Electromagnetic Hypersensitvity (EHS) is the phenomenon of getting sick when exposed to manmade electromagnetic fields (EMFs). The subject associates symptoms with exposure to electrically powered devices, wireless internet, routers, portable phones, cellular phones, cell phone towers, and Bluetooth devices. Those who self-identify as electromagnetically sensitive complain of flu-like symptoms, insomnia, difficulty concentrating, depression, and low energy.
EHS deniers claim that studies show so-called victims cannot discriminate between EMF and non-EMF environments. Other researchers are able to elicit objectively observed changes following exposure in reactions of the pupil, changes in heart rhythm, damage to erythrocytes, and disturbed glucose metabolism in the brain.”[i]
EMFs are Class 2b Potential Carcinogen
Government-based EMF protection protocols are based on thermal and ionization effects without taking into account the fact that non-ionization radiation penetrates biological tissue. The World Health Organization categories even weak EMFs as class 2b, potentially carcinogenic. EMF exposure is highly correlated with mastocytosis (immune cell accumulation) and degranulation (wound response). [ii]
Leukemia and Illness Correlating with EMF Exposure
That WHO classification of EMFs as possibly being carcinogenic came out of observations that childhood leukemia clustered around EMF exposure. Researchers concluded that 1 to 4% of all childhood leukemia cases could be attributed to the effect of electromagnetic fields.[iii]
In 1970, the Soviet Union reported what we would now call EHS in radar station operators that they called “microwave” syndrome. Far from being ionizing radiation, microwave wavelengths are 30 cm to 1 mm, which is shorter than radio waves, but longer than infrared light. The shorter the wavelength, the more energy an EMF contains. Microwaves contain less energy than visible light and infrared light, yet contributed to fatigue, dizziness, headaches and insomnia in military exposed to theses non-ionizing fields. [iv]
In 1980s Sweden there were reports of illness correlated with exposure to cathode ray tubes. Victims experienced burning, flushing, tingling, headaches, dizziness and tiredness. [v]
In vitro examination of EMF on DNA has yielded damage in some studies and no damage in others. It’s not clear whether the studies that failed to find damage isolated non-damaging EMFs, or they were simply setup with faulty equipment or measurements such as distance from source. Those studies that do show EMF altering DNA are the basis for declaring that non-ionizing radiation can cause cancer.[vi]
Is EHS a Nocebo?
Self-reported EMF exposure sickness has reached critical mass in that the World Health Organization has tasked itself with creating protocols for amassing evidence to separate correlation and causation of illness. Devices of concern include: “magnetic resonance imaging, diathermy, radiofrequency ablation), industry (e.g. heating and welding), domestic appliances (e.g. baby monitor, WiFi), security and navigation (e.g. radar and RFID) and especially in telecommunications (e.g. radio and TV broadcasting, mobile telephony).” The study will differentiate between nocebo effect and causation. If, for example, all EMF sensitivity cases turned out to be driven by belief rather than exposure, then the results would imply the following portions of populations are actually imagining rather than experiencing biological effects: [vii]
- 1.5% of Sweden
- 3.2% of California
- 3.5% of Austria
- 3.5% of The Netherlands
- 5% of Switzerland
- 10% of Germany
- 4% of Taiwan
The large-scale WHO study is broken into six domains with eight questions per domain, including:
- randomization of exposure level
- allocation concealment
- exposure characterization
- attrition level
- outcome assessment
- funding sources
- sources of bias
With reports as high as 10% of a population attributing illness to exposure to EMFs, the WHO’s investigation validates that people are getting sick in large numbers. For the studies in which subjects failed to identify EMF exposure are borne out, the WHO will have to conclude that 10% of Germany and 3.2% of California’s populations, for example, are suffering from hallucinatory false attribution of exposure to EMFs with significantly adverse symptoms.
EHS Sufferers Have Defined Blood Markers
A 2014 study proposed using blood biomarkers as an EHS diagnostic tool. Those researchers found that those suffering from EHS has simultaneous “metabolic pro-oxidant/proinflammatory alterations … with distinctively increased plasma coenzyme-Q10 oxidation ratio.” They also “identified significantly altered distribution-versus-control of the CYP2C19*1/*2 SNP variants …, and a 9.7-fold increased risk (OR: 95% C.–74.5) of developing EHS for the haplotype (null)GSTT1 + (null)GSTM1 variants.”[viii] In other words, EHS people had blood biomarkers, and certain genes predicted EHS illness in response to exposure.
Fibromyalgia Wasn’t Recognized as “Real,” Either
A 2020 study of fibromyalgia and electromagnetic sensitivity patients demonstrated that the population exhibiting both illnesses shared metabolic profile anomalies, consisting of “higher levels of glycine and pyroglutamate, and lower levels of 2-hydroxyisocaproate, choline, glutamine, and isoleucine compared to healthy subjects.”[ix]
Low Frequency EMF Association with DNA, Brain and Fetal Damage
Everyday electrical devices emit extremely low frequency magnetic fields (ELF-MF) which oscillate at 1 to 300 Hz. One literature review found significant evidence associating exposure to ELF-MF and DNA damage (including childhood leukemia), Alzheimer’s disease and miscarriage.[x]
Alternative Triggers Still Blame Electrical Devices
Alternatively, the EMFs are not the source of illness, but the cause of illness is still external and not nocebo. For example, flickering from alternating current has negative biological effects. Studies that expose subjects to EMFs can do so without exposing the subjects to associated light flicker, which could account for the illness coming from an external source, and the subjects not recognizing the presence of the cause. The misattribution of illness to EMF rather than another consequence of electrical device EMFs still leaves open the possibility that something about electrical devices is causing biological harm. Were the actual cause to be light flicker, for example, EMF mitigation would cause flicker mitigation, and thereby correlate with less illness.
Biological Damage Measurable and Consistently Repeatable
Neither nocebo nor misattribution accounts for the biological intrusion of EMFs into the body causing cellular and genetic damage. Non-ionizing EMF damage to biological tissue is not disputed, so it is therefore surprising that those suffering from self-reported EHS would be unable to detect EMF nearby. Such “canaries” that appear to be more sensitive to EMF damage than the rest of the population associate exposure to electrical devices emitting EMFs with onset of their symptoms. Since non-ionizing EMFs do cause biological damage, another hypothesis makes even more sense than millions of people all experiencing the same nocebo effect. That is that the studies that hid the source of EMFs from subjects inadvertently attenuated the EMFs that would have caused damage were the devices in plain sight.
Another possible illness cause is “dirty electricity,” which is the unintended effect of electrical distribution from power stations to building outlets. Dirty electricity consists of ELF EMF and radio waves. Dirty electricity is associated with “sick buildings.” Use of filters to ameliorate the field’s results in fewer idiopathic complaints from building occupants. In schools, ADHD and asthma reports went down with filter installation. In a sick building, diabetics required less insulin after dirty electricity mitigation.[xi]
Compare Mass Hallucination to Physically Measurable Effects
Groups of people agreeing that their illnesses arise from EMF exposure gather on social media and flee to “national radio quiet zones” established around sensitive telescopes. The wireless, cell phone and electric device ban that protect these telescopes from ground noise are oases of relief to EHS immigrants.
Multiple Lawsuits Fail to Pierce Corporate Tower Installation Power
The 1996 Telecommunications Act forbids communities from exercising regulations against the placement of mobile cell phone towers for the purpose of protecting public health. The act explicitly denies local regulations banning towers so long as FCC EMF emission regulations are met. The FCC claims not to be a health authority and so submits to the IEEE, which bases its standards of EMF health on thermal and ionizing standards. Towers went up, people got sick, towns sued the FCC, and the Supreme Court upheld the 1996 law as a win for the telecommunications industry.[xii] The court held that the citizenry’s health is specifically excluded from consideration when siting mobile phone towers, and that local zoning boards have no right to object to telecommunications industry tower installations.
But fear not, because the FCC maintains a crisis management center that citizens can call 24/7 at (202) 632-6975 to report any radiofrequency hazard threatening public safety or health.[xiii] The operators on that line will be happy to inform you that the IEEE says that the towers nearby that correlated with your illness cannot be the cause as they emit microwaves and radio waves but not ionizing radiation with thermal or DNA altering properties.
Non-Ionizing Radiation Causes Illness
The only possibility that there is not a physical problem making people sick is if somewhere between 2% to 10% of each country’s population is experiencing the same nocebo effect across the world. They self-report association of illness with EMF exposure. Given that non-ionizing EMF create biological damage, there is more reason to look to physical rather than worldwide mass experience of the exact same hallucination of illness.
Electrical Devices are the Common Denominator
The EMF hypothesis still has room to be incorrect, but the evidence is pointing to something about electrical devices that causes dizziness, brain fog and Alzheimer’s. The cause does not have to be EMFs; it could be flicker, dirty electricity or some unnamed phenomenon. Outside of the collective unconscious hosting simultaneous nocebo hallucinations, the physical presence of electrically powered devices is common to all reported cases. Whether these devices are radios, home wireless phones, cell phones or military radar installations, millions of people are sick in the presence of electrical devices. If they are canaries whose bodies alert them of danger while the rest of us blithely hold cell phones crushed to our skulls causing glioblastoma, then they are just early in reporting symptoms that eventually all of us will experience with enough exposure. EMFs are a class 2b “possible carcinogen,” which points squarely at physical cause for physical effect rather than blaming the victims for their illnesses.
Is EMF Mitigation a Scam?
Some manufacturers of electrical devices offer EMF mitigation usually in the form of redirecting waves away from users in a process similar to noise cancellation in Bose headphones. Recently in an industry with which I am very familiar, an argument arose that protecting users from EMFs was just a scare tactic to attract buyers to a bogus and unnecessary feature. With millions of people reporting illness when exposed to electrical devices and power transmission, the protection of biological tissue from EMFs is hardly a cynical sales tactic. The nocebo hallucination is astronomically unlikely in numbers as large as 10% of any given population. The EMFs are damaging tissue. People are reporting illness. That some scientists couldn’t associate EMF producing devices with subject’s ability to detect harm is more likely to mean that those studies were poorly designed, or that the attempt to hide “real” and “placebo” EMF emitting devices from subjects accidentally resulted in protecting the subjects from the damaging phenomenon they emitted.
Social media groups discussing EMF harms:
- EMF Warriors, 18k members
- Aulterra Emf Protection and Tips, 5.9k members
- Electrical Sensitivity Support Group, 5.7k members
- EMF Academy Private Community, 5.1k members
- Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Health & Protection, 4.2k members
- Electro-sensitivity forum, 3.3k members
- Autism and EMF, 2.8k members
- EMF Awareness & Solutions, 2.1k members
- 5G Dangers and EMF, 1.9k members
- EMF Facts, Action and Protection, 1.8k members
- EMF and EHS Law, 1.5k members
- Electrical Hypersensitivity & Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, 1.3K members
- EMF Cell RF help in the real world, 1.1k members
- EMF Radiation Protection for our Children, 1k members
- EMF Blocking Hats by Alana, 932 members
- Friends of ‘Dirty Electricity’ and ‘EMF’ Conquerors, 931 members
- EMF Dangers and Protection Tips, 849 members
- #HA5G Humanity Against 5G – EMF, Network, Radiation, Health Concerns, 737 members
- EMF Protection Interest Group, 695 members
- EMF Radiation Safe World, 686 members
- Smart EMF, 673 members
- EMF Harm International, 661 members
- EMF Protection, 613 members
- EMF Refugee, 606 members
- Electromagnetic Health Awareness, 522 members
- Home EMF Protection, 491 members
- EMF Awareness and Health, 395 members
- Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) Support Group, 364 members
- International EHS Association, 313 members
- emhs, 306 readers
- EMF 3G 4G 5G 6G WIFI PROTECTION & HELP, 216 members
- EMF Sensitivity, 214 members
- EMF Protection Information, 182 members
- Aulterra EMF Neutralization – Green Mommas Tips & Info, 164 members
- Dirty Electricity + EMF Pollution Awareness, 133 members
- EMF and EHS Warrior Support Group, 106 members
- EMF Warriors, 105 members
- EMF/Electromagnetic Frequency Hypersensitivity Support and Information, 97 members
- Global EMF Radiation Summit, 73 members
- EMF Global Watch, 64 members
- EMF EHS Support Group, 60 members
- EMF Solutions, 42 members
- Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity, 32 members
- EMF Safe Spaces – West Coast, 27 members
EHS Recognition in Society
- Probably the world’s largest collection of EHS science can be found at emf-portal.org.
- California Appellate Court Rules That Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity May Qualify as a Disability Under FEHA
- Gadget ‘allergy’: French woman wins disability grant
- Canadians claiming to have ‘electromagnetic hypersensitivity’ feel forced to escape modern life
- Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS, microwave syndrome) – Review of mechanisms
- EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses
- Electromagnetic hypersensitivity–an increasing challenge to the medical profession
- Electromagnetic field induced biological effects in humans
- Health effects of electromagnetic fields
- Electromagnetic fields (EMF): do they play a role in children’s environmental health (CEH)?
- The Impact of the Low Frequency of the Electromagnetic Field on Human
- Insights in the biology of extremely low-frequency magnetic fields exposure on human health
- The effects of radiofrequency electromagnetic fields exposure on human self-reported symptoms: A protocol for a systematic review of human experimental studies
- THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT OF 1996
- FCC Fact Sheet NEW NATIONAL WIRELESS TOWER SITING POLICIES
- Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: biological effects of dirty electricity with emphasis on diabetes and multiple sclerosis
- Metabolic and Genetic Screening of Electromagnetic Hypersensitive Subjects as a Feasible Tool for Diagnostics and Intervention
- Metabolomics and psychological features in fibromyalgia and electromagnetic sensitivity