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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2017 Apr;220(2 Pt B):395-400. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.11.013. Epub 2016 Dec 2.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) in occupational and primary health care: A nation-wide survey among general practitioners, occupational physicians and hygienists in the Netherlands.

Author information

1
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of General Practice and Elderly Care Medicine, EMGO+ Institute, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
2
Department of Environmental Health, Public Health Service of Amsterdam (GGD), Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Julius Centre for Public Health Sciences and Primary Care, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
4
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
5
Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences, Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Institute for Social and Preventive Medicine, Bern, Switzerland. Electronic address: a.huss@uu.nl.

Abstract

Subjects who attribute health complaints to every day levels of non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (EMF) have been referred to as electrohypersensitive (EHS). Previous surveys in Europe showed that 68-75% of general practitioners had ever been consulted on EHS. Given the lack of data on EHS in the Netherlands in the general population and on EHS in occupational settings, we performed a national survey among three professional groups that are likely in the first line of being consulted by EHS individuals. Results show that about one third of occupational hygienists, occupational physicians and general practitioners had ever been consulted by one or more EHS subjects. Many of these professionals considered a causal relationship between EMF and health complaints to some degree plausible, and their approach often included exposure reduction advice. Given the lack of scientific evidence for EHS and how low level EMF exposure could cause reported health complaints and given the finding that the majority of these professionals felt insufficiently informed about EMF and health, targeted information campaigns might assist them in their evidence based dealing with subjects who attribute symptoms to EMF.

KEYWORDS:

Electromagnetic fields; Electromagnetic hypersensitivity; General practice; Idiopathic environmental intolerance; Occupational exposure

PMID:
27939136
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijheh.2016.11.013
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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