What is an environmental sensitivity?

Some people are sensitive to peanuts or shell fish. Others are unable to digest milk or gluten and still others respond to pollen or mold. Our society accepts these sensitivities and takes steps to minimize any harm by placing warnings on packages, by making schools peanut-free, by giving pollen counts as part of the weather report. Electro-hyper-sensitivity is just another one of these sensitivities that requires our immediate attention because levels of exposure are escalating with no regard for those who may be or may become sensitive.

According to the Canadian Human Rights Commission report written (Margaret E. Sears 2007, The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities):  Approximately 3% of Canadians have been diagnosed with environmental sensitivities. They usually experience neurological impairments, and often experience other symptoms including runny eyes and nose, headaches, fatigue, pain and breathing and digestive problems. Environmental sensitivities may develop gradually after chronic exposure to relatively low levels of chemicals as seen in “sick buildings,” or suddenly after a major exposure to an environmental disaster or a chemical spill. This condition may be initiated by one or a combination of environmental factors such as mould, pesticides, solvents, chemicals off-gassing from carpets or furnishings, or electromagnetic phenomena.  Those who suffer from EHS also often suffer from multiple chemical sensitivity as well.

What is EHS?

Electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is an environmentally-induced disability that has been around for the past 100 plus years. It has gone by different names including neurasthenia (weakening of the nervous system); microwave sickness, radio wave illness, screen dermatitis, electromagnetic sensitivity, as well as idiopathic environmental intolerance.  Some call it rapid aging syndrome as this represents the symptoms most people experience who are sensitive to electromagnetic frequencies.  For more information read the book, Electromagnetic-Sensitivity and Electromagnetic-Hypersensitivity, by Michael Bevington (2010).  For those wishing to see the studies on EHS, get the 4th edition (2018) that has more than 2000 references documenting the biological effects of EMF/EMR exposure.

Symptoms include some combination of sleep disturbances; chronic fatigue; chronic pain including migraine headaches; poor short-term memory; difficulty concentrating that some people describe as a “foggy brain;” mood disorders like depression and anxiety; skin problems; dizziness; loss of appetite; movement difficulties; visual problems; tinnitus; frequent night-time urination including bedwetting among children; heart palpitation; difficulty regulating blood sugar levels; nose bleeds; asthma; cold extremities; reproductive problems; among other symptoms.  Those who are sensitive develop these symptoms at levels well below international accepted guidelines.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes EHS and states the following:

“. . . a phenomenon where individuals experience adverse health effects while using or being in the vicinity of devices emanating electric, magnetic, or electromagnetic fields (EMFs).”

“ . . .  EHS is a real and sometimes a debilitating problem for the affected persons . . . Their exposures are generally several orders of magnitude under the limits in internationally accepted standards.”

The WHO recommends that EHS be called, idiopathic environmental intolerance, with “idiopathic” meaning the cause is unknown.  For more information about the “cause” of EHS go to “What causes EHS?” at this website.

“The WHO recommends that people reporting sensitivities receive a comprehensive health evaluation. . . . Some studies suggest that certain physiological responses of EHS individuals tend to be outside the normal range. In particular, hyperactivity in the central nervous system and imbalance in the autonomic nervous system need to be followed up in clinical investigations and the results for the individuals taken as input for possible treatment.”


EHS is a physiological response to electromagnetic frequencies and is not psychosomatic!

When doctors have difficulty diagnosing someone with a novel health condition or a condition with which they are unfamiliar, they often resort to a diagnosis that it is psychosomatic, meaning that it is due to mental factors such as stress or anxiety.  The mind is very powerful and can alter the physical state of individuals.  That is why scientific studies are blinded, meaning that the test subject does not know whether they are exposed to the treatment or a placebo.  This was the case with fibromyalgia, which is now accepted as a physiological disorder.  According to the Mayo Clinic, fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

Doctors unfamiliar with EHS may classify the symptoms as being psychosomatic.  However, there is now an international classification for this disorder that comes under the W90.0 (exposure to radio frequency) and W90.8 (exposure to other non-ionizing radiation).  We encourage doctors to read the EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses for more information.  Click here for a pdf document.

New International Classification of Diseases for RFR and other forms of non-ionizing radiation

W 90.0   Exposure to radiofrequency
W 90.8   Exposure to other non ionizing radiation

Click here for the website.


Click here to find out how many people suffer from EHS?