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New study says electrosmog is for real

Electrosmog graphic: Oct 2000

Scientists at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have proven for the first time that human beings are affected by electrosmog - electromagnetic radiation generated by electronic equipment.

But they said their research does not allow any conclusions to be drawn on whether such radiation is a health hazard.

Announcing the findings of Project Nemesis in Zurich on Tuesday, Professor Helmut Krueger said people who claim to be sensitive to electrosmog are not making it up.

The two-part project studied 60 people between the ages of 17 and 76. Measurements taken while the volunteers were in bed at home showed that low frequency electromagnetic fields influenced how deeply some people slept and their general condition when they woke up.

Christopher Müller, who conceived the project, said many people actually shifted position to be out of the electromagnetic field. But he said there had been no measurable impact on the quality of sleep, breathing, cardiac rhythm or on general health the next day.

In the second part of the experiment in the laboratory, the volunteers were asked if they could sense the existence of electromagnetic fields. Several of them were able to.

However, it is not clear why people can sense electrosmog. Müller said sensitivity differed also from individual to individual and that other factors – physical, psychological and environmental – had to be taken into account.

Krueger concluded that electrical hypersensitivity syndrome is a proven state of health and therefore treatable. He said an information centre should be set up to help people with the condition.

Household electrical appliances such as radio alarm clocks and computers produce low frequency electromagnetic fields, as do high tension power lines and overhead railway cables.

Telephones and mobiles produce different electromagnetic currents and were not part of this study.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR