Background Information about Electrical Sensitivity...

By Michael R Neuert  © 2012

Personally, I have worked with many hundreds of individuals who have reported serious health symptoms and sensitivities to electromagnetic fields (EMFs).  The following information is based on my professional but anecdotal experience with sensitive clients over the last 20 years.

Note: While well over a thousand studies have reported serious health effects from EMFs, these health concerns are still not generally recognized by the medical community.  Sweden and parts of Europe have taken some steps to provide special care for electro-sensitive individuals, but these health concerns are still largely unrecognized in the US at this time.  Please search for the most up-to-date research information and inquire with the health care professionals of your own choice for further assistance.

  • Symptoms of Electromagnetic Sensitivity:

    A variety of troubling symptoms are being reported by people with serious health issues related to EMFs that are sometimes referred to as "Electrical Sensitivity" (ES), "Electrosensitivity" or "Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity" (EHS), and other similar terms.  Common symptoms include sleep problems, headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, mental confusion, memory problems, burning or itching skin sensations, loud ringing in the ears and tinnitus, increased heart rate and/or blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, seizures, feeling electrically shoced, and other problems.
  • Who is Electro-Sensitive?

    If you feel better when you are out in nature, or when you turn off the electricity in your house, or when you get away from or turn off various EMF sources, you are probably electro-sensitive.  If you feel worse and have symptoms around cell phones, computers, Wi-Fi, fluorescent lights and other electrical devices, you may be sensitive to electromagnetic fields.  From the studies done so far, somewhere between 2% to 5% of the general population in most countries will report having serious health issues with electromagnetic sensitivity.  It appears that a larger percentage of the population may actually be affected by electromagnetic fields, but are unaware of EMFs as a potential cause for some of their health problems.
  • EMF Sensitivity Varies Greatly:

    One individual may be very sensitive to the electric fields from wiring near their bed, while another person may have problems with the magnetic fields from a power line, and yet another may be obviously ill from the radio frequency fields emitted by a wireless Wi-Fi router or cordless phone.  It is always an individual matter, and sensitivities will vary greatly from one person to another.  However in the majority of cases, most sensitive people ultimately discover that they are affected by all three kinds of EMF.  Sometimes it was one particular type of EMF or source of EMF that finally "broke their camel's back" or "put them over the edge" so to speak.  I usually assume that most people are sensitive to all three kinds of EMF, and thus need to reduce all three to relieve their symptoms — magnetic fields, electric fields, and radio frequency fields.
  • What is the Safe Level of ELF Magnetic Fields?

    People can be sensitive at relatively low exposure levels.  A typical ES client of mine might have symptoms with ELF magnetic fields as low as only 0.2 or 0.3 milligauss (mG).  Since the “average” home is usually around 0.5 to 1.0 milligauss or more, a sensitive individual may need to reduce their own home exposure to much less than the “average” level, probably down to 0.1 mG or less.  (Note: Sensitive people also need to take extra care to avoid the VLF magnetic fields emitted from fluorescent lights, televisions and computers — probably down to levels of 0.01 mG or less.)
  • What is the Safe Level of Electric Fields?

    When people are sensitive to electric fields, they often need to reduce their exposure to less than 0.1 Volt AC (body voltage measurement on the skin) to relieve their symptoms.  So again, sensitive people may need to reduce their own exposure down to much less than found in the “average” home, which is usually between 0.5 to 3.0 Volts AC on the skin.  Again, this is an individual matter.
  • What is the Safe Level of Radio Frequency Fields and Microwave Radiation?:

    Some people report serious symptoms from relatively low-level RF/microwave fields, especially from the pulsed digital type of signals commonly used today with most wireless devices.  For EMF-sensitive individuals, we usually need to reduce the peak (not average) RF levels down to at least 0.001 microwatts per centimeter squared.  But with the increasing use of complex RF signals for digital systems such as 4G cell phones and DECT cordless phones, many sensitive people are now having symptoms even at this relatively low exposure level, and are needing to reduce levels much further, often to less than 0.00001 microwatts per centimeter squared.
  • General Advice to Relieve Symptoms of EMF Sensitivity:

    My usual advice is to reduce all of the EMF exposures as much as possible, but with special emphasis on the bedroom.  Sleep time is the recovery period for the body and the most important time for the immune system.  Studies suggest that EMFs may reduce the natural secretion of melatonin at night.  Lowered melatonin has been linked to suppression of immune function, increased risk for several cancers, and also depression and psychological disorders.  It is also important to completely remove all wireless devices, unplug all unneeded electrical cords and devices, and if possible, test to determine which electrical circuits are causing any electric fields in the bedroom and turn off these circuits at night.  Also, because more and more consumer devices are coming with built-in wireless, it is recommended to test with an RF detection meter to be sure that there are no unknown wireless sources remaining in the house.
  • Definition of Electromagnetic Sensitivity:

    Generally it is assumed that if the symptoms can be relieved by simply turning off the EMF source for a while, or getting away from the EMFs for a long enough time, then the individual is probably sensitive to electromagnetic fields.  One way to check for sensitivity is to spend enough time in an environment with much lower EMFs, or turn off all the electricity in the house for an entire day and night, and see if the symptoms decrease.  For example, some people will notice a big improvement when out in nature or at a remote beach, or with their wireless router turned off and all cordless phones unplugged, or when staying overnight at a different home, etc.  But remember that most sensitive people (depending on their health) will experience a significant delay in time before their nervous system will recover and their symptoms lessen — often from several hours to several days.  Another verification is that the symptoms return again whenever the EMF exposures are reintroduced.
  • Safe Location:

    Unfortunately, today it can be difficult to find a truly safe location with few electrical and/or wireless sources nearby, because there is so much electromagnetic pollution in the modern world.  In extreme cases, some individuals have needed to move to very remote locations and live with little or no electricity.  In other cases, the wiring, lights and appliances can be shielded, or turned off, to reduce the levels adequately.  In almost all cases, it is extremely important that all wireless RF devices are removed from the home, including cordless phones and wireless routers.  It is surprising how many electronic devices have wireless emissions, even unexpected sources like stereo equipment and TVs.
  • Further Assistance:

    For further assistance, please call our office at 1-800-638-3781.  Throughout the US, we can provide test meters for you to self-test, and telephone consultations with Michael to help guide you.  In northern California, we can assist you with either on-site testing or a phone consultation.