Where are the Electrosensitives?

Where are the Electrosensitives? A search for electrical sensitivity in Australia

Don Maisch AssocAppSci.
PhD research student, University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW, Australia.

Representing the Australasian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine (ACNEM), Melbourne, Australia.

Research affiliated with the Dept. of Psychology, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, ACNEM, and the John Strob Cancer Research Fund.


The condition known as electrical sensitivity (ES) is still very much an unrecognised environmental illness in Australia with the orthodox medical establishment at a loss on how to treat patients who present with symptoms which they cannot conveniently slot into a disease category. In such cases, people who may be suffering ill health connected with prolonged exposure to electromagnetic fields are generally labelled with the condition called Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) - the causes of which are largely unknown. A 1992 Workcare Victoria workers compensation case will be examined as an example.

In addition, the findings of a small-scale pilot study investigating the 50 Hz residential magnetic field exposures of a group of 49 subjects, who were undergoing medical treatment for CFS, are examined. In this study, out of the 49 subjects, 14 had prolonged magnetic field exposures over 2 milliGauss (mG) and 9 over 4 mG. Out of this group, 3 were excluded as they did not meet the study criteria, leaving 11 who were designated as "Group A", with an average prolonged exposure of 7.1 mG. The 'non-exposed' Group B consisted of 34 subjects with an average exposure of 0.67 mG.

The sources of the magnetic field exposures of Group A were determined, reduced or eliminated and the health status of both groups was recorded over a 6-month period. Group A reported a 55%
definite improvement in overall health and Group B reported a 14 % improvement. Major improvements in quality of sleep were predominant, indicating a possible effect of magnetic fields on melatonin secretion, a hormone involved in circadian functioning.

The results of this study indicate that prolonged exposure to residential power frequency magnetic fields may be a contributing factor to symptoms reported in CFS.


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August 2004

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