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Abstract

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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Author's personal copy
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
Abstract
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: yas-kato20@nifty.com (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.
doi:10.1016/j.pathophys.2012.02.002
Author's personal copy
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).
EHS MCS
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
54.7
56.0
56.0
62.7
64.0
73.3
76.0
81.3
81.3
85.3
0 20 40 60 80 100
Anxiety
Irritation
Stiff nack or back
Ringing
Dizziness
Sluggish in the head
Sleeping disorder
Difficulty with concentration
Headache
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-
tively).
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
groups.
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)
48.0
49.3
52.0
54.7
56.0
56.0
60.0
62.7
64.0
70.7
0.0 20.0 40.0 60.0 80.0
Car
Air conditioner
Cordless phone
Public transportation
Own mobile phone
TV
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
6.7
6.7
8.0
14.7
14.7
20.0
37.3
010203040
IH cooking heater
Powerline
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”
area.
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
Author's personal copy
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
dollars).
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
[29].
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.
Acknowledgments
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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... 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. ...
Article
Full-text available
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.
... Therefore some individuals could feel overwhelmed by omnipresent mobile devices and attributed health complaints to RF-EMF originating from them. MBPS, which were indicated by only 17% of our respondents, constituted one of the most influential source of EMF in Austrian (Schröttner and Leitgeb 2008), Swiss (Roosli et al. 2004), Japanese (Kato and Johansson 2012), German (Schüz et al. 2006) and Taiwanese (M-C et al. 2011) populations, being indicated by 77%, 74%, 71%, 70% and 22% of EHS subjects, respectively. In other studies the most commonly indicated sources were: fluorescent light in Swedish population (Stenberg et al. 2002), Wi-Fi routers in French population (Andrianome et al. 2018;Dieudonné 2016), personal computers by Finnish population (Hagström et al. 2013) and power lines in Austrian (Schröttner and Leitgeb 2008) and Swiss (Schreier et al. 2006) populations. ...
... studies analyzing the subject(Andrianome et al. 2018;Dieudonné 2016;Hagström et al. 2013;Kato and Johansson 2012;M-C et al. 2011;Roosli et al. 2004;Schreier et al. 2006;Schröttner and Leitgeb 2008;Schüz et al. 2006;Stenberg et al. 2002), out of which eight were performed in Europe(Andrianome et al. 2018;Dieudonné 2016;Hagström et al. 2013;Roosli et al. 2004;Schreier et al. 2006;Schröttner and Leitgeb 2008;Schüz et al. 2006;Stenberg et al. 2002) and two in Asia(Kato and Johansson 2012;M-C et al. 2011). ...
... studies analyzing the subject(Andrianome et al. 2018;Dieudonné 2016;Hagström et al. 2013;Kato and Johansson 2012;M-C et al. 2011;Roosli et al. 2004;Schreier et al. 2006;Schröttner and Leitgeb 2008;Schüz et al. 2006;Stenberg et al. 2002), out of which eight were performed in Europe(Andrianome et al. 2018;Dieudonné 2016;Hagström et al. 2013;Roosli et al. 2004;Schreier et al. 2006;Schröttner and Leitgeb 2008;Schüz et al. 2006;Stenberg et al. 2002) and two in Asia(Kato and Johansson 2012;M-C et al. 2011). ...
Article
The primary goal of the study was to identify sources of electromagnetic field (EMF) which are attributed to negative health outcomes by a general population of electrohypersensitive (EHS) individuals. Secondary goal was to investigate the differences in indicated sources in subgroups distinguished based on gender, sex, place of living, place of work and the distance between place of living and the nearest mobile phone base station (MPBS). The cross-sectional study aiming to describe and analyze the population of EHS subjects was performed using a web-based questionnaire. The full survey consisted of 32 questions and concerned participants’ baseline characteristics and details on sensitivity to electronic devices. Participants were regarded as EHS if they answered “yes” to the question “Do the electric/electronic/telecommunication devices negatively affect your well-being?” and indicated at least one device which in their opinion had such an impact. We identified 408 EHS subjects, out of which 288 (70.73%) were females and 120 (29.27%) were males. Phones, especially mobile devices, were attributed to negative health outcomes by the highest number of subjects (309, 75.74% and 267, 65.44% for phones and mobile phones, respectively). Additional subgroup analysis indicated that older participants and participants who live closer to MPBS more often complained of physical symptoms attributed to MPBS impact (p = .02 and p < .01, respectively). Phones, especially mobile devices, are the most important source of EMF influencing EHS subjects. People who self-reported living closer to MPBS and older individuals seem to be remarkably more concerned about MPBS health impact.
... Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is a condition defined by the attribution of non-specific symptoms to electromagnetic fields (EMF) of anthropogenic origin. Its sufferers predominantly report sleep disorders, asthenia, headaches, memory and concentration difficulties, dizziness, musculoskeletal pain, skin conditions and mood disorders, for which they hold responsible EMF emitted by various devices, including mobile phone base stations and mobile handsets, Wi-Fi routers, DECT telephones, household appliances, compact fluorescent and halogen light bulbs, power lines and power transformers, or smart meters [1][2][3][4][5][6]. EHS is also characterized by specific and sometimes spectacular behaviours, that intermittently draw attention from the media and make it known from the public. ...
... The most regularly blamed devices seem to be mobile telephony base stations and handsets, cordless phones, personal computers, TV sets, microwaves oven, and power lines. However, the frequency of complaints related to each of these devices varies significantly between studies, e.g. from 12,9 to 80% of the sample for base stations, 11 to 71% for cordless phones, 28,4 to 79% for power lines, etc. [1][2][3][4]6]. These discrepancies might reflect a natural variability among EHS persons, or differences in the questionnaires used as well as in the respondents' electromagnetic environment. ...
... The attributive hypothesis contends that EHS should be regarded as yet another functional somatic syndrome, based on especially contentious attributions. This view is supported by further similarities between EHS and these syndromes, namely, that they primarily affect women (who represent 62 to 95% of EHS subjects in questionnaire studies [1][2][3][4][5][6]) and are significantly comorbid with anxiety and depression [103,105]. Consequently, EHS symptoms do not have to be explained on their own, as they could result from the variety of physio-and psycho-pathological mechanisms supposedly involved in functional somatic syndromes (e.g., autonomic imbalance for asthenia, central sensitization for pain, etc.) [106]. ...
Article
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Background Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) is a condition defined by the attribution of non-specific symptoms to electromagnetic fields (EMF) of anthropogenic origin. Despite its repercussions on the lives of its sufferers, and its potential to become a significant public health issue, it remains of a contested nature. Different hypotheses have been proposed to explain the origin of symptoms experienced by self-declared EHS persons, which this article aims to review. Methods As EHS is a multi-dimensional problem, and its explanatory hypotheses have far-reaching implications, a broad view was adopted, not restricted to EHS literature but encompassing all relevant bodies of research on related topics. This could only be achieved through a narrative approach. Two strategies were used to identify pertinent references. Concerning EHS, a complete bibliography was extracted from a 2018 report from the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety and updated with more recent studies. Concerning related topics, the appropriate databases were searched. Systematic reviews and expert reports were favored when available. Findings Three main explanatory hypotheses appear in the literature: (1) the electromagnetic hypothesis, attributing EHS to EMF exposure; (2) the cognitive hypothesis, assuming that EHS results from false beliefs in EMF harmfulness, promoting nocebo responses to perceived EMF exposure; (3) the attributive hypothesis, conceiving EHS as a coping strategy for pre-existing conditions. These hypotheses are successively assessed, considering both their strengths and limitations, by comparing their theoretical, experimental, and ecological value. Conclusion No hypothesis proves totally satisfying. Avenues of research are suggested to help decide between them and reach a better understanding of EHS.
... 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. ...
Thesis
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%). ...
Article
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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.
... Exposure sources that are reported to cause the symptoms include mobile phones, WiFi routers, visual display units (VDU), microwaves, base stations, high-voltage power lines, and radars [1,6,8]. Some of the individuals with IEI-EMF severely suffer from impaired health status and feel restricted in daily life and in their performance of normal routines [3,8,11,12]. ...
Article
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Background: Hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields (EMF) is a controversial condition. While individuals with idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) claim to experience health complaints upon EMF exposure, many experimental studies have found no convincing evidence for a physical relation. The aim of this systematic review was to evaluate methodological limitations in experimental studies on symptom development in IEI-EMF individuals that might have fostered false positive or false negative results. Furthermore, we compared the profiles of these limitations between studies with positive and negative results. Methods: The Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guided the methodological conduct and reporting. Eligible were blinded experimental studies that exposed individuals with IEI-EMF to different EMF exposure levels and queried the development of symptoms during or after each exposure trial. Strengths and limitations in design, conduct and analysis of individual studies were assessed using a customized rating tool. Results: Twenty-eight studies met the eligibility criteria and were included in this review. In many studies, both with positive and negative results, we identified methodological limitations that might have either fostered false or masked real effects of exposure. The most common limitations were related to the selection of study participants, the counterbalancing of the exposure sequence and the effectiveness of blinding. Many studies further lacked statistical power estimates. Methodically sound studies indicated that an effect of exposure is unlikely. Conclusion: Overall, the evidence points towards no effect of exposure. If physical effects exist, previous findings suggest that they must be very weak or affect only few individuals with IEI-EMF. Given the evidence that the nocebo effect or medical/mental disorders may explain the symptoms in many individuals with IEI-EMF, additional research is required to identify the various factors that may be important for developing IEI-EMF and for provoking the symptoms. We recommend the identification of subgroups and exploring IEI-EMF in the context of other idiopathic environmental intolerances. If further experimental studies are conducted, they should preferably be performed at the individual level. In particular, to increase the likelihood of detecting hypersensitive individuals, if they exist, we encourage researchers to achieve a high credibility of the results by minimizing sources of risk of bias and imprecision.
... Their symptoms are listed in Table 2 and their environmental sensitivities in Table 3. These observations are consistent with available data on EHS persons: they appear mostly as middle-aged women, who suffer from numerous non-specific symptoms affecting various organs or functions, and report sensitivity to many ELF and RF sources as well as other environmental factors (especially odors and chemicals) [e.g., Kato and Johansson, 2012;Hagstr€ om et al., 2013;van Dongen et al., 2014;Andrianome et al., 2018]. ...
Article
Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance attributed to Electromagnetic Fields (IEI-EMF) is an emerging environmental illness that is characterized by the attribution of various symptoms to electromagnetic fields (EMF). To date, research has not succeeded in objectifying the illness' semiology or etiology. IEI-EMF remains impossible to define other than in terms of the attributions of the persons affected. Yet, the genesis of these attributions is still not well understood. This study's objective is to replicate previous results relating to them, while correcting their limitations. Sixteen electro-hypersensitive (EHS) subjects lent themselves to both a sociological interview and a medical interview, and completed a set of standardized questionnaires. Three distinct types of biographical trajectories leading to persons becoming convinced of their hypersensitivity were identified, which were called the Reticent Attribution model, the Prior Attribution model, and the By Proxy Attribution model. These three models of EHS attribution process do not appear to lead to clinically distinct forms of IEI-EMF. What distinguishes them is the way in which the initial suspicion of the electromagnetic environment emerges. They demonstrate a diversification of the pathways to IEI-EMF. Nonetheless, in each model, the learning process that enables the EHS attribution to be materialized and operationalized is identical. The ability to establish causation between the electromagnetic environment and their condition is therefore the result of EHS subjects' trajectories, rather than their starting point. This observation is not congruent with models attributing IEI-EMF to nocebo reactions, which raises the question of these models' ecological validity.
Article
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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Article
Importance: A "mystery" illness striking US and Canadian diplomats to Cuba (and now China) "has confounded the FBI, the State Department and US intelligence agencies." Sonic explanations for the so-called "health attacks" have long dominated media reports, propelled by peculiar sounds heard and auditory symptoms experienced. Sonic mediation was justly rejected by experts. We assessed whether pulsed radiofrequency/microwave radiation (RF/MW) exposure can accommodate reported facts in diplomats, including unusual ones. Observations: 1. Noises: Chirping, ringing or grinding noises were heard at night, during episodes reportedly triggering health problems, by many diplomats. Pulsed RF/MW engenders just these "sounds" via the "Frey effect." Ability to hear the sounds depends on high frequency hearing and low ambient noise. "Sounds" differ by head dimensions. 2. Signs/symptoms: Hearing loss and tinnitus are prominent in affected diplomats - and in RF/MW-affected individuals. Each of protean symptoms that diplomats report, also affect persons reporting symptoms from RF/MW: Sleep problems, headaches, and cognitive problems dominate in both groups. Sensations of pressure or vibration figure in each. Both encompass vision, balance and speech problems, and nosebleeds. Brain injury and brain swelling are reported in both. 3. Mechanisms: Oxidative stress provides a documented mechanism of RF/MW injury compatible with reported signs and symptoms; sequelae of endothelial dysfunction (yielding blood flow compromise), membrane damage, blood brain barrier disruption, mitochondrial injury, apoptosis, and autoimmune triggering afford downstream mechanisms, of varying persistence, that merit investigation. 4. Of note, microwaving of the US embassy in Moscow is historically documented. Conclusions and relevance: Reported facts appear consistent with RF/MW as the source of injury in Cuba diplomats. Non-diplomats citing symptoms from RF/MW, often with an inciting pulsed-RF/MW exposure, report compatible health conditions. Under the RF/MW hypothesis, lessons learned for diplomats and for RF/MW-affected "civilians" may each aid the other.
Article
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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.
Article
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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.
Article
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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.
Article
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.
Article
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.