Electrohypersensitivity: “We will see volunteers at home” – Bretagne

What do we know about Electrohypersensitivity (EHS)?

Both too much and too little. In Northern Europe, people began to complain of skin diseases (itching, irritation) as early as the 1980s and the development of cathode ray screens. Over 20 years and the explosion of the mobile phone, the phenomenon has grown beyond count in France and around the world. Electrosensitive people associate their illnesses with electromagnetic fields emitted by household appliances, electrical devices, Wi-Fi and relay antennas. However, no scientific studies have yet established a causal relationship between their symptoms and their exposure to the waves. However, their suffering is very real!

Olivier Merckel is head of the New Technologies Risk Assessment Unit at ANSES. (Photo ANSES/Bertrand Holsnyder)

We are talking about the level of prevalence between 0.5-10% of the population. Why don’t we know exactly how many people have EHS?

Because we are talking about a heterogeneous population that individually or together reports hundreds of different and non-specific symptoms: migraines, dizziness, nausea, joint pain, difficulty concentrating, sleep disorders, etc. So it all depends on him. Let’s remember that what we call “electrohypersensitivity” is not recognized as a disease. We are talking about a disorder, a syndrome, an intolerance… The lack of definition is already a problem for people with EHS, whose suffering is not always taken seriously, despite the sometimes serious consequences. Some lead a decent social life. But others lose their jobs and have to move back, even if it means moving away from their families to live somewhere less exposed to the waves. The research we have started aims to classify affected people according to what they experience on a daily basis in order to achieve a universal definition of electrohypersensitivity.

How innovative is this research?

To work with electrosensitive people, it is impossible to bring them into environments (laboratories, hospitals) that they avoid like the plague, because they are full of waves. For the first time, according to the protocol developed with EHS associations, we offer people to go and see at home, adapting to their limitations. We are calling for volunteers. The idea is to recruit 150 to 180 people in France, who will conduct three interviews at home, one of which is medical, outside the walls, provided by one of the six partner hospitals in the region. The goal is to reach everyone, including those excluded from medical pathways. And thus, it is necessary to exclude the presence of a pathology such as a vascular problem or a brain tumor behind the headaches related to the waves.

Why start this research in Brittany?

For practical reasons! A feasibility study has already been carried out in Brittany from 2017 to 2019 and 19 EHS staff have been recruited. Following our call for tenders, the two epidemiology and sociology research companies selected are from Brittany (SEPIA-Santé in Lorient and Environnement & Société in Concarneau), Rennes and Brest hospitals are allocated to conduct clinical interviews. However, this study is intended to be carried out on a national scale, particularly with the participation of enterprises located in Rhône-Alpes and Grand Est.

What specific improvements can electrosensitive people expect?

Our research has no a priori assumptions about the causes of electrohypersensitivity, and its aim is not to identify them, but to identify EHS. It is a prerequisite for improving the care of concerned people, who are often far removed from the medical world and care pathways that are considered complex.

Electrohypersensitive people who wish to volunteer for the study are invited to contact SEPIA-Santé in Lorient: ehs.sepia@gmail.com Tel. 07 88 49 70 73.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *