What is Electro sensitivity?

Electrosensitivity—What Is It?

Electrosensitivity (or ‘EHS’), originally called microwave or radiowave sickness, and now sometimes referred to as electrohypersensitivity, is a condition that unfortunately is becoming more and more prevalent. EHS became best known in the Cold War years when Russia transmitted microwave radiation into the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and the Embassy staff became sick with a range of health and cognitive problems, many later developing cancers.

What is Happening to People?

Today, many people develop headaches from cell phone use against the head, or become dizzy when chronically exposed to WiFi. People sitting for long hours near wireless computer equipment can become severely fatigued, or develop neurological and other complaints. Increasingly, children in school with WiFi, where wireless tablets and laptops are commonplace, complain of headaches, difficulty concentrating and feeling tired. A common EHS symptom is sleep disruption from wireless exposures in the home overnight, or from having a cell phone, tablet or portable phone by the bedside. A newer source of exposure is radiating ‘smart’ utility meters being placed on homes and apartments, impacting residents as well as the neighborhood that is blanketed in a new wireless network. People living or working within a quarter mile of a cell tower or antenna cluster on buildings, billboards, etc, or concealed in clock towers, church steeples, or disguised as trees, are at special risk for symptoms of electrosensitivity.

Essentially, exposure to radiofrequency (or microwave) radiation is a stressor. Our bodies respond to this invisible energy source as it does to any other form of stress. Wireless devices and infrastructure should never have been allowed to proliferate as it has in our homes, neighborhoods, offices and schools, as it is biologically active and impacts every aspect of our physiological functioning down to the DNA.

How EHS is experienced varies from person to person, and varies in intensity. Symptoms can come on suddenly or develop slowly, and, unfortunately, very often symptoms are mistaken for other conditions, with people then being pharmaceutically treated for symptoms which would resolve if the wireless technology were turned off.

For example, people are put on medications for insomnia, anxiety, ADHD, arthritis, arrhythmia, and much more, when the root of the problem is sensitivity to the artificial man-made electromagnetic fields. If the exposures have been chronic, fully resolving the symptoms may take days, or even several weeks or months. They will not resolve without removing the source of exposure, or through what can sometimes be an expensive undertaking of shielding. (Shielding supplies can be found at www.EMFSafetyStore.com ) Restoring vitality after a serious or longstanding biological assault can take as long as a year or more of actively nurturing the body and soul. In extreme cases, people must remove themselves from mainstream life, retreating to rural areas and very different lifestyles in order to avoid what are, to them, debilitating exposures.

graphicTo the left is a chart showing typical electrosensitivity symptoms, from a study by Santini et al, published in La Presse Medical. A graph depicting the incidence of these in relation to distance from a cell tower by Magda Havas, PhD can be found in “Public Health SOS: The Shadow Side of the Wireless Revolution. In all cases, the closer to the radiation source the greater the symptoms.

It’s Not Only About the Power

Unfortunately, the effects are not only from the power (or SAR effect i.e. radiation absorption) but from the frequencies, pulsing and peaks, and signal characteristics. Paradoxical effects have been found, where in some instances the lower the power the greater the effect, such as greater blood brain barrier permeability and neuron death in the brain. This suggests simply moving farther away from a power source, like a router, may not be as protective as one would think. You would lower the risk from the power, which is important, but other effects may increase. Telecommunications choices simply must be hard-wired in order to prevent biological effects, including electrosensitivity symptoms, but also cancers.

Leakage in the Blood Brain Barrier and neuron death from cell phone radiation have been found in rats at only 0.012 W/kg (compared to the FCC exposure limit for cell phone radiation of 1.6 W/kg).[1] The blood brain barrier leakage has been shown to continue as long as 50 days after exposure. Some scientists consider blood brain barrier effects at these very low levels of radiation exposure (i.e. 30-45x lower levels than what are being touted as the ‘Top 10’ lowest SAR cell phones in publicized ranking) to be of equal or even greater concern for the population than the increases in brain tumors from cell phone use beginning to be evident in the long-term trend data.

Resources to Learn More

An excellent review of the science on electrosensitivity containing over 1,800 scientific references has been published in the U.K., called “Electromagnetic Sensitivity and Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: A Summary”, by Michael Bevington, and is available through ES-UK. The image above is the book’s cover.

A Resolution on Electromagnetic Health was adopted in 2012 by the U.S. Health Freedom Congress, an alliance of health activist groups.

A summary of the condition by Erica Mallery-Blythe, MD, with contains extensive references, is posted at the International EMF Alliance website here http://www.iemfa.org/wp-content/pdf/Mallery-Blythe-v1-EESC.pdf, and a video of Dr.Mallery-Blythe presenting an overview of what is happening biologically from cell phone and wireless exposures presented as part of an Expert Forum on Cell Phone and Wireless Risks to Children held at the Commonwealth Club of California can be viewed here. This program was co-organized by ElectromagneticHealth.org and Environmental Health Trust, and there are also many other worthwhile presentations from it to view.


Erica Mallery-Blythe, MD
Physicians’ Health Initiative for Radiation and Environment (PHIRE), U.K

Videos of People Who Experience Electrosensitivity Can Be Viewed at ElectromagneticMan.co.uk

Looking Ahead—Best to Be Educated

Electrosensitivity is a condition we will be hearing more about in the years ahead given the wireless industry’s plans to add more and more layers of radiation to our living environment. New exposures will come from more wireless gadgets, ‘wearable wireless’ devices, deployment of more and more radiating utility ‘smart’ meters, the coming ‘internet of things’, where home appliances and electronics will be connected to wireless internet 24/7, neighborhood Distributed Antenna Systems (DAS), including on utility poles close to homes, the coming ultra high frequency 5G technology (known as ‘Super Wifi’) that will start to roll out next year, on which there has been no pre-market health testing, RF-emitting vehicles, and RF-emitting roadways, and even WiFi and cellular from space via satellites, balloons and drones, such as the Google Loon project, that can offer cellular service from balloons to an area as large as Rhode Island (being called “cell towers in the sky”). Thousands of microwave radiation-emitting satellites will be launched by companies such as SpaceX, OneWeb, Facebook and Outernet[2], which many scientists believe will be catastrophic for both humans and the ecosystem.

It should be clear by now how important it will be to be educated about Electrosensitivity so you can spot the signs of over exposure to wireless radiation early and take appropriate steps to reduce exposures.

Manhattan Neighbors recommends first protecting yourself, by minimizing personal exposures, then becoming engaged in activism on this subject. Let us know if you want to volunteer and have special abilities that could help us.

It is essential that together we reverse the ill-considered and seriously harmful trajectory we are on in our approach to telecommunications, and we need to start in our own living spaces and lifestyles!

Fundamental Steps to Prevent Electrosensitivity

  • Use Landline Phones as much as possible
  • Cell Phones – use with speaker or wired headset and briefly
  • Develop the Practice of Powering Down Your Cell Phone or Using Airplane Mode and checking it only periodically
  • Never Put a Cell Phone in Pockets while it is ON
  • Develop the Habit of Forwarding Cell Phone to Landline Phones when home or in an office
  • Use Portable Phones for Special Circumstances Only (keep them unplugged otherwise)
  • Hard Wire Internet Connection with cable/fiber (VIP to disable WiFi setting)
  • Double check (with an RF meter) that modems or routers do not have hidden antennas (Meter at www.EMFSafetyStore.com)
  • In the interim, if you are using WiFi, use a Plant Light Timer to turn off WiFi over night
  • Hard-Wire All Computer Peripherals (mice, printer etc.)
  • Use Grounded Power Cords if working on a computer while charging
  • Never Put RF Boosters On Your House
  • Assess The Neighborhood to Know Where Antennas are (www.AntennaSearch.com) and use a meter to assess any RF coming from your neighbors
  • Get Professional Help (www.hbelc.org) To Shield from neighbor’s RF if necessary.
  • Avoid Compact Fluorescent Bulbs entirely, as well as LEDs (unless free of Dirty Electricity)
  • Do Not Use Wearable Wireless Tech (like smart watches).
  • Do Not Buy New Appliances with iPads or Antennas Built Into Them. Refuse to be part of the ‘internet of things’.
  • Keep an eye out for new antennas in your neighborhood, like DAS antennas and the coming 5G antennas on utility poles. Measure your environment now, and reassess periodically. There are ways to shield but you have to first know exposures have increased.
  • Bring in a qualified electrician to check the wiring in your walls is laid properly, and is not generating unnecessary electromagnetic fields, and if you live in a home, that they are not traveling into the home on metal water pipes, etc.
  • PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN WELL! Hard-wire the home, do not use wireless technology as pacifiers or for entertainment for children, and make children’s bedrooms an electronics-free sanctuary.

For more information on protective steps, see 50+ EMF Safety Tips & Insights.


[1] (Salford et al, Nerve Cell Damage in Mammalian Brain after Exposure to Microwaves from GSM Mobile Phones. Environmental Health Perspectives ,Vol. 111 (7), June 2003; Nittby et al. Cognitive impairment in rats after long-term exposure to GSM-900 mobile phone radiation. Bioelectromagnetics. 2008 Apr;29(3):219-32.)

[2] http://www.cellphonetaskforce.org/?page_id=1353


Download Fundamental Steps to Prevent Electrosensitivity (PDF)

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