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Sensitivity to electricity--temporal changes in Austria.

Schröttner J, Leitgeb N - BMC Public Health (2008)

Bottom Line: The discussion whether electromagnetic fields (EMF) could cause such adverse health effects is still ongoing.This study showed an actual EHS prevalence of 3.5% compared with 2% estimated in 1994.The results show that concerns about EMF did not decrease with time in spite of scientific studies and health risk assessments concluding that a causal relationship of EMF below recommended reference levels and non-specific health symptoms would be implausible.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Health Care Engineering, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria. schroettner@tugraz.at

ABSTRACT

Background: An increasing number of persons suffer from non-specific health symptoms such as headache, sleep disturbances, difficulties in concentrating and more. In lack of a medical explanation, more and more persons take refuge to the assumption that they were electromagnetic hypersensitive (EHS) and electromagnetic pollution causes their problems. The discussion whether electromagnetic fields (EMF) could cause such adverse health effects is still ongoing.

Methods: Based on the Austrian inhabitants a statistical cross-sample of the general population with regard to age, gender and federal state had been investigated to assess the actual situation and potential temporal changes in comparison with a former study of 1994. In a telephone survey a total number of 526 persons were included.

Results: This study showed an actual EHS prevalence of 3.5% compared with 2% estimated in 1994. About 70% of the sample believed that electromagnetic pollution could be a risk factor for health. More than 30% declared to at least some degree to be concerned about their well-being near mobile phone base stations or power lines. However, only 10% were actively looking for specific information. Media triggered EHS hypothesis in 24% of the cases.

Conclusion: The results show that concerns about EMF did not decrease with time in spite of scientific studies and health risk assessments concluding that a causal relationship of EMF below recommended reference levels and non-specific health symptoms would be implausible.

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Response to the question: „Which sources do you consider as responsible for electromagnetic pollution?“.
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Figure 3: Response to the question: „Which sources do you consider as responsible for electromagnetic pollution?“.

Mentions: A two-page questionnaire was developed comprising 25 questions [see Additional file 1]. The first part of the questionnaire concentrated on health status and lifestyle. Questions like "How would you rate your health status during the last month?" were asked. For this example predetermined choices were given with "very bad", "bad", "satisfying", "good", or "very good". The second part comprised EMF risk perception and avoidance behaviour, the perception of critical EMF sources and potential EMF related symptoms. Questions like "Do you think electromagnetic pollution could be a risk factor for health?“, „Do you think electromagnetic pollution could enforce symptoms of diseases and allergies? or „Which sources do you consider as responsible for electromagnetic pollution?” were asked (see figure 1 to 3). Persons were classified as EHS if they reported adverse health effects from EMF sources ("Do you feel disturbed from electromagnetic pollution?, If yes, which symptoms do you relate to electromagnetic pollution?") and suffered to such a high degree, that they were actively looking for medical help. Reported symptoms were asked in an open way. Finally, general questions were included such as education, employment status and living conditions. The study was performed in compliance with internationally recognized guidelines. The design was approved by the Ethic Commission of the Medical University Graz (Reference number: 19–277).


Sensitivity to electricity--temporal changes in Austria.

Schröttner J, Leitgeb N - BMC Public Health (2008)

Response to the question: „Which sources do you consider as responsible for electromagnetic pollution?“.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2562386&req=5

Figure 3: Response to the question: „Which sources do you consider as responsible for electromagnetic pollution?“.
Mentions: A two-page questionnaire was developed comprising 25 questions [see Additional file 1]. The first part of the questionnaire concentrated on health status and lifestyle. Questions like "How would you rate your health status during the last month?" were asked. For this example predetermined choices were given with "very bad", "bad", "satisfying", "good", or "very good". The second part comprised EMF risk perception and avoidance behaviour, the perception of critical EMF sources and potential EMF related symptoms. Questions like "Do you think electromagnetic pollution could be a risk factor for health?“, „Do you think electromagnetic pollution could enforce symptoms of diseases and allergies? or „Which sources do you consider as responsible for electromagnetic pollution?” were asked (see figure 1 to 3). Persons were classified as EHS if they reported adverse health effects from EMF sources ("Do you feel disturbed from electromagnetic pollution?, If yes, which symptoms do you relate to electromagnetic pollution?") and suffered to such a high degree, that they were actively looking for medical help. Reported symptoms were asked in an open way. Finally, general questions were included such as education, employment status and living conditions. The study was performed in compliance with internationally recognized guidelines. The design was approved by the Ethic Commission of the Medical University Graz (Reference number: 19–277).

Bottom Line: The discussion whether electromagnetic fields (EMF) could cause such adverse health effects is still ongoing.This study showed an actual EHS prevalence of 3.5% compared with 2% estimated in 1994.The results show that concerns about EMF did not decrease with time in spite of scientific studies and health risk assessments concluding that a causal relationship of EMF below recommended reference levels and non-specific health symptoms would be implausible.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Institute of Health Care Engineering, Graz University of Technology, Graz, Austria. schroettner@tugraz.at

ABSTRACT

Background: An increasing number of persons suffer from non-specific health symptoms such as headache, sleep disturbances, difficulties in concentrating and more. In lack of a medical explanation, more and more persons take refuge to the assumption that they were electromagnetic hypersensitive (EHS) and electromagnetic pollution causes their problems. The discussion whether electromagnetic fields (EMF) could cause such adverse health effects is still ongoing.

Methods: Based on the Austrian inhabitants a statistical cross-sample of the general population with regard to age, gender and federal state had been investigated to assess the actual situation and potential temporal changes in comparison with a former study of 1994. In a telephone survey a total number of 526 persons were included.

Results: This study showed an actual EHS prevalence of 3.5% compared with 2% estimated in 1994. About 70% of the sample believed that electromagnetic pollution could be a risk factor for health. More than 30% declared to at least some degree to be concerned about their well-being near mobile phone base stations or power lines. However, only 10% were actively looking for specific information. Media triggered EHS hypothesis in 24% of the cases.

Conclusion: The results show that concerns about EMF did not decrease with time in spite of scientific studies and health risk assessments concluding that a causal relationship of EMF below recommended reference levels and non-specific health symptoms would be implausible.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus