Surveys of impairments, symptoms and objective markers

Research into Electrosensitivity and Specific Electrosensitivity Symptoms and Impairments

Research into Electrosensitivity and its specific symptoms has been carried out in the USSR, Poland and other eastern countries since the 1930s.

Research into Electrosensitivity and its specific symptoms has been carried out in the USA since Project Pandora launched under DARPA in the 1960s, following the discovery of microwave frequencies at the US Moscow embassy.

Further US Army research into electrosensitivity took place in the 1990s in a mainly unsuccessful attempt to find ameliorating devices after troops suffered electrosensitivity symptoms during the Gulf Wars.

In 2017 DARPA began RadioBio to study the mechanism of electrosensitivity in and between cells.

In 2020 DARPA began the ICEMAN project to quantify and analyse the electrosensitivity symptoms among aircrew in a cockpit amid numerous RF and MF devices.

Specific Symptoms grouped by power flux density:

(Source: "German Doctors unite on RF health effects" (Powerwatch, July 22 2005)

    Top Left:             <10 µW/m2        = 0.06 V/m average           typical of:     Wifi router in next apartment or condo
    Top Right:          <100 µW/m2      = 0.2 V/m average             typical of:     Wifi router in your own home
    Bottom Left:      <1000 µW/m2    = 0.6 V/m average             typical of:     within 500 yards/meters of cellphone tower

    Bottom Right:    >1000 µW/m2    = >0.6 V/m average          typical of:     downtown street, shopping mall

The symptom groups are defined as follows:

(for 356 people under long-term exposure at home, in Oberfranken, Germany, 2005)
Group 1:   No symptoms
Group 2:   Sleep disturbance, tiredness, depressive mood
Group 3:   Headaches, restlessness, dazed state, irritability, disturbance of concentration, forgetfulness, learning difficulties, difficulty finding words
Group 4:   Frequent infections, sinusitis, lymph node swellings, joint and limb pains, nerve and soft tissue pains, numbness or tingling, allergies
Group 5:   Tinnitus, hearing loss, sudden hearing loss, giddiness, impaired balance, visual disturbances, eye inflammation, dry eyes
Group 6:   Tachycardia, episodic hypertension, collapse
Group 7:   Other symptoms (Hormonal disturbances, thyroid disease, night sweats, frequent urge to urinate, weight increase, nausea, loss of appetite, nose bleeds, skin complaints, tumours, diabetes)

ES Impairments and Specific Symptoms

A fuller list:

  • headaches, general and sharp pains, migraines
  • disturbed sleep, light sleep, unable to get to sleep, waking early fully awake
  • heart palpitations and arrhythmia, racing heart, slow heartbeat
  • anxiety, depression, anger, mood swings
  • pain and tingling in limbs
  • blurred vision, 'gritty' eyes
  • ringing in the ears, tinnitus
  • short-term memory loss
  • concentration loss
  • nausea, dizziness
  • asthma attacks, coughs
  • sinus problems
  • muscular weakness, muscular failure
  • acne, skin rashes, brown patches
  • urinary urgency, bladder problems, smelly urine
  • digestion and stomach problems, diarrhoea
  • increased sensitivity to: 

List of specific symptoms (1978)

Dwyer & Leeper: "A Current Literature Report on the Carcinogenic Properties of Ionizing and Nonionizing Radiation,"
DHEW Publication (NIOSH) 78-134; (1978).





Disturbed sleep at night

Sleepiness in daytime




Hypochondriac reactions

Feelings of fear

Nervous tension

Mental depression

Memory impairment

Pulling sensation in the scalp and brow

Loss of hair

Pain in muscles and heart region

Breathing difficulties

Increased perspiration of extremities Difficulty with sex life 



Disruption of the endocrine-humoral process


Intensification of the activity of thyroid gland

Exhausting influences on the central nervous system

Decrease in sensitivity to smell

Increase in histamine content of the blood

Changes in specific symptoms after >6 years of exposure among 73 persons
(Dwyer et al.,1978):

                                 % <6 years - % >6 years -

                                                               % increase

Headache                               21     33         57

Disturbance of sleep            14     23         64 

Fatigue                                    12     18         50

General weakness                   7     12         71

Disturbance of memory          6      8         33

Lowering of sexual potency    6      8         33

Drop in body weight                 3    12       300

Disturbance of balance            6    11         83

Neurological symptoms           0    15       x 15

Changes in ECG                       18    29         61

What is ES?

Impairments and Specific Symptoms

Video Animations

Typical Impairments and Specific Symptoms include:

  • headaches
  • disturbed sleep
  • heart palpitations
  • anxiety
  • pains and tingling in limbs
  • blurred vision
  • see fuller list to right

Impairments and Symptoms can be:

  • delayed, by hours or days
  • cumulative
  • short-term or acute
  • long-term or chronic, especially for neurological and cancer effects
  • conscious
  • subconscious

Impairments and Symptoms often occur:

  • immediately after electromagnetic exposure, e.g. headache or muscle spasm, when someone nearby switches on their cellphone (conscious, acute)
  • over minutes and hours of low-level electromagnetic exposure, e.g. growing memory loss, tiredness or headaches after an hour or two in WiFi radiation (conscious, chronic)
  • perhaps 12 to 16 hours after heavy exposure, e.g. nausea, dizziness, muscle failure or cramps hours after being present in heavy usage of cellphones or radio mike exposure (conscious, delayed acute)
  • over months or years of frequent electromagnetic exposure, e.g. neurological and cancer effects like muscle wasting, degenerative conditions or skin and tissue tumor growths, from domestic cordless phones, power line cables, cellphone towers, neighbor's WiFi (conscious or subconscious, chronic) 

Impairments and Symptoms depend on:

  • genetic factors
  • presence of metals in the body (e.g. mercury dental amalgam restorations, cardiac pacemakers, metal plates and pins, tatoos with metallic colors)
  • previous exposure
  • adaptation of the body to stress from environmental toxins
  • other sources of stressors (e.g. chemical sensitivity)

Electrosensitivity is a Functional Disability causing Impairments, not an Illness or Disease

  • Electrosensitivity is a disability impairing the person's ability to function fully in society.
  • Electrosensitivity is a functional impairment to an environmental problem.
  • Electrosensitivity is therefore similar to functional disability caused by impaired access for a wheel-chair user, or by impaired access for a deaf, blind or chemically intolerant person.
  • Electrosensitivity, like other environmental intolerances, defines the toxic pollution in the environment as 'ill' or 'diseased', not the person, who is perfectly health when the toxic pollution is removed. 

Electrosensitivity is often regarded as an Intolerance rather than an illness or disease

  • Electrosensitivity is primarily an intolerance, not a disease.
  • The specific Impairments and symptoms of Electrosensitivity are typical of systemic intolerance or allergy reactions, not diseases.
  • There is no known virus or bacteria associated with Electrosensitivity.
  • Electrosensitivity is not communicable and cannot be transmitted to other people.
  • The 'illness' is in the environment, which is 'sick' for the person intolerant of the toxic pollution produced by electromagnetic exposure. 
  • Electrosensitivity is thus typical or other environmental Intolerances, such as to chemicals, foods, light, sound etc.
  • People with Electrosensitivity are perfectly healthy outside of a polluted environment where they react with impairments or symptoms to the toxic electromagnetic exposure.
  • Some people's Electrosensitivity is caused by another illness, such Multiple Sclerosis, or by a combination of factors, such an environmental electromagnetic pollution and the presence of metallic dental restorations, metallic implants in the body or metallic-based tattoos. 

Other names for Electrosensitivity and Electromagnetic Hyper-sensitivity

​​Electromagnetic Intolerance Syndrome (SICEM in French)

Introduction to Electrosensitivity and EHS:

Microwave Sickness

Dr Magda Havas on Electrosensitivity

Professor Olle Johansson on Electrosensitivity

Dr Erica Mallery-Blythe on Electrosensitivity and EM exposure

Typical Symptoms and Impairments

Other information:

Nicola Bijlsma: "Electrical Hypersensitivity" (2012, 13 minutes)

Dr Ashwini Setya: "Feeling Wonky? You Might Be Coming Down With Smartphone Sickness" (The Quint, March 2016)

Alasdair and Jean Philips: "Electrical Hypersensitivity, a Modern Illness" (2007 edition; see also:  Powerwatch: "Electrical Hypersensitivity")

"Your doctor and radiation" (Mezenvisie, 2019, 1 min.)

Impairments and Symptoms can be:

  • delayed, by hours or days
  • subconscious: sometimes people with ES are asymptomatic (have no conscious symptoms) even though their body still reacts to the electromagnetic exposure

Few accurate surveys of the prevalence of ES and EHS in the general population have been conducted.

For conscious symptoms:
- 0.65% are so severely affected that they cannot work or attend school

- 1.2 % are severely affected with conscious symptoms
- 3.6 % are significantly affected consciously
- up to about 40% are affected in smaller ways, such as disturbed sleep within 500 meters of a cellphone tower.
For unconscious affects:

- about 5-10% of the general population can be affected adversely with cancers and neurological diseases depending on duration and intensity of exposure

- about 80% of adults, e.g. those with chronic immune diseases, are adversely affected.

Conscious symptoms: