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Reported functional impairments of electrohypersensitive Japanese: A questionnaire survey

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An increasing number of people worldwide complain that they have become electromagnetic hypersensitive (EHS). We conducted a questionnaire survey of EHS persons in Japan. The aim was to identify electromagnetic fields (EMF) and plausible EMF sources that caused their symptoms. Postal questionnaires were distributed via a self-help group, and 75 participants (95% women) responded. Reported major complaints were "fatigue/tiredness" (85%), "headache", "concentration, memory, and thinking" difficulty (81%, respectively). Seventy-two per cent used some form of complementary/alternative therapy. The most plausible trigger of EHS onset was a mobile phone base station or personal handy-phone system (37%). Sixty-five percent experienced health problems to be due to the radiation from other passengers' mobile phones in trains or buses, and 12% reported that they could not use public transportation at all. Fifty-three percent had a job before the onset, but most had lost their work and/or experienced a decrease in income. Moreover, 85.3% had to take measures to protect themselves from EMF, such as moving to low EMF areas, or buying low EMF electric appliances. EHS persons were suffering not only from their symptoms, but also from economical and social problems.
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Pathophysiology 19 (2012) 95–100
Reported functional impairments of electrohypersensitive Japanese:
A questionnaire survey
Yasuko Katoa,, Olle Johanssonb
aVOC-EMF Measures Research Association, Sapporo, Japan
bThe Experimental Dermatology Unit, Department of Neuroscience, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden
Received 17 November 2011; received in revised form 13 January 2012; accepted 19 February 2012
An increasing number of people worldwide complain that they have become electromagnetic hypersensitive (EHS). We conducted a
questionnaire survey of EHS persons in Japan. The aim was to identify electromagnetic fields (EMF) and plausible EMF sources that caused
their symptoms. Postal questionnaires were distributed via a self-help group, and 75 participants (95% women) responded. Reported major
complaints were “fatigue/tiredness” (85%), “headache”, “concentration, memory, and thinking” difficulty (81%, respectively). Seventy-two
per cent used some form of complementary/alternative therapy. The most plausible trigger of EHS onset was a mobile phone base station or
personal handy-phone system (37%). Sixty-five percent experienced health problems to be due to the radiation from other passengers’ mobile
phones in trains or buses, and 12% reported that they could not use public transportation at all. Fifty-three percent had a job before the onset,
but most had lost their work and/or experienced a decrease in income. Moreover, 85.3% had to take measures to protect themselves from
EMF, such as moving to low EMF areas, or buying low EMF electric appliances. EHS persons were suffering not only from their symptoms,
but also from economical and social problems.
© 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Keywords: Electrohypersensitivity (EHS); Electromagnetic fields (EMF); Mobile phone base stations; Cell phones; Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS)
1. Introduction
Use of wireless devices, such as mobile phones and WiFi,
have spread remarkably during the last few decades. They
have made life more convenient, but now many persons
complain of various symptoms attributed to exposures to
electromagnetic fields (EMF). Major symptoms include skin
irritation, neurological and cardiac problems as well as diges-
tive difficulties [1]. The World Health Organization (WHO)
officially recognizes the existence of these people and elec-
trohypersensitivity (EHS) as a new syndrome, but it denies
the causal relationship between EHS and EMF [2].
People who self-report sensitivity to EMF have been
described in western countries. In Sweden, the prevalence of
EHS was initially estimated at 1.5% [3], but another newer
Corresponding author at: VOC-EMF Measures Research Association,
471, Bankei, Chuou-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido, 064-0945, Japan.
Tel.: +81 11 613 1984; fax: +81 11 613 1984.
E-mail address: (Y. Kato).
estimation indicates that 230,000–290,000 (2.6–3.2%) report
EMF sensitivity [4]. In Austria, the prevalence was estimated
at less than 2% in 1994, but in 2001 it had increased to 3.5%
[5]. In Switzerland, 5% of the population has been estimated
as EHS [6]. In California, the prevalence of self-reported
sensitivity to EMF was 3.2%, with 24.4% of those surveyed
reporting sensitivity to chemicals [7].
There have been no estimations of EHS prevalence in
Asian countries. Although there is no clear consensus for
EHS diagnosis, seven EHS cases (6 women) were diag-
nosed, by a specialist of environmental medicine at Kitazato
University Hospital in Japan, employing neurophysiologi-
cal function tests, such as vegetative nerve function test by
pupillary light reflex, smooth pursuit eye movement test,
and brain oxygen content by EMF loading test. In the EMF
loading test, a coil connected to an EMF generator was
placed around the patient’s neck, and oxygen contents on
the brain surface were monitored using near-infrared spec-
troscopy (Hamamatsu Photonics Co. Ltd., Japan), by EMF
exposure of 10 kHz, 100 kHz and 1 MHz [8]. One man and
0928-4680/$ – see front matter © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
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96 Y. Kato, O. Johansson / Pathophysiology 19 (2012) 95–100
two of the women were also diagnosed with multiple chemi-
cal sensitivity (MCS). They exhibited a variety of symptoms,
such as headache, tiredness, palpitation, dizziness and nau-
sea. They reported that major EMF sources that caused their
symptoms included mobile phones and their base stations,
personal computers, power lines, fluorescent lights and elec-
tric appliances in homes. The persons were advised to avoid
EMF exposures, to take antioxidants, and to try diet therapy,
such as reducing sweeteners and increasing vegetables.
The prevalence of EHS in Japan, however, remains to be
clarified along with major complaints and plausible EMF
sources that cause subjective symptoms.
The aim of this survey was to study the subjective
symptoms reported by Japanese persons complaining of sen-
sitivity to EMF, plausible EMF sources that cause their
symptoms and EHS onset, used medical care as well as
complementary alternative medicine (CAM) therapies, and
economical/social problems related to their health problems.
2. Subjects and methods
Postal questionnaires were distributed via a website and
a bulletin of a self-help group for EHS and MCS people in
Japan from June to October in 2009. The membership count
of the group was about 200 and they were living throughout
Japan. We received 83 responses, but eight responses were
incompletely filed, thus the valid responses totaled 75 (71
females and 4 males) out of the population of 200 and their
average age was 51.2 (19–81) years (40–49 years old 36.0%,
50–59 years 30.7%, and 60–69 years 18.7%). The medically
diagnosed EHS was reported by 45.3% while 49.3% were
self-diagnosed as EHS, and 5.3% considered themselves sen-
sitive to EMF but not to be EHS (Table 1).
In the questionnaire, we asked their subjective symp-
toms attributed to EMF, suspected EMF sources that caused
symptoms, and plausible EMF sources related to the onset.
Furthermore the responders reported their therapies, CAM
included and their satisfaction, costs of EMF measures, and
concerns related to EMF, especially utilization of public
transportation and the problems caused by other passengers’
mobile phones.
To survey their subjective symptoms, a list of 43 types of
symptoms including skin problems, neurological symptoms,
and digestive difficulties was prepared by referring to symp-
toms in previous studies [8,9]. Participants checked all items
Table 1
Proportion of electromagnetically hypersensitive (EHS) and multiple chem-
ical sensitive (MCS) Japanese persons studied (n= 75).
Diagnosed 34 (45.3%) 37 (49.3%)
Concerned 37(49.3%) 20 (26.7%)
Sensitive to EMF/chemical 4 (5.3%) 11 (14.7%)
Not to be MCS 7 (9.3%)
Total 75 75
that applied to themselves. However, we did not ask about
the frequency or the strength of these symptoms.
As plausible EMF sources that caused subjective symp-
toms, 39 EMF sources, such as mobile phones, personal
computers and power lines were listed. Regarding suspected
EMF source that cause EHS onset, we asked the participants
to fill in EMF sources that they regarded the most plausible.
Often the EMF sources that caused complaints (daily trig-
gers) differed from the suspected EMF sources related to the
onset (initial triggers). Many people complained that envi-
ronmental EMF sources had gradually increased in number
and their health condition had become worse. Our aim, how-
ever, was to investigate what EMF sources were attributed to
by the participants, not to prove a causal relationship between
EMF exposure and symptoms.
Participants were asked what CAM they used, and how
satisfied they were with it. CAM items included dietary ther-
apy, acupuncture/moxibustion, aromatherapy, balneotherapy,
chiropractic, energy healing, flower essence, herbs, home-
opathy, Japanese herbal medicine, kinesiology, osteopathy,
qigong, supplements and yoga. Acupuncture, moxibustion,
and Japanese herbal medicine are covered by the public
health insurance in Japan. Because these therapies are clas-
sified as CAM in western countries, we added them as CAM
in this study. Participants’ satisfaction was rated on a scale
of 0–3. The questionnaire choice was scored as “none” or
“unknown”=0, “little good” = 1, “so-so good”=2, and “very
good” = 3.
Previous studies have noted that people who complained
of sensitivity to EMF had reduced income or were inca-
pacitated for work due to their complaints [3,7,10]. The
participants were asked about changes in monthly income,
as well as the costs and kinds of EMF-reducing measures
they had employed.
We also asked the participants about their daily problems
attributed to EMF, such as experiences of bad health con-
dition aboard public transportation due to other passengers’
mobile phone radiation, and concerns about the construction
of mobile phone base stations.
The Statistical Package for Biosciences (SPBS) was used
for analysis. The results have been presented as means and
S.D. Differences among groups were determined by the
Scheffe test.
3. Results
Every second responder had medically diagnosed MCS
(49.3%) and self-diagnosed MCS had 26.7%. Those who
were not MCS, but considered themselves sensitive to chem-
icals were 14.7%, and those reporting “not to be MCS” were
only 9.3%. When the numbers in the “diagnosed as MCS”
and “self-diagnosed as MCS” were compared with the corre-
sponding EHS groups, 76.0% were found in both categories.
When asked who of the responders had self-diagnosed as
EHS, why they did not seek hospital treatment, the reasons
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Y. Kato, O. Johansson / Pathophysiology 19 (2012) 95–100 97
0 20 40 60 80 100
Stiff nack or back
Sluggish in the head
Sleeping disorder
Difficulty with concentration
Fatigue, tiredness
Proportion (%
Fig. 1. Major subjective symptoms reported by Japanese electromagneti-
cally hypersensitive persons (n= 75).
were “no hospital nearby” (51.4%)”, “difficult to go out due
to sensitivity” (21.6%), “no proper information about hospi-
tals” (18.9%), “it did not seem to be an emergency” (10.8%),
and/or “too little money for consultation” (5.4%). One person
had succeeded to make an appointment for consultation at a
specialist hospital, but she had to wait for six months.
Thirty-five responders (46.7%) had chronic diseases or
allergies, such as hay fever (5), rhinitis (4), asthma (3)
and high blood pressure (3), food allergy, atopic dermatitis,
rheumatism, and benign uterine fibroid tumors (2, respec-
3.1. Reported symptoms and sources
Major subjective symptoms reported among the EHS
persons included “fatigue/tiredness”, and “headache”, “diffi-
culty of concentration, remembering and thinking” (Fig. 1).
The average number of symptoms was 20 in the medically
diagnosed group, 17 in the self-diagnosed group, and 6.5
in the “sensitive to EMF” group (Table 2). When we com-
pared the number of symptoms in the medically diagnosed
group with those of the other two groups, we found it signif-
icantly higher (p< 0.05) than that of the “sensitive to EMF,
but not being EHS” group. There was no significant differ-
ence between the medically diagnosed and the self-diagnosed
As plausible EMF source that caused EHS symp-
toms, most (70.7%) of the responders reported mobile
phone/personal handy-phone system (PHS) base station
(Fig. 2). This was followed by other persons’ mobile phones
(64.0%), personal computers (62.7%), and power lines
(60.0%). Although the number was small, 13.3% indicated
Table 2
Symptom numbers reported by the Japanese study population (n= 75).
Group Number of symptoms p-value (95%CI)
Mean (SD) Scheff test
Diagnosed 20.3 (6.5)
Concerned 17.1 (10.2) p> 0.05 (1.8–8.3)
Sensitive to EMF 6.5 (5.1) p< 0.05 (2.6–25.1)
0.0 20.0 40.0 60.0 80.0
Air conditioner
Cordless phone
Public transportation
Own mobile phone
Power line
Personal computer
Other persons' mobile phone
Base stations
Proportion (%
Fig. 2. Major suspected EMF source reported by Japanese electromagneti-
cally hypersensitive persons (n= 75).
“ultraviolet light (sunshine)” as an EMF source provoking
symptoms (data not shown).
The most commonly suspected EMF source related to the
onset of the EHS was mobile phone/PHS base station (37.3%)
(Fig. 3). It was 1.9 times more frequently attributed to than
personal computers (20.0%).
It should be noted that the health effects of radiation from
medical equipment, such as magnetic resonance imagery
(MRI), X-ray examination, computer tomography (CT), and
echocardiography were also reported. As plausible EMF
sources that caused symptoms, participant checked echocar-
diography (18.7%), X-ray (17.3%), and MRI (16.0%).
Moreover, 7 participants (9.3%) reported that the radiation
from various medical equipments had triggered the onset
of their EHS. Four participants indicated MRI, and three
mentioned X-rays. One of them was a nurse who had been
working in a MRI room, and the remaining 6 had been
exposed to those radiations as patients.
In Japan, the use of induction heating (IH) cookers and
photovoltaic power generations in residences are rapidly
spreading. Although the number is small, five participants
(6.7%) believed that the cause of their EHS onset was EMF
from IH cookers. Three participants experienced health prob-
lem near the photovoltaic power generation equipment, and
IH cooking heater
Mobile phone
Medical equipment
Electric home appliance
Personal computer
Base stations
Proportion (%
Fig. 3. Suspected EMF source of EHS onset reported by Japanese electro-
magnetically hypersensitive persons (n= 75).
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98 Y. Kato, O. Johansson / Pathophysiology 19 (2012) 95–100
two participants believed EMF from the equipment was the
cause of EHS onset.
3.2. Medical treatment and cost
The medically diagnosed EHS participants had received
treatment or took medical advice from physicians. Nearly
two thirds, (61.7%) were advised to undertake dietary ther-
apy and an equal number to avoid EMF when possible. They
were followed by to take supplements (55.9%), to remove
metallic restoration materials from teeth (32.3%), to take vita-
mins (such as vitamin C and B12) (26.4%), to try kinesiology
(23.5%), and/or balneotherapy (14.7%).
Many studies have shown that oxidative stress is induced
by exposure to extremely low frequency (ELF) EMF and
radiofrequency radiation from mobile phones, and that this
oxidative stress was decreased by antioxidants [11–14].
Therefore, diagnosed persons had been advised to take
antioxidants, such as vitamin C, zinc and selenium. They
were also advised to take calcium and magnesium.
Most responders (72.0%) used CAM such as food supple-
ments (46.3%), kinesiology (38.9%), balneotherapy (35.2%),
dietary therapy (35.2%), and/or homeopathy (33.3%). The
average number of CAM therapies used was 4 among the
women, and 2 among the men.
We also asked the participants about their sense of sat-
isfaction with each CAM therapy, and made them – in a
questionnaire – assign numerical values to their satisfac-
tion as “none” or “unknown” = 0, “little good” = 1, “so-so
good” = 2, and “very good” = 3. We totaled the satisfaction
values for each CAM user and averaged them. Higher esti-
mations of two points, or more, were chiropractic, energy
healing, and kinesiology.
Regarding the cost of medical treatment includ-
ing CAM per year, 41.3% paid 100,000–300,000yen
(=1300–3900 USD), and 24.0% paid less than 100,000 yen
(=1300 USD).
3.3. Base stations and residence
The participants reported “concerns with construction of
base stations” (68.0%), “no information on EMF from elec-
tric home appliance” (54.7%), and “no indication of the
location of base station” (24.0%). 85.3% had invested in
various EMF-reducing measures. 53.3% had bought shield-
ing cloth to reduce the electromagnetic radiation. 24.0% had
moved to a low EMF area, or bought a new house in a “safer”
Of the participants, 65.3% indicated they experienced
symptoms attributable to radiation from other passengers’
mobile phones on board public transportation, and 12.0%
said they could not use any public transportation due to their
serious health symptoms.
Major symptoms attributed to mobile phone radiation on
board public transportation were headache (49.0%), palpita-
tion (24.5%), dizziness or ringing (20.4%), fatigue/tiredness,
and dermatitis symptoms (18.4%, respectively), and nau-
sea/vomiting (16.3%).
Participants took various measures to avoid radiation from
mobile phones on board public transportation. Among the
participants, 46.7% limited the time spent out, 37.3% rather
used the bicycle or walked, 30.7% avoided the rush hours, and
14.7% asked passengers to switch off their mobile phones.
Although 40 of the participants (53.3%) had previously
been working in offices (23.1%) or as educators (19.2%) and
in health care as medical personnel (19.2%), every second
had lost their jobs.
4. Discussion
To our knowledge this is the first study of this kind in
Japan and also in Asia. The postal questionnaires were carried
out through the website and bulletin of a self-help group for
people with EHS and MCS in Japan. We got most responses
from women. The proportion of women has been higher than
men also in several previous EHS studies [3,5,7,9].Asinthe
self-help group that distributed the questionnaires, women
accounted for an overwhelming majority, it cannot be ruled
out that this sex ratio might have affected the present results.
In this survey, half of responders had medical EHS diagno-
sis and about half were self-diagnosed as EHS. It is a serious
public health problem that half of the participants could not
even receive a medical consultation.
Forty-nine of the participants had also been diagnosed
as MCS, and 26.7% considered themselves MCS. The
result suggests that persons who experience health problems
attributed to EMF may also react to chemicals.
Mobile phone/PHS base stations were reported as the
cause of their EHS onset (37%), and also as the cause of
their symptoms (70%). Base stations were also most often
suspected as the cause of the health problem by persons in
the Switzerland survey [15]. Several epidemiological studies
have suggested a relationship between health problems and
exposure to radiation from base stations [16–20]. The symp-
toms reported near base stations include sleeping disorders,
headache, concentration difficulties, and tiredness, and they
are very similar to the reported EHS symptoms. Obviously
it is necessary to clarify more the potential health risk of
sum irradiations from mobile phone base stations especially
in home areas. It might prevent further onset of long-term
health problems.
EMF sources that were suspected to cause the subjective
symptoms, included the passive exposures to other per-
sons’ mobile phones (64.0%), personal computers (62.7%),
power lines (60.0%), ultraviolet light (13.3%), and/or X-rays
(17.3%). This suggests that the participants might be affected
by various frequencies from ELF to ionizing radiation in
accordance with a classical generalized radiation damage.
Medically diagnosed persons were treated or took advice
to undertake dietary therapy, avoid EMF, take mineral and
vitamin supplements, and to remove metallic fillings from
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Y. Kato, O. Johansson / Pathophysiology 19 (2012) 95–100 99
teeth. Relying on their judgment, 72.0% of participants
choose also to try CAM therapies, especially kinesiology,
chiropractic, and energy healing.
People who had used CAM during the previous years
have been estimated at 42.1% in the USA [21], 6.6–20%
in the UK [22–24], and 68.9% in Australia [25]. In Japan
this figure is 65.6% [26], thus, the present 72.0% we found
in this survey was somewhat higher. Most of the participants
(76.0%) reported sensitivity to chemicals, therefore it is pos-
sible that they usually avoid pharmaceutical drugs and prefer
to use CAM therapies. Further research must be performed
to confirm the validity of CAM to help sensitive people.
Our survey indicates that persons who complain of EMF
sensitivity confront many problems in their daily lives. On
board public transportation, 65.3% of participants experi-
enced health problems attributed to irradiation from other
persons’ mobile phones, and 12.0% even reported that they
could not use public transportation at all.
Regarding employment, 53.3% of participants had a job
before the EHS onset and 65.0% of them lost their work or
experienced a decreased income after the onset. Moreover,
85.3% had invested in EMF-reducing measures to protect
their residence from radiation, such as moving to low EMR
areas, building reduced-EMR housing, and buying low emis-
sion electric home appliances. The total cost for the present
group rose to about 168 million yen (about 2.2 million US
The present results showed clearly that EHS persons in
Japan suffer from various symptoms, they may lose their jobs,
and furthermore, the have to pay for protection from EMF.
Their functional impairment thus act as an actual barrier that
disturbs their social participation and well-being.
In Sweden, EHS is recognized as a functional impairment,
and therefore, EHS persons can receive assistance and ser-
vice in accordance with the Swedish Act concerning Support
and Service for Persons with Certain Functional Impair-
ments (“LSS-lagen”) and the Swedish Social Services Act
(“Socialtjänstlagen”) [4].
The European Parliament has published a report that
requires information about the locations of EMF sources,
such as mobile phone base stations and power lines, to rec-
ognize EHS persons and to grant them adequate protection
[27]. The report indicates 29 counter-measures such as the
above-mentioned items, including its bullet point no. 9. “Calls
on Member States to make available to the public, jointly
with the operators in the sector, maps showing exposure to
high-voltage power lines, radiofrequencies and microwaves,
and especially those generated by telecommunication masts,
radio repeaters and telephone antennas.”, and no. 28. “Calls
on Member States to follow the example of Sweden and to
recognize persons that suffer from electrohypersensitivity as
being disabled so as to grant adequate protection as well as
equal opportunities”.
In the USA, the Architectural and Transportation Barriers
Compliance Board has stated EHS and MCS to be considered
as disabilities under the Americans With Disabilities Act [28].
Furthermore, the National Institute of Building Sciences, in
the USA, has recommended to provide rooms with low chem-
ical and EMF levels in commercial and public buildings. The
purpose is to ensure accessibility for MCS and EHS persons
The Canadian Human Rights Commission reported that
approximately 3% of Canadians have been diagnosed with
environmental sensitivities, including chemicals and EMF
in their environment [30]. In the report, the author recom-
mended improving the environmental quality in work places.
5. Conclusion
The results obtained in the present study showed that
Japanese electromagnetically sensitive persons report similar
health problems as people in other parts of the world. Obvi-
ously it is necessary to take a precautionary approach and to
provide social support, as well as to conduct further research
to understand the relationship between health symptoms and
EMF exposures.
Supported by the Karolinska Institute, the Cancer and
Allergy Foundation (Cancer- och Allergifonden) and a grant
from Mr. Einar Rasmussen, Kristiansand S, Norway.
Mr. Brian Stein, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, UK,
and the Irish Doctors Environmental Association (IDEA;
Cumann Comhshaoil Dhoctúirí na hÉireann) are gratefully
acknowledged for their general support.
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... Nevertheless, according to several recent studies, living or working near a high-voltage power line has adverse effects on people who are exposed, or perceived to be exposed, by adding physiological and psychological stress to their daily routine [2,[10][11][12]. The association of ELF-MF exposure with nonspecific health symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, skin rashes, and insomnia, is also well documented [13]. However, these symptoms are not a part of any specific syndrome recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently stated that "despite extensive research, . . . ...
... Nevertheless, according to several recent studies, living or working near a high-voltage power line has adverse effects on people who are exposed, or perceived to be exposed, by adding physiological and psychological stress to their daily routine [2,[10][11][12]. The association of ELF-MF exposure with nonspecific health symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, skin rashes, and insomnia, is also well documented [13]. However, these symptoms are not a part of any specific syndrome recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO), which recently stated that "despite extensive research, … there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health" [14]. ...
... Our results are generally in line with the results of other studies that reported tiredness, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, increased heartbeat, and skin problems occurring in the presence of ELF-MF, primarily related to electromagnetic hypersensitivity [4,8,23,25,26]. Anxiety, hostility, headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, vertigo, weakness, dizziness, attention disorders, and nervousness associated with electromagnetic hypersensitivity are also well documented [7,13,26]. However, our results are different from those reported by Baliatsas et al. [27], who found no significant associations between measured ELF-MF exposure and health outcomes but did find significant associations between perceived exposure and health symptoms [27]. ...
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Empirical studies link exposure to extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MFs) to several health symptoms. However, it is unclear whether these symptoms are associated with actual or perceived exposure. In this study we attempted to answer this question by studying the health complaints of employees working in a multi-story office building located near a major high-voltage power line. ELF-MF measurements were conducted in the building using a triaxial sensor coil device on all 15 floors. In parallel, questionnaires were administered to evaluate the prevalence of various health symptoms among the employees. Multivariate logistic regressions were used next to quantify the associations between actual and perceived ELF-MF exposure and the employees’ health complaints. The analysis revealed that feelings of weakness, headache, frustration, and worry were associated with both measured and perceived ELF-MF exposure (p < 0.01), while perceived ELF-MF exposure was also found to be associated with eye pain and irritation (OR = 1.4, 95% CI = 1.2–1.6), sleepiness (OR = 1.3, 95% CI = 1.1–1.5), dizziness and ear pain (OR = 1.2, 95% CI = 1.0–1.4). We conclude that high-voltage power lines produce both physiological and psychological effects in nearby workers, and, hence, proximity to such power lines should become a public health issue.
... A number of studies used questionnaires to examine residential and personal exposures to multitude types of EMF (ELF and RF) that are present in nowadays human environment [4,5,[9][10][11][13][14][15][16][17]. Overall, as expected, the self-diagnosed EHS persons had significantly more health and quality of life complaints than the non-EHS persons. ...
... The majority of the studied endpoints were nonspecific and subjective symptoms, in some studies the list of symptoms was long, listing 43 [13] or even 68 [11] symptoms examined by a questionnaire. However, no matter how long was the list of non-specific symptoms, the problem was that these symptoms were subject to personal feelings and thinking of the study subjects. ...
... Every person is likely to have subjective and differing threshold for what they consider a strong or a weak pain. Table 3 (see supplementary materials) briefly presents survey studies [10,11,13,15,74,[135][136][137][138][139][140][141][142][143][144][145][146] examining causality link between RF-EMF exposures and non-specific symptoms in EHS persons. These studies attempted to find out what sources of RF-EMF (mobile phone, mobile phone base station, Wi-Fi), in what order of causality-importance and what type of symptoms, induce in persons claiming to be EHS. ...
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Part of the population considers themselves as sensitive to the man-made electromagnetic radiation (EMF) emitted by powerlines, electric wiring, electric home appliance and the wireless communication devices and networks. Sensitivity is characterized by a broad variety of non-specific symptoms that the sensitive people claim to experience when exposed to EMF. While the experienced symptoms are currently considered as a real life impairment, the factor causing these symptoms remains unclear. So far, scientists were unable to find causality link between symptoms experienced by sensitive persons and the exposures to EMF. However, as presented in this review, the executed to-date scientific studies, examining sensitivity to EMF, are of poor quality to find the link between EMF exposures and sensitivity symptoms of some people. It is logical to consider that the sensitivity to EMF exists but the scientific methodology used to find it is of insufficient quality. It is time to drop out psychology driven provocation studies that ask about feelings-based non-specific symptoms experienced by volunteers under EMF exposure. Such research approach produces only subjective and therefore highly unreliable data that is insufficient to prove, or to disprove, causality link between EHS and EMF. There is a need for a new direction in studying sensitivity to EMF. The basis for it is the notion of a commonly known phenomenon of individual sensitivity, where individuals' responses to EMF depend on the genetic and epigenetic properties of the individual. It is proposed here that new studies, combining provocation approach, where volunteers are exposed to EMF, and high-throughput technologies of transcriptomics and proteomics are used to generate objective data, detecting molecular level biochemical responses of human body to EMF.
... In contrast to the results obtained from many self-reporting questionnaire-based studies analyzing EHS symptoms without physical examination of the patients [26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33][34][35], we did not find that all symptoms were subjective. Our data are thus in contrast with these studies and with the official statement by the WHO [5], which was neither based on studies involving medical face-to-face clinical interviews, nor on neurological and general physical examinations of the patients. ...
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From a cohort of 2018 evaluable consecutive cases issued from the European Clinical Trial Database, we describe the complete clinical symptomatic presentation of electrohypersensitivity (EHS) and multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) and their association in the framework of a unique, sensitivity-related environmental neurologic syndrome. Eligibility criteria are those of the Atlanta consensus meeting for MCS, and those of WHO for EHS. There were 1428 EHS, 85 MCS and 505 EHS/MCS evaluable cases, so EHS was associated with MCS in 25%. Women appeared to be much more susceptible to EHS and/or to MCS than men, with no statistical significance between the EHS and MCS groups (p = 0.07), but the combined group revealed a more significant female sex ratio of 80.4% (p < 0.0001). All symptoms except emotional behavior were significantly more frequent in EHS patients than in healthy controls (p < 0.0001). We found no pathognomonic symptoms to establish the diagnosis of both disorders or to distinguish EHS from MCS. The three groups of patients were found to share identical symptoms, while several symptoms were found to be more significantly frequent in EHS/MCS than in EHS (p < 0.0001). From these data, we suggest that EHS and MCS are new brain disorders, generated via a common etiopathogenic mechanism.
... Its sufferers predominantly report sleep disorders, asthenia, headaches, memory and concentration difficulties, dizziness, musculoskeletal pain, skin conditions and mood disorders, whose origin is attributed to EMF emitted by various devices, including mobile phone base stations and mobile handsets, Wi-Fi routers, cordless phones, household appliances, compact fluorescent and halogen light bulbs, power lines and power transformers and smart metres (e.g. [22][23][24][25]). For people complaining of EHS (EHS people), the attribution of their symptoms to EMF is often a long process, accompanied by medical errancy [20]. ...
Patients’ experiential knowledge is increasingly recognised as valuable for biomedical research. Its contribution can reveal unexplored aspects of their illnesses and allows research priorities to be refined according to theirs. It can also be argued that patients’ experiential knowledge can contribute to biomedical research, by extending it to the most organic aspects of diseases. A few examples of collaboration between medicine and patient associations are promising, even if there is no single, simple methodology to apply. This article provides feedback on a project involving the experiential knowledge of electrohypersensitive persons with a view to developing an experimental protocol to study their condition. It presents the participatory approach with focus groups that was implemented and reflects on ways to take advantage of experiential knowledge. It also demonstrates the complexity of the electrohypersensitivity syndrome and reflects on the difficult transition between the experiential knowledge and the experimental design of provocation studies. • KEY MESSAGES • Experiential knowledge is a valuable source of information for research and the design of investigation protocols. • The participatory approach allows co-designing protocols by drawing on experiential knowledge. • The controversial dimension of EHS reveals the complexity of translating experiential knowledge into an experimental protocol.
... Az IEI-EMF-személyeket csökkent testi és mentális jóllét (Carlsson és mtsai, 2005;Eltiti és mtsai, 2007;Österberg és mtsai, 2007) és több orvosilag megmagyarázatlan tünet jellemzi (Rubin és mtsai, 2008). Az IEI-EMF személyek egészséghez kapcsolt életminősége jelentősen rosszabb a referencia személyekénél (Baliatsas és mtsai, 2014; Huang és mtsai, 2018; Kjellqvist és mtsai, 2016; Tseng és mtsai, 2011), mind a testi és szociális funkcionálást (Kato & Johansson, 2012), az általános egészséget és vitalitást, testi fájdalmat és mentális egészséget tekintve (Kjellqvist és mtsai, 2016). Ezenkívül nagyobb fokú munkahelyi elégedetlenségről, gyakoribb fáradtságérzetről, fokozott pihenési igényről is beszámolnak (A. ...
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Kétrészes narratív összefoglalónkban áttekintést nyújtunk az elektromágneses tereknek tulajdonított idiopátiás környezeti intoleranciával (IEI-EMF, más néven elektromágneses túlérzékenységgel) kapcsolatos tudományos eredményekről, a kutatások jelenlegi állásáról. Tanulmányunk első részében az IEI-EMF jellemzőit az érintett személyek szemszögéből tárgyaljuk. A közleményünkben foglaltak hasznosak lehetnek úgy az érintett személyek, mint az egészségügyi szakemberek számára. Az elektromágneses túlérzékenység olyan állapotot jelent, amely során az érintett személy tüneteket tapasztal az elektromos eszközök közelében vagy azok használata során, és tüneteit az elektromágneses expozíciónak tulajdonítja. Az Egészségügyi Világszervezet jelenlegi álláspontja szerint az elektromágneses túlérzékenység nem diagnosztikus kategória, s mivel az elektromágneses kitettség és a tünetek közötti feltételezett kapcsolatot az eddigi kutatások eredményei nem igazolták, így a jelenséget az idiopátiás környezeti intoleranciák tágabb kategóriájába sorolták. Az állapot előfordulási gyakorisága jelentős variabilitást mutat az egyes országok között. A tünetek mind jellegükben, mind súlyosság és kronicitás tekintetében változatosak. Jellemzőek a nemspecifikus, általános panaszok, valamint a bőrtünetek. Az IEI-EMF állapota gyakran együtt jár a fiziológiai és kognitív működés megváltozásával, továbbá egyéb szomatikus és mentális megbetegedések is kísérhetik. Jellemző a nagyfokú distressz és a csökkent szomatikus és mentális jóllét. Összefoglalónkban kitérünk az állapot prevalenciájára, a jellemző tünetekre és tünetattribúciós forrásokra, valamint a jelenséget kísérő demográfiai, fiziológiai és pszichológiai jellemzőkre. Ezután kitekintünk az orvos szakemberek elektromágneses túlérzékenységgel kapcsolatos hozzáállására, majd tanulmányunkat a felmerülő etikai kérdésekkel és megfontolásokkal zárjuk. In our two narrative reviews we summarize the current scientific knowledge on idiopathic environmental intolerance (IEI-EMF; aka electromagnetic hypersensitivity). Individuals with electromagnetic hypersensitivity experience symptoms in the proximity or during the use of electrical devices and ascribe them to the electromagnetic exposure. According to the actual standpoint of the World Health Organization, IEI-EMF is not a diagnostic category. As the assumed causal association between exposure and symptoms is not supported by empirical findings, the condition is regarded as an instrance of the broad category of idiopathic environmental intolerances. Prevalence of the condition shows a considerable variability among countries. Also, there is a heterogeneity with respect to quality, seriousness and chronicity of the experienced symptoms. Most frequently non-specific and skin-related symptoms are reported. IEI-EMF is often accompanied by altered physiological and cognitive functioning and other somatic and mental diseases. Is is also characterized by high level of distress and decreased somatic and mental well-being. In this paper, we discuss IEI-EMF from the viewpoint of the impacted individuals. We present its prevalence, the typical symptoms and attributions, and demographic, physiological and psychological characteristics of people with IEI-EMF. We also present attitudes of physicians toward IEI-EMF and the related ethical issues.
... A savoir le diagnostic de maladies comme la sensibilité chimique multiple ou la maladie de Lyme encore appelée borréliose. Au-delà de la caractérisation des personnes déclarant une EHS et leurs troubles, ce type de questionnairepourrait servir ultérieurement à l'estimation de la prévalence de ce syndrome.Comme résultat de cette enquête, les caractéristiques démographiques des participants (âge, genre) et la symptomatologie ressemblent fortement à celui rapporté dans la littérature[Levallois et al., 2002] [Röösli et al., 2004a] [Kato and Johansson, 2012a]. Toutefois, le questionnaire met en évidence les nouvelles sources dont les réseaux sans fil ou « Wi-Fi » comme étant les premières sources à l'origine des symptômes selon les participants. ...
Les personnes auto-déclarant une "électrohypersensibilité" (EHS) signalent des problèmes de santé dont des maux de tête, stress, douleurs cutanées, qu'ils lient à l'exposition aux champs électromagnétiques. L'origine, ainsi que le mécanisme de développement des symptômes associés à l'EHS sont à ce jour inexpliqués. L'objectif de la thèse était d'accroître le niveau de connaissance de ce syndrome et ainsi d'identifier d'éventuels troubles biologiques. Ce travail a exploré le fonctionnement des systèmes endocrinien, nerveux autonome, immunitaire et le sommeil chez les EHS à l'aide de marqueurs physiologiques (variabilité du rythme cardiaque, activité électrodermale et rythme respiratoire) et biologiques (marqueurs salivaires et urinaires). Deux études ont été réalisées : une enquête par auto-questionnaire combinée à une étude de caractérisation sans exposition aux champs électromagnétiques et une étude de provocation avec exposition à quatre signaux électromagnétiques successifs. A l'aide du questionnaire, nous avons fourni un aperçu général sur l'EHS en France. Nos résultats sur le sommeil indiquent des perturbations chez les EHS. De plus des marqueurs (alpha amylase et nombre de réponses électrodermales) diffèrent entre les groupes EHS et non EHS. La majorité des marqueurs physiologiques et biologiques n'indiquent pas d'effet en réponse à une exposition électromagnétique chez les EHS.
... The study groups included 30-60-year-old males and females who were living at close or far distances from the antenna (at the region of interest), at least for 5 years. In another study, Kato et al. [12] performed a questionnaire survey on 75 Japanese people to evaluate the effect of different EM sources on 43 health symptoms. The maximum symptoms were related to fatigue (85%), headache (81%) and sleep disorders (76%). ...
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Purpose: The widespread use of mobile phones and Base Transceiver Stations (BTSs) has generated public concern about exposure to Electromagnetic (EM) waves. In this study, the electric field intensity and Specific Absorption Rate (SAR) in the emergency, general hospitalization, radiology, and laboratory departments of four hospitals in Arak (Iran) are reported. Materials and Methods: Electric field strength in the 900 MHz frequency band was obtained using a TES 592 radiometer. Then, SAR induced in the brain, skin, fat and bone tissues were calculated based on equations and the obtained values were compared with the thresholds recommended by the International Commissions. Results: The obtained results showed that the electric field’s mean value was 1.334 V/m which is almost 2.7% of the threshold introduced by the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and 2.6% of the threshold adopted by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The highest SAR value was 1.6 W/kg for the skin, which is lower than the threshold values presented by ICNIRP (2 W/kg) and IEEE (1.6 W/kg). Conclusion: The findings of the present work show that for both quantities in Arak hospitals the SAR values are less than the thresholds announced by IEEE and ICNIRP committees. To deal with the concerns of the community that is generally caused by a lack of awareness, the executions of educational and public awareness programs are recommended.
An Introduction to Non-Ionizing Radiation provides a comprehensive understanding of non-ionizing radiation (NIR), exploring its uses and potential risks. The information is presented in a simple and concise way to facilitate easy understanding of relevant concepts and applications. Chapters provide a summary and include relevant equations that explain NIR physics. Other features of the book include colorful illustrations and detailed reference lists. With a focus on safety and protection, the book also explains how to mitigate the adverse effects of non-ionizing radiation with the help of ANSI guidelines and regulations. An Introduction to Non-Ionizing Radiation comprises twelve chapters, each explaining various aspects of non-ionizing radiation, including: Fundamental concepts of non-ionizing radiation including types and sources Interaction with matter Electromagnetic fields The electromagnetic wave spectrum (UV, visible light, IR waves, microwaves and radio waves) Lasers Acoustic waves and ultrasound Regulations for non-ionizing radiation. Risk management of non-ionizing radiation The book is intended as a primer on non-ionizing radiation for a broad range of scholars and professionals in physics, engineering and clinical medicine.
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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تقییم مستوى التلوث البیئي بالإشعاعات الكھرومغناطیسیة غیر المؤینة
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A health survey was carried out in La Ñora, Murcia, Spain, in the vicinity of two GSM 900/1800 MHz cellular phone base stations. The E-field (~ 400 MHz - 3 GHz) measured in the bedroom was divided in tertiles (0.02 - 0.04 / 0.05 - 0.22 / 0.25 - 1.29 V/m). Spectrum analysis revealed the main contribution and variation for the E- field from the GSM base station. The adjusted (sex, age, distance) logistic regression model showed statistically significant positive exposure-response associations between the E-field and the following variables: fatigue, irritability, headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, sleeping disorder, depressive tendency, feeling of discomfort, difficulty in concentration, loss of memory, visual disorder, dizziness and cardiovascular problems. The inclusion of the distance, which might be a proxy for the sometimes raised "concerns explanation", did not alter the model substantially. These results support the first statistical analysis based on two groups (arithmetic mean 0,65 V/m versus 0,2 V/m) as well as the correlation coefficients between the E-field and the symptoms (Navarro et al, "The Microwave Syndrome: A preliminary Study in Spain", Electromagnetic Biology and Medicine, Volume 22, Issue 2, (2003): 161 - 169). Based on the data of this study the advice would be to strive for levels not higher than 0.02 V/m for the sum total, which is equal to a power density of 0.0001 µW/cm² or 1 µW/m², which is the indoor exposure value for GSM base stations proposed on empirical evidence by the Public Health Office of the Government of Salzburg in 2002.
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A prior national survey documented the high prevalence and costs of alternative medicine use in the United States in 1990. To document trends in alternative medicine use in the United States between 1990 and 1997. Nationally representative random household telephone surveys using comparable key questions were conducted in 1991 and 1997 measuring utilization in 1990 and 1997, respectively. A total of 1539 adults in 1991 and 2055 in 1997. Prevalence, estimated costs, and disclosure of alternative therapies to physicians. Use of at least 1 of 16 alternative therapies during the previous year increased from 33.8% in 1990 to 42.1% in 1997 (P < or = .001). The therapies increasing the most included herbal medicine, massage, megavitamins, self-help groups, folk remedies, energy healing, and homeopathy. The probability of users visiting an alternative medicine practitioner increased from 36.3% to 46.3% (P = .002). In both surveys alternative therapies were used most frequently for chronic conditions, including back problems, anxiety, depression, and headaches. There was no significant change in disclosure rates between the 2 survey years; 39.8% of alternative therapies were disclosed to physicians in 1990 vs 38.5% in 1997. The percentage of users paying entirely out-of-pocket for services provided by alternative medicine practitioners did not change significantly between 1990 (64.0%) and 1997 (58.3%) (P=.36). Extrapolations to the US population suggest a 47.3% increase in total visits to alternative medicine practitioners, from 427 million in 1990 to 629 million in 1997, thereby exceeding total visits to all US primary care physicians. An estimated 15 million adults in 1997 took prescription medications concurrently with herbal remedies and/or high-dose vitamins (18.4% of all prescription users). Estimated expenditures for alternative medicine professional services increased 45.2% between 1990 and 1997 and were conservatively estimated at $21.2 billion in 1997, with at least $12.2 billion paid out-of-pocket. This exceeds the 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US hospitalizations. Total 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures relating to alternative therapies were conservatively estimated at $27.0 billion, which is comparable with the projected 1997 out-of-pocket expenditures for all US physician services. Alternative medicine use and expenditures increased substantially between 1990 and 1997, attributable primarily to an increase in the proportion of the population seeking alternative therapies, rather than increased visits per patient.
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A health survey was carried out in Murcia, Spain, in the vicinity of a Cellular Phone Base Station working in DCS‐1800 MHz. This survey contained health items related to “microwave sickness” or “RF syndrome.” The microwave power density was measured at the respondents' homes. Statistical analysis showed significant correlation between the declared severity of the symptoms and the measured power density. The separation of respondents into two different exposure groups also showed an increase of the declared severity in the group with the higher exposure.
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An increasing number of persons suffer from non-specific health symptoms such as headache, sleep disturbances, difficulties in concentrating and more. In lack of a medical explanation, more and more persons take refuge to the assumption that they were electromagnetic hypersensitive (EHS) and electromagnetic pollution causes their problems. The discussion whether electromagnetic fields (EMF) could cause such adverse health effects is still ongoing. Based on the Austrian inhabitants a statistical cross-sample of the general population with regard to age, gender and federal state had been investigated to assess the actual situation and potential temporal changes in comparison with a former study of 1994. In a telephone survey a total number of 526 persons were included. This study showed an actual EHS prevalence of 3.5% compared with 2% estimated in 1994. About 70% of the sample believed that electromagnetic pollution could be a risk factor for health. More than 30% declared to at least some degree to be concerned about their well-being near mobile phone base stations or power lines. However, only 10% were actively looking for specific information. Media triggered EHS hypothesis in 24% of the cases. The results show that concerns about EMF did not decrease with time in spite of scientific studies and health risk assessments concluding that a causal relationship of EMF below recommended reference levels and non-specific health symptoms would be implausible.
A survey study using questionnaire was conducted in 530 people (270 men, 260 women) living or not in vicinity of cellular phone base stations, on 18 Non Specific Health Symptoms. Comparisons of complaints frequencies (CHI-SQUARE test with Yates correction) in relation with distance from base station and sex, show significant (p<0.05) increase as compared to people living > 300 m or not exposed to base station, till 300 m for tiredness, 200 m for headache, sleep disturbance, discomfort, etc. 100 m for irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido decrease, etc. Women significantly more often than men (p<0.05) complained of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, depression, discomfort and visual perturbations. This first study on symptoms experienced by people living in vicinity of base stations shows that, in view of radioprotection, minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m.
A survey study using a questionnaire was conducted on 530 people (270 men, 260 women) living or not in the vicinity of cellular phone base stations, on 18 Non Specific Health Symptoms. Comparisons of complaint frequencies (CHI-SQUARE test with Yates correction) in relation to the distance from base stations and sex show significant (p <0.05) increase as compared to people living > 300 m or not exposed to base stations, up through 300 m for tiredness, 200 m for headache, sleep disruption, discomfort, etc., 100 m for irritability, depression, loss of memory, dizziness, libido decrease, etc. Women significantly more often than men (p < 0.05) complained of headache, nausea, loss of appetite, sleep disruption, depression, discomfort and visual disruptions. This first study on symptoms experienced by people living in the vicinity of base stations shows that, in view of radioprotection, the of minimal distance of people from cellular phone base stations should not be < 300 m. © 2002 Editions scientifiques et medicales Elsevier SAS base station / bioeffects / cellular phone 1. INTRODUCTION Chronic exposure to high frequency electromagnetic fields or microwaves brings on bioeffects in man such as headaches, fatigue, and sleep and memory disruptions [1, 2]. These biological effects, associated with others (skin problems, nausea, irritability, etc.) constitute what is known in English as "Non Specific Health Symptoms" (NSHS) that characterize radiofrequency sickness. [3] Cellular mobile phone technology uses hyperfrequencies (frequencies of 900 or 1800 MHz) pulsed with extremely low frequencies (frequencies < 300 Hertz) [4]. Even though the biological effects resulting from mobile phone use are relatively well known and bring to mind those described in radiofrequency sickness [5, 6], to our knowledge no study exists on the health of people living in the vicinity of mobile phone base stations. We are reporting here the results pertaining to 530 people living in France, in the vicinity or not, of base stations, in relation to the distances from these stations and to the sex of the study participants.