Study type: Medical/biological study (experimental study)

Origins of electromagnetic hypersensitivity to 60 Hz magnetic fields: A provocation study med./bio.

Published in: Bioelectromagnetics 2012; 33 (4): 326-333

Aim of study (acc. to author)

To study whether 60 Hz magnetic fields influence heart rate, respiratory rate and heart rate variability, or give rise to subjective symptoms in electrosensitivity and non-electrosensitivity subjects. Furthermore, electrosensitivity and non-electrosensitivity subjects' ability to perceive exposure to a magnetic field was compared to determine the origin of the subjective symptoms experienced by individuals with electrosensitivity.

Background/further details

Two volunteer groups of 15 self-reported electrosensitivity and 16 non-electrosensitivity individuals were tested with sham exposure and real exposure (on two different days).
Only subjects who attributed their symptoms to appliances and/or high voltage transmission lines, but not to mobile phones alone, were recruited as electrosensitivity individuals.



Exposure Parameters
Exposure 1: 60 Hz
Exposure duration: continuous for 30 min

Exposure 1

Main characteristics
Frequency 60 Hz
Exposure duration continuous for 30 min
Exposure setup
Exposure source
Distance between exposed object and exposure source 20 cm
Setup 20 cm high solenoid with a radius of 20 cm and 2000 turns, resulting in a coil thickness of 0.7 mm; test person seated on a chair in the exposure room with the solenoid positioned 20 cm above the head
Sham exposure A sham exposure was conducted.
Measurand Value Type Method Mass Remarks
electric field strength 0.8 V/m - measured - ambient field
magnetic flux density 0.03 µT - measured - ambient field
magnetic flux density 12.5 µT - measured - at the top of the head

Exposed system:

Methods Endpoint/measurement parameters/methodology

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

Main outcome of study (acc. to author)

The magnetic field exposure did not have any effects on physiological parameters or on the eight subjective symptoms in either group. There was also no evidence that the electrosensitivity group perceived the magnetic field better than the non-electrosensitivity group.
In conclusion, the subjective symptoms did not result from the 60 Hz, 12.5 mT magnetic field exposure.

Study character:

Study funded by

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