Introduction to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS)
By Rohini Peris
ASEQ-EHAQ is contacted regularly by people who suffer from electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). Similar symptoms are reported by people of all ages from Quebec, and from across Canada, on exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMF).
The stories reported to us have common themes. For instance, it is a common occurrence that sufferers are sent for psychiatric evaluation and counseling because most doctors do not understand the condition. This course of action does not resolve the condition and often leads to a lack of self-esteem and a feeling of helplessness and hopelessness for the afflicted persons. Medications are sometimes prescribed, which may somewhat dull the symptoms, but the physical problems persist on exposure to electromagnetic fields.
Often, due to a lack of proper diagnosis, support and care, family and friends doubt the sufferer and are unwilling to provide required accommodation. In addition, unless accommodation is provided in the workplace, the sufferer finds it increasingly hard to function and work, and this often leads to increased sick days, non-productivity and discord with the employer; the end result of which is unemployment. With no earnings and limited income, life becomes increasingly hard. The sufferer is unable to afford specialized equipment or changes within its living accommodations in order to avoid exposures and maintain good health.
Life takes on a downward spiral as the sufferer becomes ostracized from society – unable to work, visit places and carry out the activities that they loved doing, or maintain meaningful relationships with family and friends.
As early as 2006, Dr. Olle Johansson, Associate Professor, Karolinska Institute, Department of Neuroscience, Experimental Dermatology Unit, Stockhold, Sweden, stated that : “In Sweden, electro[magnetic] hypersensitivity (EMS [now EHS]) is an officially fully recognized functional impairment (i.e., it is not regarded as a disease).” According to Dr. Johansson, out of a population, at the time, of nine million, between 230,000 and 290,000 Swedes reported a variety of symptoms when ‘in contact’ with electromagnetic field (EMF) sources.
“In Sweden, impairments are viewed from the point of the environment. No human being is in itself impaired, there are instead shortcomings in the environment that cause the impairment (as the lack of ramps for the person in a wheelchair, or rooms not electro sanitized for the person with electro[magnetic] hypersensitivity). This environment-related impairment view, furthermore, means that (…) the person with electro[magnetic] hypersensitivity shall always be met in a respectful way and with all necessary support with the goal to eliminate the impairment. This implies that the person with electro[magnetic] hypersensitivity shall have the opportunity to live and work in an electro sanitized environment.”
From this medical standpoint, it is to be expected that Swedish citizens suffering in this manner are accommodated, supported and respected.
What are Electromagnetic Fields?
Electromagnetic fields (EMF), a combination of electrical and magnetic fields, are not visible. Electrical fields are the result of a difference in electrical potential (this can result in electrical shocks), while magnetic fields are associated with moving charges (i.e. an electrical current). They are envisioned as lines of force associated with electrical installations/equipment and wireless technology.
Several sources can cause exposure to EMF, including working or living close to cellphone antennas or high-tension electrical transmission towers/lines, being in contact with or near wireless transmitting devices (WTD) – such as cellphones and Wi-Fi, electrical panels or wiring (sometimes faulty), most electrical heating floors, using computers or electrical appliances (including electric blankets), and many other electric tools and gadgets. However, scientific evidence has been accumulating over the past decades and is now emerging, that these EMF are detrimental to human health, in many ways… (e.g.: EEA, 2007; Miller et al., 2019).
Our website carries information from various sources on electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS). We have included, first and foremost, solutions for affected individuals, but also references and resources – links, articles, books and videos. Often, people who suffer from this condition cannot sit in front of a computer without getting ill and sometimes disabled. If you know of someone with this condition, please refer them to our website or print out information that they can read, and/or have them contact us for help.