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Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) has become a serious public health issue in our society.
A hypersensitivity to electromagnetic radiation (EMR) fields, such as from the 50/60 Hertz power lines, cell phones, smart meters, charged batteries, compact fluorescent lamps, signals from radio transmission towers or even idling cell telephones, and the ubiquitous presence of Wi-Fi in such public places as medical facilities, libraries, court houses, as well as our homes is becoming a serious public health issue for our society. EHS is a health condition where the person is very sensitive or hypersensitive to any exposure to electromagnetic radiation, especially if the radiation has pulsed modulation. In extreme, some people black out if someone turns on a cell phone standing near them.
Developing research is regarding the condition of EHS as a serious complication of much the same neural injury that causes the MCS syndrome, so the person must avoid MCS aggravations as well as the electromagnetic radiation exposure. EHS is often regarded as another environmental illness. Current research reports some three to as much as seven percent of the American population has medical cause to comprehensively avoid exposure to electromagnetic radiation. Various studies say that some 20 ... 50% of people with MCS have some degree of EHS.
A detailed discussion of EHS, with numerous citations, is at the following address -
Dr. William J. Rea wrote one of the first medical papers defining EHS in 1991. He did several careful double blind studies with up to 100 people, carefully allowing for pre-existing illnesses, such as MCS, and then exposing them to the radiation from a coil about a foot from their feet. Frequencies ranging from 0.1 Hz to 5 Mhz were used. The responses included people who blacked out upon EMR exposures and had to be hospitalized! The paper came to the conclusion - "EMF sensitivity exists and can be elicited under environmentally controlled conditions."
Not surprisingly, Dr Rea's studies received criticism. But the most severe anyone could come up with was a "*possibility* that the coils produced audible cues" which confounded the results. [Emphasis added]
That criticism was picked up by the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) - which the FCC has contracted with to manage EMR regulations in America - and used to dismiss EHS as a health or social concern.
The scientific method calls for repeating studies which have "possibilities" of contaminated exposures or results until all pertinent variables are controlled. Why was that not done?
Another study, from Louisiana State University, that also validated EHS -
Dr. Andrew Marino and his colleagues at Louisiana State University have published a study proving the existence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity as an organic syndrome. They did a thorough medical workup on a subject (a female physician) who claimed to have EHS, and showed that she reacted within 100 seconds of being exposed to low-level pulsed electromagnetic fields with headache, muscle twitching, skipped heartbeats and other symptoms. This was a carefully designed double-blind test, repeated many times. Although the subject could not consciously perceive the field, her body reacted every time the field was turned on. This has been published in the International Journal of Neuroscience. The abstract is -
Dr. Marino worked for many years with the late Dr. Robert O. Becker, author of "The Body Electric," to elucidate some of the effects of electromagnetic field exposures on living organisms. His new study has come to the attention of the BBC News, which as a result is planning to do a story on electromagnetic sensitivity.
The following article discusses in considerable detail how to recognize many of the symptoms of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS).
Here are links, as of summer 2012, to recent papers about EMR population effects and current research on EHS
EHS is not formally recognized as a disability in America, but it has been recognized as an ADA protected disability in legal proceedings. But EHS is formally recognized as a disability in several European nations, and bills are pending to have it covered in the parliaments of others. Of interest, the Committee on the Environment in the Council of Europe has recommended a series of wide-ranging of measures about EMR exposure be enacted by all the nations in Europe, including -
"8.1.4 "Pay particular attention to "electrosensitive" people who suffer from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network;"
The full resolution is at the following address -
The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has called for a review of the FCC's current position on electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure safety standards. It turns out that the Government Accounting Office (GAO) had previously been asked by several congresspeople to investigate the area more that a year previously. The GAO report was "leaked" to the FCC before its release so the FCC could look good and claim they are concerned about this area.
The GAO report calls only for a very narrow study of "the human health effects of RF energy exposure from mobile phone use." What must be done is a comprehensive study of all exposures from all sources to the entire population. It must address protection and accomodation of special populations who suffer from health conditions that are directly and immediately affected by EMR exposure, such as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). It must address the several multi-system illnesses, such as Parkinson,'s that are reported to be affected by long-term EMR esposure. It must take into full account the extensive body of international research, such as the Bioinitiative Report, that says the current exposure standards are at least 10 to perhaps 100 times too high for the general population. It must take into account research, such as in Russia, that says the current exposure standards are as much as 1,000 times too high for the general population.
Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR) exposure is a pervasive and not at all intuitive subject to deal with. It has characteristics of frequency, intensity, modulation, transients, duration of exposure and especially several body characteristics such as genetics, EMR absorption, thermal conductivity, specific heat, dielectric constant, that all must be accounted for to really determine the biological effects of exposure. But what continues to emerge from scientific studies is that there are strong grounds to practice serious personal precautionary principle at all times. Here are links to some detailed discussions of this area and how to implement some protective measures.
EMR radiation intensity is measured with the unit of Gauss. Commonly encountered intensities are typically 1/1,000 of that or 1 milligauss. Research suggests biological effects begin to occur near three milligauss of AC magnetic field, one Kilovolt/meter of AC electric field, and 0.1 milliwatt/square centimeter of microwave power.
There are several variations in the commercially available Gauss meters to survey a living space. First, the meter should be able to measure fields down to 0.1 milligauss or less. The EMR field exists in three directions, X, Y and Z. Some meters, such as the single axis units, measure only one component at a time. So to get a full picture of the total field, a person must take three readings, one in each direction, and combine the readings in a mathematical formula. The triple axis meters measure all three directions with one reading and directly give a more realistic picture.
Another feature to check for is whether a Gauss meter is frequency weighted. The human body responds to a wider range of frequencies than the 60 hertz units used by many electricians, so a frequency weighted meter is preferable.
What is emerging is a general consensus that it is desirable to maintain a 24-hour living environment with a maximum exposure of less than 0.5 milligauss. In contrast, some federal agencies consider 3.0 milligauss to be safe. Sweden has adopted less than 1.0 milligauss as a safe level. Some Russian researchers are proposing 1/1,000 of a milligauss to be the maximum safe long-term exposure level.
April 21, 2012 has been declared EMR Action Day, aligning with Earth Day 2012, to protect the biological integrity of the natural world and all its inhabitants against unnatural Electromagnetic Radiation (EMR). The aim is to reduce harm from EMR for everyone on the planet and create a healthier life for everyone.
Here are many links to further information about electromagnetic hypersensitivity -
The Governor of Colorado, Bill Ritter, signed a proclamation recognizing May 2009 as Electromagnetic Sensitivity Awareness Month
The proclamation reads as follows -
People of all ages in Colorado and throughout the world have developed the illness of Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) as a result of global electromagnetic pollution; and electromagnetic sensitivity is a painful chronic illness of hypersensitive reactions to electromagnetic radiation for which there is no known cure; the symptoms of EMS include dermal changes, acute numbness, and tingling, dermatitis, flushing, headaches, heart disease, arrhythmia, muscular weakness, tinnitus, malaise, gastric problems, nausea, visual disturbances, severe neurological , respiratory, speech problems, and numerous other physiological symptoms; and Electromagnetic Sensitivity is recognized by the Americans with Disabiliites Act, the U.S. Access Board and numerous commissions; and this illness may be preventable though the reduction or avoidance of electromagnetic radiations, in both indoor and outdoor environments and by conducting further scientific research."
As of Summer of 2011, the current Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, signed a proclamation again recognizing May 2011 as Electromagnetic Sensitivity Awareness month. A copy of the statement is available at -
Print-ready copies of the proclamations for all states are available on MCS-America. Select the "Proclamations" Tab.
An application for the current governor of Colorado to sign a corresponding 2012 proclamation was submitted on January 22, 2012. No response was received; apparently the proclamation was never signed. A request to sign a 2013 proclamation was submitted on December 3, 2012. No response was received; apparently the proclamation was never signed. Information will be posted here when it is signed.Return to the top of this page
This is an article in the April 22, 2010 issue of a Boulder, Colorado, newspaper that covers some of the current concerns about the proliferation of electromagnetic radiation (EMR) exposure in our society. Of interest, the reporter interviews a researcher in Colorado Springs who has done wireless-industry funded research on the effects of low-level EMR exposure on biological systems. The interview reports that when he discovered that there were indeed significant biological effects at very low levels of EMR exposure, the sponsor, Motorola, cancelled the research.
From Electrical Sensitivity, by Louise Kosta,
Human Ecologist, Summer 2006, pages 18 ...
This article surveys recent developments in recognizing Electrical Hypersensitivity around the world.
The first section examines World Health studies that concluded Electrical Hypersensitivity is characterized by a variety of non-specific symptoms that differ from individual to individual. Sadly, a term term "Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance" was proposed to replace Electrical Hypersensitivity to hide the cause of the health aggravation. The study examines several provocation studies that claimed test subjects could not detect EMF exposure. The study reports that "the symptoms are certainly real and can vary widely in their severity."
The second section reviews a U.K. report by the Health Protection Agency. The report acknowledged that people can suffer severe physical reactions when exposed to electromagnetic fields. And that Electrical Hypersensitivity will be recognized as a "physical impairment."
The third section reviews a study published by the National Institute of Building Sciences, called Indoor Environmental Quality. The report includes "for people who are electromagnetically sensitive, the presence of cell phones and towers, portable telephones, computers, fluorescent lighting, unshielded transformers and wiring, battery rechargers, wireless devices, security and scanning equipment, microwave ovens, electric ranges, and numerous other electrical appliances can make a building inaccessible." The findings have been adoptd by the Access Board with recommendations that Electrical Hypersensitivity be considered for access to public places.
Here are other sources of more information -
Electrical Fields can Make You Sick!
Hypersensitivity to Electricity
International Journal of Grey Literature
National Institute of Building Sciences
NIOSH Factsheet, EMFs in the Workplace
Mobile Phones and Health
WHO Workshop on Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity
WHO 3 Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Project Factsheet
EMFs in the Workplace
Definition, Epidemiology and Management of Electrical Sensitivity
Review of Scientific Evidence for Limiting Exposures ...
Mobile Phones and Health
Evaluation of Risks from Electric and Magnetic Fields ...
Indoor Air Quality, 2005
Biological Effects of Power Frequency Electric and Magnetic Fields
The following book is recommended for coverage of many aspects of the electromagnetic fields issues -
The following is a list of consultants who perform EMF energy surveys and provide advice on managing electromagnetic fields.
On 27 May 2011, the Committee on the Environment in the Council of Europe unanimously passed a position paper on "The Potential Dangers of Electromagnetic Fields and Their Effect on the Environment." The paper refers to its past work on environment-related health hazards concerning the right to a healthy environment and now recommends immediate action by its member states to protect the public from the harmful effects of EMR sources, such as cell phones, WiFi, baby monitors and other wireless technologies.
Of especial interest are the General Terms recommendations -
8.1.1 "Take all reasonable measures to reduce exposure to electromagnetic fields, especially to radio frequencies from mobile phones, and particularly the exposure to children and young people who seem to be most at risk from head tumours;
8.1.2 "Reconsider the scientific basis for the present standards on exposure to electromagnetic fields set by the International Commission on Non-Ionising Radiation Protection, which have serious limitations, and apply ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Achievable) principles, covering both thermal effects and the athermic or biological effects of electromagnetic radiation;
8.1.3 "Put in place information and awareness-raising campaigns on the risks of potentially harmful long-term biological effects on the environment and human health, especially targeting children, teenagers and young people of reproductive age;
8.1.4 "Pay particular attention to "electrosensitive" people who suffer from a syndrome of intolerance to electromagnetic fields and introduce special measures to protect them, including the creation of wave-free areas not covered by the wireless network;
8.1.5 "In order to reduce costs, save energy, and protect the environment and human health, step up research on new types of antenna, mobile phone and DECT-type devices, and encourage research to develop telecommunication based on technologies which are just as efficient but whose effects are less negative on the environment and health."
On July 20, 2011, many points from the above resolution were introduced into the Belgian Parliament to recognize "electro-hypersensitivity" as an illness and a disability. Also, the resolution calls for a requirement that in public places, that zones be established that are free from WiFi, WiMAX, and cordless phone systems, where the use of portable telephones would be prohibited. The resolution also calls for courses about environmental illness to be included in the core curriculum of medical schools.
The text of the resolution, translated from the French, is -
Dirty Electricity (DE) is the wide range of higher frequency harmonics radiated into free space whenever any electrical current changes its pattern or waveform. This dirty electricity amounts to a needless waste of energy and can cause serious health aggravation to people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). The DE should be designed out of appliances.
DE is a serious problem for people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity, especially when it comes from computers. Some people regard some 10 ... 20 minutes of computer time, such as for internet connect, as their maximum DE exposure, with that exposure still leaving them sick for the rest of the day.
This section presents a collection of links to information about dirty electricity.
Also see the review of the book "Dirty Electricity"
Plans are underway to effectively microchip everyone in America. A provision was passed in 2005 tucked into one of the Iraq war spending bills to create a Real Id program which would have required all Americans to carry a high-tech national identification card that contained a microchip containing a wide variety of personal identification, such as Social Security number or whatever else is decreed in the name of "official purpose.".
The microchip is an electronic technology that contains a wide variety of information and transmits it in a radio signal upon interrogation from any nearby system. When the microchip is interrogated by aiming a radio beam at it, it automatically transmits your personal information. The interrogating radio beam can come from several feet away; there is apparently no regard about how much power would be used in that radio beam. Further, the microchip can be interrogated without the owner's knowledge even from a distance of several feet. Given the developing concerns about cell phones causing tumors and possibly cancer, this can be a serious and perhaps needless health hazard to everyone, on top of the invasion of privacy concerns.
Objections to this national identification card have apparently put the Real Id program aside for now. What has now surfaced are plans to require effectively the same Real Id microchip to be embedded in the driver's license of every American. The name for this variation is "Enhanced Driver's License" or "EDL."
Such a development would be very bad news for people with Electromagnetic Hyper Sensitivity (EHS) who cannot tolerate being exposed to any significant amount of radio power.
See the following site for more information on this development -
Television service in the United States is being changed over to a new format, called Digital Television (DTV). This is an area that may be of interest to people with electromagnetic sensitivities because of the mode and frequencies of the the revised television signals that are transmitted have been changed.
Previously, the television signals were transmitted in an analog mode. Which meant that the transmitter was continuously transmitting a sine wave at the frequency assigned to the channel. Channels were assigned numbers, 2...51 for all available channels. Frequencies were assigned as follows, with a 6 Mhz bandwidth for each channel:
Those allocations and frequencies may change with the advent of DTV. Channel numbers are now really virtual and physical. The virtual number is what you see displayed on the television screen and usually corresponds to the old channel numbers. The physical numbers are the channel number associated with the real frequency in the radio frequency spectrum where the information is being transmitted. And the virtual and physical numbers may or may not be the same. What this amounts to is that if you call a television station to find what frequencies they transit on, insist they give you the physical as well as virtual numbers and frequencies.
Some background about this changeover is that the DTV signal is in a highly compressed format that contains much more information than the previous television signal plus it is transmitted in a digital format instead of the previous analog format. Thus a wide band of radio frequencies have been opened up that can be sold to other services.
The digital format means that the transmitter is sending pulses instead of a continuous signal, with the pulse frequency at the new channel frequency. Further, even though the average power transmitted by the system may be about the same as previously, the peak power of the digital pulses may be considerably greater.
Thus there is a distinct possibility that the changed frequencies, changed peak transmitted power, and possibly assigning new or released frequencies to other uses may be problematic for people with electromagnetic hypersensitivities.
Further information is available at -
Concerns are being raised about the cumulative effects of transients or dirty electricity on the AC power lines upon human health. One source of such transients is the dimmer switches for tungsten, and now, CFL and LED, type lamps that have become common in the last several years.
A brief explanation of how these dimmer switches work is in order - they use a semiconductor element called a thyristor, which can be either a triac or a silicon controlled rectifier, to switch on the power to the load, such as a lamp, 120 times a second. At exactly what point in the AC power waveform the switching occurs determines just how much power goes to the load and thus giving the dimming action. These thyristors have the property that when they are switched on, they immediately - within a few millionths of a second - deliver the entire power to the load. Which in turn causes a short, but very intense, EMR transient 120 times a second. The EMR can be radiatied into space, or conducted along the power cables to be radiated somewhere else.
The biggest EMR transient is generated when the dimmer switch is set for delivering about half power to the lamp - the power being switched on during the peak point of the AC power waveform.
Thus to minimize the intensity of the transients, one should not set the dimmer in the range of half power to the lamp.
Another point worth keeping in mind about dimmers is that most incandescent or tungsten lamps do not begin to light up until some 10 ... 20 percent of their rated power is applied. Which means that even though the dimmer is set to "off," electrical power may still be flowing to the lamp. Which in turn still can generate some radio frequency transients. To really turn off a dimmer, it should be unplugged or switched off with a metal switch to stop the transients.
A few commercially available dimmers do physically turn off the circuit when they are turned off. Look for this type if you must use dimmers.
Further information on this area is available at the following -
The following are some EMR measurement consultants and suppliers of EMR management equipment.
Here are links to several search engines in case you wish to do more research from this page -
Follow the links below to learn more about RMEHA and Environmental Illness.