Perceived hypersensitivity: Anecdotal versus objective evidence



Publication Details

Verrender, A., Dalecki, A., Loughran, S. P. & Croft, R. J. (2017). Perceived hypersensitivity: Anecdotal versus objective evidence. In A. W. Wood & K. Karipidis (Eds.), Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection: Summary of Research and Policy Options (pp. 365-383). Hoboken, United States: John Wiley and Sons.


This chapter explores the anecdotal and objective evidence regarding perceived sensitivity to electromagnetic field (EMF). It first discusses the history and prevalence of electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) and provides a brief overview of the symptoms that have been anecdotally reported to be caused by EMF exposure. The chapter then reviews some of the treatments and interventions offered to EHS sufferers. In 2004, the World Health Organization (WHO) proposed that the term idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to EMFs (IEI‐EMF) be used in place of EHS, in order to avoid implying a causal role of EMF in producing the reported symptoms. While epidemiological studies attempt to bridge the gap between the anecdotal reports of IEI‐EMF and the controlled laboratory studies investigating the causal role of EMF exposure in producing the reported symptoms, these studies face serious methodological limitations, especially in regards to exposure characterization.

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