Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

[Is there an ability to perceive or to be sensitive on?] med./bio.

Was verursacht "elektromagnetische Hypersensibilität"? Individuelle Wahrnehmung oder reaktiv ausgelöste Empfindlichkeit auf elektromagnetische Felder

Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin, 2009, ISBN 9783882610871

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study if there are people who are very sensitive to electromagnetic fields, especially to the magnetic field with a frequency of 50 Hz or to GSM irradiation of mobile phones, because of their special biology or who are very susceptible to electromagnetic fields, because they have a high level of psychological or physiological stress.

Background/further details

In a provocation study 45 self-reported hypersensitive subjects and 96 non-hypersensitive subject (without any symptoms) were three times sham exposed and three times exposed to one of the electromagnetic fields (50 Hz or mobile phone).

Endpoint

Exposure

Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 50 Hz
Exposure duration: 3 times 10 min
Exposure 2: 916.2 MHz
Modulation type: pulsed
Exposure duration: 3 times 10 min

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 50 Hz
Type
Exposure duration 3 times 10 min
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup coil with 5 turns placed in an office room where the test person was sitting
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
magnetic flux density 10 µT - - - -

Exposure 2

Main characteristics
Frequency 916.2 MHz
Type
Exposure duration 3 times 10 min
Modulation
Modulation type pulsed
Pulse width 577 µs
Repetition frequency 217 Hz
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Setup test person sitting in a Faraday cage, mobile phone fixed 30 cm beside the subject's head
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Parameters
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
power 2 W maximum measured - -
SAR 0.75 µW/g average over mass measured brain -
electric field strength 18.4 V/m - measured - -
power density 0.9 W/m² maximum measured - -

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

Investigated system:
Investigated organ system:
Time of investigation:
  • before exposure
  • after exposure

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

There was no relationship between the level of skin conductance response and the real electromagnetic field exposure. Skin conductance response was rather associated with the assumption that the electromagnetic field was active. Although individuals who reported sensitive reactions on electromagnetic fields rated most times that the electromagnetic field exposure would be active rather than inactive, their success rate was not better than by chance.
The authors conclude that there is no evidence of an association between the exposure and a special biology or a special kind of susceptibility. The hypothesis, that there are individuals who are hypersensitive to these field characteristics has to be abandoned. It would be more possible that an electromagnetic hypersensitivity reflect a psychological phenomenon which is subconscious for each subjects.

Study character:

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