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.”

What Causes EHS?  EHS Precursors:

While there are multiple causes of EHS, common precursors of EHS include:

  1. physical trauma to the central nervous system, such as concussion or whiplash.
  2. chemical trauma in the form of exposure to toxins including but not limited to drugs, pesticides, metals especially mercury and other neurotoxins.
  3. biological trauma in for the form of lyme disease; fungal toxins; high parasite loads; etc.
  4. electrical trauma in the form of multiple shocks, short-term exposure to high levels of electromagnetic pollution (electrosmog), chronic exposure to moderate or low levels of electrosmog, and lightning strikes. 
  5. an impaired immune system as a result of cancer treatments, biological implants, lupus or AIDs or a poorly developed immune system in the very young and elderly.


Are you Electro Hyper Sensitive?

Individuals from around the world that have come to realize that our body is bio-electric and thus is sensitive to the negative effects from over-exposures to electromagnetic fields from our modern technology. Here in these pages, we share information and resources on how to live safely in this ever expanding wireless world.

To begin your journey of discovery, we invite you to download our free introductory copy of Rewire Me eMagazine to gain an understanding of some of the challenges we face as a modern society that has lost its connection to nature while in pursuit of the modern telecommunication conveniences that connect us to each other. We realize that this technology brings great benefits to mankind but it needs to be used in moderation so our bodies can recover.  Just like we need to escape the smog of the big cities and venture into the fresh air of public parks, we need to escape the unseen electrosmog that is absorbed into our body. It’s important to take a digital detox and reconnect to nature on a regular basis.

Are you Electrosensitive?

Do you get headaches when you talk on your cell phone? Do your ears ring after using wireless headsets.  When you put your cellphone on the desk – have you ever experienced a vibration in the pocket where you keep your phone?  You may have become electrosensitive.  Many people experience this phantom ring.  It’s not serious and will often go away when you reduce the use of your phone.

Some people become electrohypersensitive – EHS – and in this case, they become so sensitive to electromagnetic fields they cannot function in society. Working behind a computer becomes impossible. A trip to a coffee shop with free WiFi becomes a challenge. They are often misdiagnosed as having fibromyalgia or other neurological conditions and are prescribed medication. When your electrosensitive symptoms turn into a major neurological disorder, it’s extremely difficult to function in society and you need to seek specialized medical attention from doctors that have been trained to reduce environmental toxins and viral loads in the body that weaken the immune system.

In North America, most doctors are unaware of how to recognize and treat EHS.. There are countries in Europe  that recognize EHS as a disability and provide medical services to their population.  Doctors in North America who want to specialize in treating EHS patients often travel to Germany, Austria or Switzerland where they can take courses on environmental medicine.

If you or someone you know feels that they have become electrosensitive from over-exposure to electromagnetic fields and require help, we have produced an interactive questionnaire using guidelines from the Austrian Medical Association. Use them as a starting point and reference materials as you seek professional treatment from doctors that are local to you. The more you can learn and understand how your environment is effecting you, the faster you will be on the road to recovery.

From the guideline of the Austrian Medical Association for the diagnosis and treatment of EMF related health problems and illnesses (EMF syndrome)

There has been a sharp rise in unspecific, often stress-associated health problems that increasingly present physicians with the challenge of complex differential diagnosis. A cause that has been accorded little attention so far is electrosmog exposure at home, at work and during leisure activities.  This electro smog creates stress for the body and combined with chronic stress in personal and working life it can lead to burnout.

How can physicians respond to this development? The Austrian Medical Association has developed a guideline for differential diagnosis and potential treatment of unspecific stress-related health problems associated with electrosmog. Its core element is a patient questionnaire consisting of a general assessment of stress symptoms and a specific assessment of electrosmog exposure.

This guideline is intended as an aid in diagnosing and treating EMF-related health problems. Fill out this questionnaire and then provide it to a specialist in your area that can help you to determine if you are electrosensitive.  An electromagnetic survey of your home may be needed to determine if you need to make changes to reduce your exposures to electrosmog.

Click Here to download the interactive form.

Click Here for a Clinical Approach to Electrohypersensitivity by Physicians for Safe Technology


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.


The History of EHS and EMF Syndrome

LI-MICALLEF-SEPT4 Front page with a sketch of a strike brouhaha outside Temperance St. from February 1, 1907,
photo of telephone operators from the City of Toronto archives.
Uploaded by: robertson kate

Electromagnetic Field Syndrome is not a new disability. It’s just become more common because of the ubiquity of our addiction to wireless technology. It’s also known as EHS which stands for Electro-Hyper Sensitivity.

The term “radio wave sickness” was first used by Russian doctors to describe an occupational illness developed by large numbers of workers who were exposed to microwave or radiofrequency radiation.

The symptoms were called “neurasthenic.” “Neurasthenia” was an older term for this group of symptoms, which was coined by an American physician, George Beard, in 1868, to describe a new type of illness that followed the building of the railroads and the telegraph system in this country. It was commonly called the “disease of civilization.” The illness was particularly common among telegraph line installers, and then later among telephone switchboard operators who were exposed to great amounts of electricity in their occupation.

In 1906, the Toronto telephone switchboard operators went on strike because of the mysterious neurasthenic symptoms that they were suffering from. A commission was set up to study the illness and the findings falsely reported that the operators were effected by the flashing lights and over work.  It’s a fascinating look into the beginnings of this “disease of civilization” that involved the use of electricity.

Click Here to read the historical report

The most serious cases of neurasthenia were sent to mental sanatoriums in the countryside to rehabilitate. Here the sunshine, fresh air and the absence of electromagnetic fields allowed the operators to recover. The term “neurasthenia” is listed in the WHO as a medical condition but fell out of fashion in the twentieth century in North America, when this cluster of symptoms, or a large number of them, began to be referred to as “anxiety” symptoms, presumably of purely psychological origin.

With the introduction of microwave technology that was used in radar, the symptoms started to show up in military installations. In the 1980’s, wireless telephones, computers and cell phone technology brought neurasthenic symptoms into the public’s homes and offices.

Today, with the saturation of wireless technology throughout most major cities, in cars and in the home, it’s hard to escape the constant exposure to the radio waves that are used in the telecommunication industry.

All people are effected by the radio waves that these devices emit. Many do not experience the almost immediate symptoms some people experience such as ringing in the ears, headaches, rashes, nervousness etc. Studies on subjects that report they are electrosensitive fail because they can’t immediately differentiate if the electromagnetic field is tuned on or off.  This is because the effects they experience are not immediate and take time to manifest, and then when they do, they can remain for several hours after exposure.

People that don’t experience the immediate effects of over exposures to wireless electricity often complain of pains that move around the body, poor sleep, loss of memory, brain fog and depression. When they take extended vacations and go camping, they notice that the symptoms gradually diminish and attribute it to the fresh air. After the vacation has ended, the symptoms often return and they chock it up to stress at work.

The main problem that we all need to be concerned with is when this chronic stress turns into a serious disease that effects the arteries, organs and bones which leads to a chronic condition that becomes difficult to repair. The best method to live a long healthy life is to recognize the symptoms that doctors often misdiagnose and make changes to your environment, diet and lifestyle.

Most doctors that specialize in treating electrosensitive patients believe that there are other underlying conditions in the patient such as metal or chemical toxicity, viruses, parasites and weak immune systems that become overstimulated when exposed to chronic wireless electricity.  By removing these offenders that are inside the body and relocating the patient to live in an environment closer to nature – the patient will often recover and can eventually return to a more balanced lifestyle that combines the safe use of technology and regular ventures into nature.

Click here to access more historical documents (Zory archives)

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