Study type: Epidemiological study (observational study)

The prevalence of symptoms attributed to electromagnetic field exposure: a cross-sectional representative survey in Switzerland epidem.

Published in: Soz Praventivmed 2006; 51 (4): 202-209

Aim of study (acc. to author)

A cross-sectional survey was conducted in Switzerland to evaluate the prevalence of self-reported symptoms to electromagnetic fields (EMF) and other environmental exposures and to investigate health risk perception.

Further details

The study participants were asked in telephone interviews about health symptoms attributed to five environmental factors (distress, weather, air pollution, noise, and EMF) and health risk perception related to 12 environmental risk factors.

Endpoint/type of risk estimation

Type of risk estimation: (odds ratio (OR))



Exposure groups

Group Description
Reference group 1 EMF unconcerned individuals
Group 2 EMF concerned individuals
Group 3 EHS individuals


Study size

Type Value
Participants 2,048
Participation rate 55 %
Statistical analysis method: (adjustment: )

Results (acc. to author)

A prevalence of 5 % for electromagnetic hypersensitivity was found in the study sample. The most common complaints were sleep disorders and headaches which were mostly attributed to powerlines and mobile phone handsets. 53 % of the study participants worried about adverse health effects from EMF, without attributing their own health symptoms to them.

Limitations (acc. to author)

A causal relationship between electromagnetic fields and adverse health effects cannot be concluded from a cross-sectional study such as this one.

Study funded by

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