This questionnaire was completed by 250 electrohypersensitive (EHS) persons in the Netherlands over a 3-year period, who contacted the EHS Foundation on their own initiative. Self declared health problems were recorded along with the sources of electromagnetic fields (EMFs) –if known- that caused the health effects.
EHS occurs in most age groups, from teenager to 80-year olds
Most persons seeking help and advice are female
There are several factors -environmental as well as psychological- that modulate both onset and intensity of EHS symptoms
We found no specific EHS distress marker shared by all responders. Individuals develop their personal range of stress symptoms and complaints varied greatly. 70% of respondents suffered from chronic fatigue, headache, concentration problems and other psychosomatic ailments. Somatic problems included impaired vision, smell and hearing as well as skin problems and pains in joints ands muscles.
Several electrosensitives have a history of diseases ruining body or mind and many are influenced by environmental factors such as odours, UV light, pollen, and allergens. Some report a burnout, posttraumatic stress disorder or similar environment and emotion-related disabling condition.
EMF sources reported to cause or maintain EHS symptoms vary greatly. No specific source is mention by all persons, although the use of household equipment such as Dect phones, WiFi, TV, PC and most other modern electronic systems induced problems with at least half of the respondents. The incidence appears to increaseduring last year. External EMF sources such as GSM/UMTS and TETRA Base stations played a minor role. AC magnetic fields emitted by underground electricity cables were recognized as a new source of concern.
Living in an apartment with several neighbours is a risk factor due to EMFs travelling through wall and floors
Three-quarter of the respondents have sought conventional medical advice, usually with little success. Half of the respondents visited alternative practitioners, also with little satisfaction. Ten percent of them claim to have recovered fully whereas 42% report being only moderately healthy, although they still needed help with EMF reduction.
38% of the respondents are still at work and maintain a partial of full time position
Most respondents consider themselves to have an emotional character.
Some report that other members of the family also show sign of EHS, indicating that there is some sort of hereditary factor involved in acquiring the oversensitivity for EMFs.
It is speculated that the personal stress system is a key factor determining how health problems are perceived and dealt with.
It is argued that provocation experiments should be designed such that personal differences in EMF perception and nature of health effects should be taken into account.