Electromagnetic hypersensitivity

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Electromagnetic hypersensitivity disorder — people who believe they have sensitivity to electronic devices claim that electronic signals from WiFi, cellphones and even television can cause them to experience headaches, fatigue and even heart palpitations. […] The symptoms you experience with electromagnetic hypersensitivity are identical to the symptoms of anxiety and stress. […] Over 46 studies were reviewed in 2009 in the Journal of Bioelectromagnetics, and they found that people who were exposed to electromagnetic signals were unable to determine when the devices were turned on or off. Bad hypothesis — should've used Occam's Razor.
Maddox, How to tell if you believe in bullshit[1]

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS for short) is a self-diagnosed[2] "medical condition" caused by a supposed "sensitivity" to the harmless radiation emitted by some or all electronic devices – sometimes even light bulbs. The symptoms are in reality not a result of a "disorder", but of the nocebo effect.

ES is claimed to present itself either directly in the patient as some unspecific form of nausea or tingling (or some other vague fever symptom), or — more asymptomatically — as an alleged long-term cancer hazard.

The electromagnetic radiation in question, however, is exclusively non-ionizing (read: unable to cause cancer), and unable to cause physical discomfort or stress.[3]

ES is surrounded by the usual hysteria founded on an inability to understand that radiation spans a spectrum from the harmless (domestic electrical power), through the benign (infra-red), through the not-so-benign (ultra-violet or UV), all the way up to the downright scary (gamma).


While some forms of electromagnetic radiation do cause sickness (e.g. UV from the Sun causes sunburn, and potentially skin cancer), this "medical" condition is only related to modern electronics, such as power lines or wireless devices. Incidents include:

  • Early studies made claims that power lines and other electromagnetic radiation doubled the rate of leukemia.[4] However, this was not confirmed under proper analysis.[5]
  • A man named Per Segerbäck claimed to suffer from electromagnetic sensitivity from cell phones. Phones that are making a call, receiving a call, or searching for a signal supposedly trigger the sensitivity, while an idle phone does not.[6]
  • Cell phones are generally claimed to increase the chance of brain tumors. However, no link was discovered.[7] Cell phones may still cause other health issues, most commonly hearing loss as some individuals find the need to yell in their phone to communicate.
  • A cell phone tower was erected on August 12, 2009 in the Fourways Memorial Park in Craigavon, South Africa. Residents of Craigavon complained about radiation from the tower causing headaches, rashes, and other issues, despite the tower being turned off during the time the alleged symptoms took place.[8] The residents still wanted to get the tower removed, citing environmental concerns and public participation issues.

The not at all loony[9] "Citizens for Safe Technology"[10] tried to get a court ruling preventing the use of incredibly dangerous[11] wireless smart meters in British Columbia, Canada.[12] They lost,[13] and lost again on appeal.[14] But apparently they are still working on a class action suit for the damage caused by something they can't detect and for which there is absolutely no credible evidence.[15] Apparently they demand the right to live as they please, though for some reason they have not yet spotted that there is no law forcing them to have electricity in their homes[16] (or to live in modern towns and cities at all).

They should all be dead[edit]

The ultimate problem with the argument for electromagnetic hypersensitivity as an actual illness is that if it were an actual condition, people suffering from the condition would have died long ago, or be in constant pain. The civilized parts of the world are blanketed with electromagnetic signals from radio and satellite signal transmissions. Between AM/FM broadcasts, ham radio transmissions, C-, Ka- and Ku-band transmissions for television and satellite internet signal, GSM and CDMA cellular transmissions, GPS signals, and any manner of private or government signals, most of them significantly stronger than the signals produced by individual cell phones or WiFi endpoints, people with electromagnetic hypersensitivity would be unable to leave their own yards, let alone their own houses, without writhing in hideous agony.

Then there is the curious fact that many people claiming to suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity underwent diagnostic MRI procedures without any problems. In other words, they claim that electromagnetic fields in the milliwatt range cause all sorts of symptoms, yet at the same time they appear to be totally insensitive to electromagnetic pulses in the kilowatt range from an MRI device.

Additionally, electrical devices in general, including DC devices such as flashlights and kids' toys and AC devices that plug straight into the wall, and even the wiring in the walls, give off electromagnetic radiation, no matter how strong the shielding on the cables might be.


The "proper" treatment for EHS is to live isolated from society, become Amish, build a Faraday cage within your house, wear a tinfoil hat, or a combination of these treatments. However, the cheapest option is to be a rational person and visit a doctor to find out what's actually causing your symptoms.

Some people say that when properly tested, those claiming electromagnetic hypersensitivity are unable to tell whether the evil device is actually transmitting or not. This is funny (a) mischievous and (b) entirely true.[citation needed]

In a nutshell[edit]

Actual radio device precautions[edit]

Although cases of "electromagnetic hypersensitivity" are bogus, precautions should still be taken when using radio devices. When using higher-powered radio devices, such as some base-station radios with several tens or hundreds of watts of transmission power, the antenna should not be positioned too close to one's body, as the excess electromagnetic radiation may cause the body to heat up and cause RF burns.[17] Radio devices that are used should be approved by Industry Canada, the FCC, or another regulatory body. Additionally, one should never attempt to defeat the safety interlocks on a microwave oven and operate it with the door open.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

  • ElectroSensitivity UK, "to help those who have become sensitive"
  • Prove-It, who wants a moratorium on all new public wireless technologies until they're "proven" to cause no harm
  • Best EMF Health, run by someone who claims EMF gave them six different cancers, and who now hawks "LifeWave patches".


  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oVnuFY20st0
  2. As in: unrecognized-by modern, evidence-based medicine as a physical illness. It is recognized by psychiatry as a form of delusion, however.
  3. In all modern electronics, the radiation used is the non-ionizing radio frequency radiation, rather than the ionizing alpha, beta and gamma particles emitted from radioactive isotopes.
  4. http://www.i-sis.org.uk/FOI1.php
  5. http://www.lbl.gov/Science-Articles/Archive/electromagnetic-fields-and-cancer.html
  6. http://www.popsci.com/science/article/2010-02/disconnected
  7. http://www.smh.com.au/digital-life/mobiles/no-tumour-link-to-mobile-phones-says-study-20091204-kaqs.html
  8. Massive revelation in iBurst tower battle
  9. The crank science behind "electro sensitivity" Among The Truthers, Jonathan Kay
  10. Citizens for Safe Technology (except for devices which emit microwave and WiFi signals, which are provably safe but not "Safe™")
  11. Smart meters are about as dangerous as … The Conversation
  12. Group seeks smart meter ban, Vernon Morning Star, 30 March 2012
  13. British Columbia Utilities Commission
  14. B.C.'s high court unplugs smart meter appeal, Surrey Leader, 14 November 2012
  15. Citizens for Safe™ Technology
  16. Citizens For Safe Technology Is One Step Closer To Filing A Class Action Lawsuit About Smart Meters, Canadian Awareness Network (tinfoil hat required, this is a health fooldom site).
  17. https://www.fcc.gov/engineering-technology/electromagnetic-compatibility-division/radio-frequency-safety/faq/rf-safety