional symptoms and a psychiatric evaluation. At present, no evidence-based treatment options exist.
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We characterized the distribution of exposure to magnetic fields (MFs) during daily activities and during household appliance use, and estimated the relative contribution of various activities and appliances to total daily exposure. One hundred sixty-two subjects provided information on their patterns of appliance use and wore personal monitors for 24 h to collect MF exposure data. Of total exposure, 27% accumulated while subjects were in bed; 41% while at home but not in bed; 9% at work; and 24% elsewhere. Less than 2% of the total MF exposure accumulated during the use of each of the eight individual appliances considered, except computers, during the use of which 9% of the total exposure accumulated. Of the time subjects spent at exposure levels higher than 2 microT, 8% accumulated while they were using microwave ovens, and 4% and 3% while using computers and electric stoves, respectively. Mean MF measurements tended to be lowest when subjects were in bed and highest at work and during the use of microwave ovens, coffee grinders, hair dryers, and electric shavers. Results from questionnaires on household appliance use in the past year were not useful in predicting the total mean exposure level and over-threshold exposures measured by 24-h personal monitors. Significant MF exposure accumulates at home, at work, and elsewhere; therefore, accurate exposure assessment needs to consider residential, occupational, and other sources together. Questionnaire-based information on appliance use has limited value in the assessment of average and over-threshold exposure to MFs.
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As the use of video display terminals (VDTs) has expanded, questions have been raised as to whether working at a VDT affects the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. A particular focus for these questions has been the very low frequency (VLF) magnetic field produced by a VDT's horizontal deflection coil. VDTs also produce VLF electric fields, extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields, and static electric fields. Ten studies of pregnancy outcome in VDT operators have been conducted in six countries, and with one exception, none has concluded that magnetic fields from VDTs may predispose pregnant operators to spontaneous abortion or congenital malformation. The epidemiologic studies conducted thus far do not provide a basis for concluding that VDT work and adverse pregnancy outcome are associated. Studies of fetal resorptions and malformations in rodents exposed to VLF magnetic fields have produced inconsistent findings. Two laboratories in Sweden that studied mice have reported positive results, one laboratory showing field-related malformations (but not resorptions) and the other showing field-related resorptions (but not malformations). Two Canadian laboratories have reported negative results in rats and mice. Studies of avian embryos have also yielded inconsistent results, but lacking a maternal-fetal placental interface, avian embryos are a questionable model for evaluating human reproductive risks. Finally, VLF electric and magnetic fields measured at the operator position are in compliance with field strength standards and guidelines that have been established around the world. (C)1991Health Physics Society
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Twenty-four patients with self-reported sensitivity to electricity were divided into two groups and tested in a double-blind provocation study. These patients, who reported increased skin symptoms when exposed to electromagnetic fields, were compared with 12 age- and sex-matched controls. Both groups were exposed to 30-minute periods of high or low stress situations, with and without simultaneous exposure to electromagnetic fields from a visual display unit. The matched controls were tested twice and given the same exposure as the patients but had the fields turned on every time. Stress was induced by requiring the participants to act in accordance with a random sequence of flashing lights while simultaneously solving complicated mathematical problems. Blood samples were analyzed for levels of the stress-related hormones melatonin, prolactin, adrenocorticotrophic hormone, neuropeptide Y, and growth hormone, and the expression of different peptides, cellular markers, and cytokines (somatostatin, CD1, factor XIIIa, and tumor necrosis factor-α). Skin biopsies were also analyzed for the occurrence of mast cells. Stress provocation resulted in feelings of more intense mental stress and elevated heart rate. The patients reported increased skin symptoms when they knew or believed that the electromagnetic field was turned on. With the blind conditions there were no differences between on or off. Inflammatory mediators and mast cells in the skin were not affected by the stress exposure or by exposure to electromagnetic fields. The main conclusion was that the patients did not react to the fields.
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Little is known about the causes of health complaints associated with work with video display units (VDUs). The symptoms are to a large degree similar to those of "multiple chemical sensitivity." We observed 47 white-collar employees with and without VDU-associated skin complaints during a regular workday and a day of leisure. VDU workers with skin symptoms had higher levels of the stress-sensitive hormones thyroxin and prolactin compared with employees without symptoms. They also had lower levels of the anabolic hormone testosterone during work. VDU workers with skin complaints also reported more occupational mental strain. A model is proposed in which physiological signals act as unconditioned stimuli and the VDU environment as the conditioned stimuli.
Article
As the use of video display terminals (VDTs) has expanded, questions have been raised as to whether working at a VDT affects the risk of adverse pregnancy outcome. A particular focus for these questions has been the very low frequency (VLF) magnetic field produced by a VDT's horizontal deflection coil. VDTs also produce VLF electric fields, extremely low frequency (ELF) electric and magnetic fields, and static electric fields, Ten studies of pregnancy outcome in VDT operators have been conducted in six countries, and with one exception, none has concluded that magnetic fields from VDTs may predispose pregnant operators to spontaneous abortion or congenital malformation. The epidemiologic studies conducted thus far do not provide a basis for concluding that VDT work and adverse pregnancy outcome are associated. Studies of fetal resorptions and malformations in rodents exposed to VLF magnetic fields have produced inconsistent findings. Two laboratories in Sweden that studied mice have reported positive results, one laboratory showing field-related malformations (but not resorptions) and the other showing field-related resorptions (but not malformations). Two Canadian laboratories have reported negative results in rats and mice. Studies of avian embryos have also yielded inconsistent results, but lacking a maternal-fetal placental interface, avian embryos are a questionable model for evaluating human reproductive risks. Finally, VLF electric and magnetic fields measured at the operator position are in compliance with field strength standards and guidelines that have been established around the world.
Article
A study was carried out to determine possible effects of 60-Hz electromagnetic-field exposure on pineal gland function in humans. Overnight excretion of urinary 6-hydroxymelatonin sulfate (6-OHMS), a stable urinary metabolite of the pineal hormone melatonin, was used to assess pineal gland function in 42 volunteers who used standard (conventional) or modified continuous polymer wire (CPW) electric blankets for approximately 8 weeks. Volunteers using conventional electric blankets showed no variations in 6-OHMS excretion as either a group or individuals during the study period. Serving as their own controls, 7 of 28 volunteers using the CPW blankets showed statistically significant changes in their mean nighttime 6-OHMS excretion. The CPW blankets switched on and off approximately twice as often when in service and produced magnetic fields that were 50% stronger than those from the conventional electric blankets. On the basis of these findings, we hypothesize that periodic exposure to pulsed DC or extremely low frequency electric or magnetic fields of sufficient intensity and duration can affect pineal gland function in certain individuals.
Article
A questionnaire survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of dermatological complaints in 672 full time visual display unit (VDU) operators in Singapore. Two hundred and sixty-nine operators worked with plasma display (PD) screens, while the other 403 used cathode ray tube (CRT) monitors. The overall one year period prevalence rate for dermatological complaints was 12%. Thirty-six (13%) PD operators and 46 (11%) CRT operators had skin complaints. The age and sex distribution of persons in the two groups were similar. Twenty-eight (10.4%) PD workers and 24 (6.0%) CRT workers had symptoms of itch, tingling, or the feeling of being stroked by a feather after working with the VDU for some time. Furthermore, 19 (7.1%) PD and 14 (3.5%) CRT workers stated that their skin problems improved during weekends or when they were off duty. The difference between these rates were not statistically significant. Operators with dermatological complaints in the past year were more likely to have a personal history of atopy, complain about their work environment, and have musculoskeletal symptoms of the shoulder and low back. The results indicate that the prevalence and nature of dermatological symptoms among operators using either type of VDU monitor are similar.
Article
A questionnaire about skin rashes and their symptoms was sent to 3877 randomly selected office employees with different degrees of exposure to video display units (participation rate 96.6%). From this group 809 randomly selected persons were examined and interviewed. Itching and burning sensations with few visible signs were more common among persons who were highly exposed than among those in the nonexposed category. Objective facial signs were not significantly more common among persons in the highly exposed category. No dose-response effect was observed regarding the amount of video display unit exposure and objective skin signs. Unilateral skin rashes and skin malignancies were found in the same frequency in both highly exposed and the nonexposed persons. This study does not provide support for the hypothesis that video display unit work induces any recognized type of facial skin disease.
Article
Thirty patients having skin problems experienced being caused by work with visual display units (VDU) were tested double-blind with two VDUs. One VDU had strong electrostatic and electromagnetic fields and the other VDU had an identical appearance but the electrostatic field and electromagnetic fields were practically eliminated. Approximately 80% of the patients reacted with stinging or itching in the face during the 3 hours working period with 25% relative humidity in the room. No difference between the VDUs was found with regard to provoking these symptoms. At 60% relative humidity 13 patients of 19 experienced stinging or itching in the face. Those 13 that reacted were asked to come another time and were informed that the VDU was not turned on and that all electric fields that were present came from the cable to the VDU. A green cloth was put over the VDUs. This time 11 of the 13 patients reacted with stinging and itching in spite of the fact that the VDU was turned off. The present study does not indicate that electric and electromagnetic fields are of major importance in provoking subjective skin symptoms in patients experiencing skin problems when working with VDUs.
Article
According to some reports, mainly from Norway, visual display terminal (VDT) work has been thought to cause rashes. In conjunction with an epidemiological study of office employees and VDT work, a dermatological examination was made. No case demonstrated the clinical picture described from Norway among VDT operators, but subjects with rosacea, seborrhoeic dermatitis and acne were over-represented in the VDT-exposed group. The object of the present study was to see whether patients with rosacea experienced aggravation of their symptoms as a result of VDT work and whether they showed a particular clinical picture. All subjects fit for work among the patients diagnosed as rosacea or perioral dermatitis during 1982 were selected for the study. The methods included a questionnaire on VDT work and suspected impairment of the skin disease, clinical examination and telephone interviews. 179 subjects were selected; 42 of them worked daily with VDT and 8 of them suspected impairment due to VDT work. The results imply that a relationship may exist between rosacea and VDT work. To what factor in the work this may be ascribed is still unclear. Those subjects whose symptoms were aggravated did not show any particular clinical picture.
Article
201 patients with skin problems caused in their own opinion by working with visual display terminals (VDTs) were referred and examined. 18% claimed that their condition improved overnight and 21% that it did so over the weekend. In 25 patients, the skin problems occurred mainly on the cheek turned towards the VDT. Half the patients had rosacea, but their subjective skin symptoms were generally more severe than those in ordinary cases of rosacea, i.e., severe pain, itching and burning. The rest of the patients mainly had common facial dermatoses such as seborrhoeic eczema, acne vulgaris and atopic dermatitis. The patients' skin types, judged by their response to ultraviolet light, did not differ from those of a control population. 18% had non-specific skin problems, e.g., itching and redness. This latter group of patients most closely resembles those cases previously described amongst VDT-workers. An attempt to correlate skin problems with VDTs' electrostatic field strength was unsuccessful because of difficulties in eliminating it. Of 52 electrostatic shields placed in front of patients' VDTs, 38 were defective and 9 were wrongly earthed. The prevalence of migraine-like headache was 40%, which is much higher than in a control population. There was no great use of cosmetics by the study population. When followed up after an average of 8 months, 2/3 of the patients had fewer skin complaints. The question of whether the prevalence of skin problems in general is higher amongst individuals using VDTs than in a control population is addressed in a current study.
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Computers proliferate in almost every workplace of today. Unfortunately, society seems to have been more interested in mass-producing computer systems than in the health and comfort of the humans who interact with them. The unhappy consequence has been a growing rate of computer-related injuries. Nursing worksites are far from immune to this "terminal" illness; the health hazards associated with radiation, stress and workplace design have brought ill health to nurses and to other workers. But like other health problems, computer-related illness can be avoided through preventive care.
Article
According to some reports, mainly from Norway, work with a video display terminal (VDT) has been suspected to cause skin rashes. In conjunction with an epidemiologic study of some 550 office employees, 74 persons, who complained of skin symptoms, were examined by occupational dermatologists. The objective was to see whether the findings from earlier reports could be confirmed, whether any type of rash could be suspected to depend on VDT work, and whether positive findings might be explained by means of physical data. Many different diagnoses were made, but no case demonstrated the clinical picture described among VDT operators from Norway. Subjects with seborrheic dermatitis, acne, and rosacea were overrepresented in the exposed group. Whether this occurrence was due to physical factors, psychological factors, or pure chance is still unclear. This study and observations from our clinic imply that a relationship might exist between VDT work and aggravation of seborrheic dermatitis, acne, and rosacea and probably poikiloderma of Civatte.
Article
A transient facial rash in six healthy female operators of visual display units is described. The cause has not been established, but circumstantial evidence strongly favours a link between the rash and the working conditions. A study performed to establish the aetiology is described.
Article
Twenty patients with symptoms of "environmental illness" were subject to a controlled study of deep versus superficial acupuncture. The patients were evaluated by a detailed questionnaire concerning their occupational, environmental, and medical history. Blood samples were taken as well. Patients were randomized to deep or superficial acupuncture. Both groups improved significantly in key variables during and after treatment. There were no group differences. There were no changes in biological variables apart from a gradual and continuous increase in serum cortisol and a decrease in neuropeptide Y, which was somewhat more accentuated in those receiving deep acupuncture. This rise in cortisol may have contributed to decreased dermal symptoms among the participants. It is hypothesized that the positive treatment results observed are partly due to weakening of the conditioned response, linking bodily symptoms to environmental agents. To date, a number of different methods have been tried in the management of patients with environmental illness. However, only rarely have the treatments been evaluated in controlled studies.
Article
A cross-sectional study on 353 routine office workers was performed in order to investigate relationships between skin diseases, signs or reported symptoms and work at visual display terminals. Skin diseases and signs were ascertained by dermatological examination. Skin symptoms as well as details of VDT work and other work conditions were obtained from a questionnaire. Measurements of the physical environment were made at each work place. The results were subjected to a multivariate analysis. There was a tendency for increased occurrence of seborrhoeic eczema, nonspecific erythema and symptoms among VDT compared to non-VDT users. Organizational conditions during VDT work, such as a perceived high work pace or work load, and inability to take rest breaks, were found to be associated with reported skin symptoms and nonspecific erythema. A low relative humidity was associated with a diagnosis of seborrhoeic eczema. No associations were found in this study between current field levels of electric or magnetic fields and skin diseases, signs or reported symptoms.
Article
The Office Illness Project in northern Sweden, comprising both a screening questionnaire study of 4943 office workers and a case-referent study of facial skin symptoms in 163 subjects was recently completed. Previously published results from the survey showed that female gender, asthma/rhinitis, high psychosocial work load, visual display terminal (VDT) and paperwork were related to an increased prevalence of facial skin symptoms. The case-referent study presented in this paper used data from the questionnaire supplemented by information from a clinical examination, a survey of psychosocial factors at work, building data and VDT-related factors from inspection and measurements taken at the work site. Psychosocial conditions and exposure to electromagnetic fields or conditions associated with such factors were related to an increased occurrence of skin symptoms. The results also indicated that personal factors such as atopic dermatitis and physical exposure factors influencing indoor air quality, such as paper exposure and cleaning frequency were related to an increased prevalence of symptoms. The results suggest that skin symptoms reported by VDT users have a multifactorial background.
Article
Psychologic factors were studied in 10 patients with symptoms presumed to be caused by electricity (EG) and in 10 patients with symptoms presumed to be caused by visual display units (VG) and compared with a sex- and age-matched control group (CG). Psychologic differences between the EG and VG were also measured. The symptoms presumed to be caused by electricity or visual display units were registered, and the personality, psychologic functioning, and quality of life were determined by using the Karolinska Scales of Personality (KSP), an additional Personality Scale (PS), a Psychological Functioning Scale (PFS), and a quality of Life Scale (QLS). The results showed that the commonest general symptoms in the EG/VG were skin complaints, fatigue, pain, and dizziness, and the commonest oral symptoms were gustatory disturbance, burning mouth, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction. The patients in the EG described more different types of both general and oral symptoms than those in the VG. The result showed that the VG scored significantly higher only in the KSP Somatic Anxiety and Muscular Tension scales, and the EG scored significantly lower in the KSP Socialization scale and significantly higher in the Somatic Anxiety, Muscular Tension, and Psychasthenia scales. In addition, only the EG differed significantly on the PS, PFS, and QLS. The EG differed significantly in such psychologic aspects as being more fatigued in the PS, in having more difficulty in concentrating, in taking the initiative, and in getting on with people in the PFS and experiencing inactivity and visiting other people rarely in the QLS. The conclusion was that patients with symptoms presumed to be caused by electricity and visual display units differed from each other psychologically and, therefore, should be handled clinically in different ways. The need for an interdisciplinary approach to these patients is emphasized.
Article
The objective of this work was to determine whether facial skin symptoms are reduced by decreasing static and low-frequency electric fields produced by visual display units. The electric fields were reduced by electric-conducting screen filters. Twenty subjects took part in the study while working at their ordinary jobs, first two weeks without any filter, then two weeks with an inactive filter and two weeks with an active filter (or in reversed order). The inasctive filters were identical to the active ones except that the ground cable was cut. Measurements showed that the inactive filters reduced the static electric fields nonsignificantly less than the active filters. For extremely low-frequency fields the difference was greater, and the active filters reduced the very low-frequency fields significantly more than the inactive ones. Most symptoms were less pronounced with active filters than with inactive filters. The differences were small, and for one symptom only, tingling, pricking or itching, the result was statistically significant. The recorded physical and psychosocial factors did not explain the reduction with the use of active filters. Days with a long period spent near a visual display unit resulted in significantly more pronounced symptoms than days with short time. The findings registered by a dermatologist did not reveal any consistent difference between the two periods with filters. The results weakly support the hypothesis that skin symptoms can be reduced by a reduction of electric fields.
Article
This study tested psychological treatment of patients with "electric hypersensitivity." Seventeen patients were randomly assigned to a treatment group or a waiting-list control group in a pretest-posttest control group design. The patients were also taking part in double-blind provocation tests before and after the treatment. Subjective ratings of symptoms were registered and blood samples were taken and analyzed for "stress-related" variables, such as prolactin, cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone, and cholesterol levels. The patients in the experimental group reduced their evaluations of the disability more than the control group did. This indicates that psychological treatment may be of value in this disease. However, none of the psychophysiological measures or the subjective reactions to the provocation test showed any significant between-group difference. The conclusion from the provocation test is that this group of alleged hypersensitive patients did not react to the electromagnetic fields.
Article
An increasing number of people in Sweden are claiming that they are hypersensitive to electricity. These patients suffer from skin as well as neurological symptoms when they are near computer monitors, fluorescent tubes, or other electrical appliances. Provocation studies with electromagnetic fields emitted from these appliances have, with only one exception, all been negative, indicating that there are other factors in the office environment that can effect the autonomic and/or central nervous system, resulting in the symptoms reported. Flickering light is one such factor and was therefore chosen as the exposure parameter in this study. Ten patients complaining of electrical hypersensitivity and the same number of healthy voluntary control subjects were exposed to amplitude-modulated light. The sensitivity of the brain to this type of visual stimulation was tested by means of objective electrophysiological methods such as electroretinography and visual evoked potential. A higher amplitude of brain cortical responses at all frequencies of stimulation was found when comparing patients with the control subjects, whereas no differences in retinal responses were revealed.
Article
Over the past decade the treatment of schizophrenia has changed in each of its biopsychosocial domains. Advances in neuroscience, particularly in the knowledge of the receptor site, led to increased effectiveness of antipsychotic medication. Development of more sophisticated psychoeducational and rehabilitative techniques enhanced the chances for fuller recovery. Evolution from therapeutic community to continuum of care replaced the traditional inpatient setting with a range of more ambulatory-based alternatives. Comprehensive treatment matches these changes with the phase of illness and is reinforced with a flexible and supportive psychotherapy that emphasizes medication compliance and educational and problem-solving tasks.
Article
The effects of power-frequency magnetic fields on nighttime plasma melatonin were studied in a group of 30 adult male human subjects. Exposure consisted of 20 microT (200 mG) at 50 Hz (circularly polarized) at certain times in relation to the predicted time of onset of rise in melatonin concentration for a particular individual (the time of onset was predicted from a previous screening night). Response to this exposure was compared to sham-exposure (in random order). When exposure preceded onset of rise, a significant delay in onset time relative to sham-exposure of approximately half an hour was observed, with indications (marginally significant) of a reduction in maximum melatonin level. Analysis of distribution of time-delays is consistent with two populations: those individuals who respond (around 20%) and those that do not. Magnetic fields generated by square-wave currents produce more marked reductions in the maximum level when compared to sinusoidal waveforms, but there was no significant difference in onset time.
Article
To investigate psychological effects of an extremely low frequency (ELF)-electromagnetic field (EMF), an experiment with three conditions was designed. EMF field of 50 Hz and 1 mT accompanied by 45 dB SPL noise (EMF + noise), noise, and control. A group of 66 subjects (Ss) participated in the control and in one of the experimental conditions. The sequence of conditions (expositions) was balanced. Expositions were double-blind (except for the obvious control), lasted 1 h and were separated by a 1 h pause. During exposition Ss (three by three) performed tests on attention, perception, memory and filled out a psychological questionnaire. Statistical analysis (one-tailed probability) showed less attention (P < 0.05), perception (P < 0.05) and memory performance (P < 0.1) in Ss exposed to EMF + noise compared with control, whereas for noise versus control no difference was found. Comparing EMF + noise versus noise related to control, reduced perception, less memory performance and more discomfort was observed (P < 0.1). Dividing Ss according to their self-rated sensitivity to EMF, all differences disappeared in the low sensitivity group (N = 30) and were pronounced in sensitive Ss (N = 36). Results indicate an immediate reduction of cognitive performance in attention, perception and memory performance by a 50 Hz EMF of 1 mT. These effects seem to be modulated by the self-perception of sensitivity to EMF.
Article
The purpose of the study was to see whether the results of an earlier study [ie, that skin symptoms were reduced by reducing electric fields from visual display units (VDU)] could be reproduced or not. In addition, an attempt was made to determine whether eye symptoms and symptoms from the nervous system could be reduced by reducing VDU electric fields. The study was designed as a controlled double-blind intervention. The electric fields were reduced by using electric-conducting screen filters. Forty-two persons completed the study while working at their ordinary job, first 1 week with no filter, then 3 months with an inactive filter and then 3 months with an active filter (or in reverse order). The inactive filters were identical to the active ones, except that their ground cables were replaced by empty plastic insulation. The inactive filters did not reduce the fields from the VDU. The fields were significantly lower with active filters than with inactive filters. Most of the symptoms were statistically significantly less pronounced in the periods with the filters when compared with the period with no filter. This finding can be explained by visual effects and psychological effects. No statistically significant difference in symptom severeness was observed between the period with an inactive filter and the one with an active filter. The study does not support the hypothesis that skin, eye, or nervous system symptoms can be reduced by reducing VDU electric fields.
Article
Cases of alleged hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) have been reported for more than 20 years, and some authors have suggested some connection with the "multiple chemical sensitivity" illness. We report the results of a telephone survey among a sample of 2,072 Californians. Being "allergic or very sensitive" to being near electrical devices was reported by 68 subjects, resulting in an adjusted prevalence of 3.2% (95% confidence interval = 2.8, 3.7). Twenty-seven subjects (1.3%) reported sensitivity to electrical devices but no sensitivity to chemicals. Characteristics of the people reporting hypersensitivity to EMFs were generally different from those of people reporting being allergic to everyday chemicals. Alleging environmental illness or multiple chemical sensitivity diagnosed by a doctor was the strongest predictor of reporting being hypersensitive to EMFs in this population. Other predictive factors apart from self-reporting chemical sensitivity were race/ethnicity other than White, Black, or Hispanic; having low income; and being unable to work. The perception of risk of exposure to EMFs through the use of hair dryers (vs. exposure to power and distribution lines) was the factor the most associated with self-reporting about hypersensitivity to EMFs. However, risk perception was not sufficient to explain the characteristics of people reporting this disorder.
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Work with visual display units. Do exposure to electromagnetic radiations or fields influence the occurrence of adverse health reactions? In: Non-ionizing Radiation
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Bergqvist U, Knave B. Work with visual display units. Do exposure to electromagnetic radiations or fields influence the occurrence of adverse health reactions? In: Non-ionizing Radiation. Proceedings of the Second International Non-ionizing Radiation Workshop (Greene MW, ed).
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Hypersensitivity to electricity"-a workplace phenomenon related to low frequency electric and magnetic fields
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Knave B, Bergqvist U, Wibom R. " Hypersensitivity to electricity " —a workplace phenomenon related to low frequency electric and magnetic fields. In: Worldwide Achievement in Public and Occupational Heath Protection Against Radiation, Vol. II. Montreal, Canada:Eighth International Congress of the International Radiation Protection Association, 1992;1121–1124.
The Electrical Sensitivity Handbook: How Electromagnetic Fields (EMFs) Are Making People Sick
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Review of exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields
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Champs électromagnétiques émis par les terminaux à écrans cathodiques
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Gauvin D, Levallois P, Leclerc J-M, Gingras S. Champs électromagnétiques émis par les terminaux à écrans cathodiques. In: Actes du Vingtième Congrès de l'Association Québécoise pour l'Hygiène, la Santé et la Sécurité du travail, Montreal, 1998;58–67.
Review of neurasthenic and other symptombased effects and electromagnetic fields-methods and results. In: Non-thermal Effects of RF Electromagnetic Fields
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Austria:European Cooperation in the Field of Science and Technical Research
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Review of neurasthenic and other symptombased effects and electromagnetic fields- methods and results
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Review of exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (0-300 GHz) and ultraviolet radiation
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Skin problems from visual display units
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Sensitivity to electricity
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