Dariusz Leszczynski‘s review article “The lack of international and national health policies to protect persons with self-declared electromagnetic hypersensitivity” has been just accepted for publication in the ‘Reviews on Environmental Health‘. The article reviews the current, very limited, evidence of EHS health policies. The review has taken into consideration opinions on EHS and on EHS public health policies published by: WHO, ICNIRP, IEEE-ICES, EUROPAEM, ICEMS, BioInitiative, GSMA, MWF, European Union, Nordic Countries, and governments of 17 selected countries: , Australia, Belgium, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, UK, and USA.
As far as the author of the review is aware, it is the first, so comprehensive collection of information about EHS health policies of different organizations and countries. Hence, it is hoped and expected to bring attention to the EHS health policy issue.
Here is the abstract of the article and a few selected quotes:
“Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), known also as an idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) or a microwave sickness, is not considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) as being caused by the exposures to electromagnetic fields (EMF). EHS is not recognized as a disease anywhere in the world. Some studies have roughly estimated that 1-10% of the population might experience some form of EHS. However, because of the lack of diagnostic criteria for EHS, these estimates might be either under- or over-estimates. Because the vast majority of human population is exposed to EMF, the possibility of developing EHS from the EMF is a substantial public health issue that should be dealt with globally, even if the individual risk of developing EHS might be small. The WHO recognizes that the symptoms experienced by the EHS persons might be severe and might significantly hamper everyday life. However, after a broad analysis of international and national documents, there seems to be currently no effort to develop health policies for the dealing with EHS, no matter what causes it. National governments, follow the opinions of the WHO and the EMF safety standards setting organizations, the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety (IEEE-ICES), are not developing any practical health policy advisories for self-declared EHS sufferers. However, symptoms experienced by the self-declared EHS persons affect their well-being and, according to the Constitution of the WHO, are a health problem. Hence, independently of what causes EHS symptoms, this admitted well-being-impairment should be dealt with globally by developing an uniform health policy. Furthermore, WHO, ICNIRP and IEEE-ICES should be advocating and supporting research that would generate a reliable scientific evidence on what are the possible cause(s) of EHS. Without such research there is not possible to develop diagnostic methods as well as any possible mitigation approaches. There is an urgent need for the WHO to advocate for the national governments to urgently develop a comprehensive and common EHS health policy.”
- Selected quotes
“Collectively, as pointed out in the reviews of EHS studies, majority of the research is of low quality and, while the studies have concluded/indicated a lack of causality link between the EHS (IEI-EMF) symptoms and exposures to EMF, the reliability of such conclusion is low because of the low scientific quality of the majority of the EHS studies.”
“…already now, the symptoms of suffering by the self-declared EHS persons are ‘health effects’ as per WHO Constitution. Furthermore, it means that the existing man-made RF-EMF emitting devices and exposures emitted by these, are causing health effects because the ‘mental and social well-being’ of some persons is being affected, and this phenomenon is clearly recognized by the WHO“
“…what is of importance, the EHS as a phenomenon and as a sub-population that might potentially require extra protection form RF-EMF, were not mentioned at all in the WHO publication. This, yet again, suggests that for the WHO, the EHS is not considered anymore as a problem related to RF-EMF exposures.“
“…every country that follows ICNIRP guidelines on exposure to RF-EMF is also likely considering that there is no need for any additional regulations to account for EHS because EHS is, according to ICNIRP FAQ, solely based on the belief that RF-EMF affects health. Similar view of lack of causality link between EHS and RF-EMF exposures is held by the IEEE-ICES. In a review article published as part of IEEE-ICES sponsored issue of Bioelectromagnetics journal’s Supplement, published in 2003…”
“It appears that the self-declared EHS persons are currently left alone and not taken care of in the WHO’s, ICNIRP’s, IEEE-ICES’s and governmental health policy considerations. There are also no indications, by the WHO, ICNIRP or IEEE-ICES and governments, of the willingness to pursue molecular level research on EHS in particular and on the individual sensitivity to RF-EMF in general.“