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Environ Health Perspect. 2002 Aug;110 Suppl 4:613-8.

Hypersensitivity of human subjects to environmental electric and magnetic field exposure: a review of the literature.

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Unité de Recherche en Santé Publique, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Québec, and Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec, Beauport, Canada.


Hypersensitivity to exposure to electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) has been reported for nearly 20 years; however, the literature on the subject is still very limited. Nearly all the literature published concerns a dermatological syndrome that consists of mainly subjective symptoms (itching, burning, dryness) and a few objective symptoms (redness, dryness) appearing after individuals begin working with video display units and decreasing during absence from work. Case-control studies as well as some good but limited double-blind trials have not found any clear relationship between this syndrome and exposure to EMFs. A "general syndrome" with more general symptoms has been rarely described but seems to have a worse prognosis. The symptoms often associated with skin disorders are mainly of neurasthenic type and can cover a lot of nonspecific symptoms present in other atypical syndromes such as multiple chemical sensitivity or chronic fatigue. Most of these symptoms are allegedly triggered by exposure to different sources of EMFs, but there have been no valid etiological studies published on this more general syndrome. It appears that the so-called hypersensitivity to environmental electric and magnetic fields is an unclear health problem whose nature has yet to be determined.

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