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Last Updated on October 2, 2023
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS) or Electrical Sensitivity (ES) for short, is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms caused by exposure to Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation.
Electrical Sensitivity is poorly understood and highly controversial, because its symptoms can differ from person to person and vary widely in severity.
Many of the symptoms are also very common to other illnesses, so Electrical Sensitivity can be hard to diagnose.
Electrical Sensitivity has long been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a real condition, and due to the number of those who experience it, many other organizations have started speaking up about it.
A wide range of estimates exist for how prevalent Electrical Sensitivity is in the general population.
Some research suggests about 2.5 % of the population suffer from Electrical Sensitivity. Others indicate that is is much higher, and that 20% or more of the population actually have EHS. Further, approximately 10% of reported Electrical Sensitivity cases are determined to be severe.
Electrical Sensitivity Symptoms
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a significant number of individuals have reported a variety of health problems that relate to exposure to EMFs.
One survey by the EMF Safety Network found that many have felt some symptoms of EMF exposure. Of the 876 respondents, 27.5% described themselves as: “EMF Injured – injured by electromagnetic fields and/or wireless radiation.” More than 50% of them experienced the following symptoms: sleep problems; fatigue; concentration, memory, or learning problems; stress and anxiety; headaches; body pain; dizziness or balance problems; ear, eye, or sinus problems; and heart problems.
While many have minor symptoms such as aches and pains, some respondents indicated that cancer, reproductive problems, and seizures are things they believe were caused by chronic EMF exposure. A whopping 19.1% described themselves as having electromagnetic radiation sickness, a severe and chronic condition.
In one Swiss study, over 90% of respondents reported an average of 2.7 common symptoms related to EMF exposure. Some individuals report mild symptoms and they react by avoiding EMFs as much as they can. Others are so severely affected that they cease work and change their entire lifestyle. In the latter case, this is referred to as Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome.
Electrical Sensitivity may encompass a wide variety of non-specific symptoms. Electrical Sensitivity symptoms commonly include:
- Concentration difficulties
- Dizziness, nausea
- Heart palpitation
- Digestive disturbances
- Burning Sensations
Generally, these symptoms will be triggered during exposure to even low levels of EMFs. For example: after use of an cell phone, a tingling sensation may occur on the side of your face where you were holding your phone. Your hands might get tingly after holding a phone for too long. The symptoms may manifest themselves in other disorders, such as dizziness.
Watch Below to Learn More About the Biological Effects of EMFs
If you experience any discomfort upon prolonged use of radiation-emitting devices, it is possible that you have some form of EHS.
Frequency of Electrical Sensitivity Symptoms Based on Distance to Cell Phone Base Station
The Link to Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
A case has been building that EMF exposure is actually an environmental pollutant. Interestingly, Electrical Sensitivity resembles Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), a disorder associated with low-level environmental exposure to chemicals.
If someone is Electrically Sensitive, they are also likely to be Multiple Chemically Sensitive and the other way around. The two are very commonly correlated.
Both ES and MCS are characterized by a range of non-specific symptoms that lack toxicological or physiological basis. The disorders share non-specific medically unexplained symptoms that adversely affect people. Cells shut down and stop communicating with each other.
In the case of MCS, the cause might be a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC).
In the case of ES, the culprit can be a cell phone signal that causes headaches and tingling, etc.
Why Don’t I Hear More About Electrical Sensitivity?
First, the field of study is relatively new. The first case of Electrical Sensitivity wasn’t discovered until the until the 1970s. It was found that one triggering event could set off a general reaction to other sources of EMFs. The most common trigger was working with a new computer, specifically a new monitor. Computer users would sit more closely to a new monitor than they would to other electronic devices making the effects Electromagnetic Radiation more apparent.
Second, we are using many more electronic devices close to the body than ever before making EMF radiation exposure more and more common. We encounter EMFs emitted from our laptops, cell phones and tablets as well as WiFi and Bluetooth on a daily basis. All electronic devices emit some form of radiation and we are surrounded by it!
Although Electrical Sensitivity has been recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a real condition for some time, the courts are only beginning to recognize it. If you pay attention to the news, you will begin to notice stories related to Electrical Sensitivity.
For instance, according to the BBC, Marine Richard of France won disability payout from the government due to WiFi sensitivity. She will claim roughly $900 USD per month for three years as a result of her lawsuit. Unfortunately for Ms. Richard, she was forced to move into a barn without electricity in a remote region of France to escape EMFs.
ABC news also reported that the parents of a 12 year old boy filed a lawsuit against the Massachusetts boarding school where he attends, citing his hypersensitivity to the school’s WiFi. The parents say their son, a day student, has been diagnosed with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome.
Electrical Sensitivity Research
Studies on Electrical Sensitivity are still actively been conducted, and researchers have called for more investigation to better understand it.
To that end, the International Electromagnetic Field Project has been sponsored by the WHO to focus on identifying research needs. The organization also facilitates worldwide program of studying the potential health risks associated with EMF exposure.
Below examples of ES study results from the past several years.
“Medically unexplained conditions considered by patients in general practice” Fam Pract. 2014 Apr;31(2):156-63. doi: 10.1093/fampra/cmt081. Epub 2013 Dec 24.
Conclusion: EHS is considered a life stressor. The number of which can cause negative impact on health.
“The environmental hypersensitivity symptom inventory: metric properties and normative data from a population-based study” Arch Public Health. 2013 Jul 9;71(1):18. doi: 10.1186/0778-7367-71-18. eCollection 2013.
Conclusion: EHS was found to cause prevalence in airway symptoms, skin and eye symptoms, cardiac, dizziness, and nausea symptoms, head-related and gastrointestinal symptoms, and cognitive and affective symptoms.
“Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: evidence for a novel neurological syndrome” Int J Neurosci. 2011 Dec;121(12):670-6. doi: 10.3109/00207454.2011.608139. Epub 2011 Sep 5.
Conclusion: EHS was determined to be inducible as a neurological syndrome using electric fields.
What You Can Do
Electrical Sensitivity is a serious concern and the harm of EMF radiation should not be underestimated. Electrical Sensitivity can be a disabling problem for affected individuals.
If you think you or your loved ones are Electrically Sensitive, you should take necessary precautions to ensure it does not affect your quality of life.
Consult your doctor or health professional and limit unnecessary EMF exposure. This can be done through a variety of means, such as keeping electronic devices at a safe distance away, turning them off when not needed, and utilizing EMF protection equipment which can block both Extremely Low Frequency (ELF) and Radio Frequency (RF) radiation.
These tools can be used to protect you and your loved ones from the harm of EMF exposure.
Watch Below to Learn More About Electrical Sensitivity