also known as electrosensitivity, electric hypersensitivity
, electrical hypersensitivity
Electrical Hypersensitivity is a fairly new phenomenon, the first cases and discussions came to public knowledge in the early seventies. There has been lot of debate about it recently, especially in United Kingdom and Sweden. A great majority of scientific studies indicate that electromagnetic fields (EMF) or low frequency electromagnetic radiation cannot cause adverse health effects. However, there are many people around the world who have reported various symptoms caused by EMF. Some studies have found a link between EMF and symptoms. At the moment World Health Organization (WHO) courages to carry on studies but doesn't acknowledge EMF as a health risk. But on the other hand, International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARP) has categorized EMF as possibly carcinogenic to humans. Thus EMF falls under the same category as coffee and nickel.
There are various symptoms for electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The first signs of electrical hypersensitivity are often experienced as a minor irritation when working with computer monitors and television sets. A frequent symptom is that of warmth or a burning sensation in the face, not unlike a strong sunburn. Some people develop a reddish skin blemish or rash at the same time. These can also be accompanied by a tingling sensations in the skin, both facially and/or over other parts of the body. Many people claim they can sense weak electromagnetic fields like ones generated by a mobile phone. WHO Director-General, Gro Harlem Brundtland is one of those people. She is getting headaches every time she's using a mobile phone. It is true that very strong magnetic fields can be observed by humans but not a single studied has shown that weak EMFs can be observed.
Those who suffer most from electromagnetic fields have done their best to avoid them which is very difficult in modern society. In Sweden electromagnetic hypersensitivity is acknowledged as a medical illness and you are allowed to compensation. In majority of countries this is not the case and if you suffer from electrohypersensitivity you're going to lead an extremely complicated life.
As we can see from the (short) list of symptoms, they are not really specific to electromagnetic hypersensitivity. So, it's not a wonder that many scientists believe that those who say they suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity, their symptoms are psychosomatic. Their symptoms may be real but there could be something else than EMF behind the symptoms. Scientific knowledge of the day would back their view up. However, the phenomenon is so complicated and linked with other agents like fire retardents and some toxic mixtures that we cannot yet ignore the problem.