[Subjective non-specific symptoms related with electromagnetic fields: description of 2 cases]

Epidemiol Prev. Jul-Aug 2002;26(4):171-5.
[Article in Italian]


In Italy, as in other countries, an apparently increasing number of subjects is reporting a variety of subjective symptoms that the subjects themselves refer to the exposure to electric, magnetic or electromagnetic fields (EMF) from nearby electric appliances, cellular phones, antennas, etc. Terms like electricity hypersensitivity (EHS), EMF hypersensitivity, or other similar, are frequently adopted to describe such symptoms; nevertheless, up to now, these terms are not entered the medical terminology. No accepted diagnostic criteria or procedures for the diagnosis of EHS are currently available. Furthermore, apart from the subject's self-attribution of the symptoms to EMFs, no direct cause-effect relationship between EHS symptoms and electromagnetic fields has been proved; additionally, evidence of a possible pathogenetic mechanism is lacking. In this paper, two cases developing symptoms of EHS ascribed to overhead power line in the proximity of their house are discussed. Nervous system (asthenia, depression, paraesthesias etc.), cardiovascular system (cardiac palpitations) and the skin (tingling, itching, etc.), are mostly (but not exclusively) involved. Based on available scientific knowledge, the rationale for an approach to subjects claiming for EHS is discussed. The establishment of a National archive for the collection of cases is communicated.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • English Abstract

MeSH terms

  • Electromagnetic Fields / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged