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Idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields (IEI-EMF) is a set of claims of adverse medical symptoms purportedly caused by exposure to electromagnetic fields. Other terms for IEI-EMF include electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), electrohypersensitivity, electro-sensitivity, and electrical sensitivity (ES).
Although the thermal effects of electromagnetic fields on the body are established, self-described sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity report responding to non-ionizing electromagnetic fields (or electromagnetic radiation) at intensities well below the limits permitted by international radiation safety standards. The majority of provocation trials to date have found that self-described sufferers of electromagnetic hypersensitivity are unable to distinguish between exposure to real and fake electromagnetic fields, and it is not recognized as a medical condition by the medical or scientific communities.
The reported symptoms of EHS include headache, fatigue, stress, sleep disturbances, skin symptoms like prickling, burning sensations and rashes, pain and ache in muscles and many other health problems. Whatever its cause, EHS symptoms are a real and sometimes a disabling problem for the affected persons.
In 2004 the World Health Organization (WHO) conducted a workshop on electromagnetic hypersensitivity. The aim of the conference was to review the current state of knowledge and opinions of the conference participants and propose ways forward on this issue. The meeting was conducted by the WHO International EMF Project as part of the scientific review process to determine biological and health effects from exposure to EMF. The purpose of these workshops is to bring together expert scientists so that established health effects and gaps in knowledge requiring further research can be identified. EHS has been a particularly contentious issue for a number of years.
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