Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

Reviews on Environmental Health

Editor-in-Chief: Carpenter, David O. / Sly, Peter

Editorial Board: Brugge, Doug / Edwards, John W. / Field, R.William / Garbisu, Carlos / Hales, Simon / Horowitz, Michal / Lawrence, Roderick / Maibach, H.I. / Shaw, Susan / Tao, Shu / Tchounwou, Paul B.

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 1.284

CiteScore 2017: 1.29

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.438
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 0.603

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 30, Issue 4


Electrohypersensitivity: a functional impairment due to an inaccessible environment

Olle Johansson
  • Corresponding author
  • The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Karolinska Institute, Department of Neuroscience, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden
  • Email
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-11-27 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2015-0018


In Sweden, electrohypersensitivity is recognized as a functional impairment which implies only the environment as the culprit. The Swedish view provides persons with this impairment a maximal legal protection, it gives them the right to get accessibility measures for free, as well as governmental subsidies and municipality economic support, and to provide them with special Ombudsmen (at the municipality, the EU, and the UN level, respectively), the right and economic means to form disability organizations and allow these to be part of national and international counterparts, all with the simple and single aim to allow persons with the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity to live an equal life in a society based on equality. They are not seen as patients, the do not have an overriding medical diagnosis, but the ‘patient’ is only the inferior and potentially toxic environment. This does not mean that a subjective symptom of a functionally impaired can not be treated by a physician, as well as get sick-leave from their workplace as well as economic compensation, and already in the year 2000 such symptoms were identified in the Internal Code of Diagnoses, version 10 (ICD-10; R68.8/now W90), and have been since. But the underlying cause still remains only the environment.

Keywords: electrohypersensitivity; functional impairment; immunohistochemistry; skin; UN Convention


  • 1.

    Miljöhälsorapport 2001, The National Board of Health and Welfare (in Swedish; ISBN: 91-7201-495-4).Google Scholar

  • 2.

    DIVS: 2000:839; ISBN: 92-893-0559-2, http://www.nordclass.se/ICD-10_Nordic%20Occupational_2000.pdf.

  • 3.

    The Swedish Association for the Electrohypersensitive (http://www.feb.nu; http://www.feb.se; the website has an English version).

  • 4.

    HSO, Handikappförbundens SamarbetsOrgan; http://www.hso.se.

  • 5.

    UN 22 Standard Rules/UN Convention, see website: http://www.un.org.

  • 6.

    The Swedish Action Plan for Persons with Impairments (“Den nationella handlingplanen för handikappolitiken – Från patient till medborgare”; Proposition 1999/2000:79, bet. 1999/2000:SoU14).Google Scholar

  • 7.

    Sydsvenskan, January 23-26, 2009; http://sydsvenskan.se/chattarkiv/article408013.ece.

  • 8.

    Petrov IR, editor. Influence of Microwave Radiation on the Organism of Man and Animals. Report from Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR. Translated to English “Vliyaniye SVChIzlucheniya na Organizm Cheloveka I Zhivotnykh”. Meditsina Press, Leningrad, 1970. Report from NASA TT F-708, Springfield, Virginia.Google Scholar

  • 9.

    Nordström G, von Schéele C. Sjuk av bildskärm, Tidens Förlag, 1989, ISBN 91-550-3484-5.Google Scholar

  • 10.

    Nordström G, von Schéele C. Fälslaget om de elöverkänsliga, Tidens Förlag, 1995, ISBN 91-550-4083-7.Google Scholar

  • 11.

    Nordström G. Mörkläggning – Elektronikens rättslösa offer, Hjalmarson & Högberg Förlag, 2000, ISBN 91-89080-41-6.Google Scholar

  • 12.

    Johansson O, Hilliges M, Björnhagen V, Hall K. Skin changes in patients claiming to suffer from “screen dermatitis”: a two-case open-field provocation study. Exp Dermatol 1994;3:234–8.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 13.

    Johansson O, Liu P-Y. “Electrosensitivity”, “electrosupersensitivity” and “screen dermatitis”: preliminary observations from on-going studies in the human skin. In: Simunic D, editor. Proceedings of the COST 244: Biomedical Effects of Electromagnetic Fields – Workshop on Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity. Brussels/Graz: EU/EC (DG XIII), 1995;52–7.Google Scholar

  • 14.

    Hillert L, Berglind N, Arnetz BB, Bellander T. Prevalence of self-reported hypersensitivity to electric or magnetic fields in a population based questionnaire survey. Scand J Work Environ Health 2002;28:33–41.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 15.

    Johansson O. Electrohypersensitivity: state-of-the art of a functional impairment. Electromagn Biol Med 2006;25:245–58.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 16.

    Schröttner J, Leitgeb N. Sensitivity to electricity-temporal changes in Austria. BMC Public Health 2008;8:310.CrossrefWeb of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • 17.

    Schreier N, Huss A, Röösli M. The prevalence of symptoms attributed to electromagnetic field exposure: a cross-sectional representative survey in Switzland. Soz Praventivmed 2006;51:202–9.Google Scholar

  • 18.

    Levallois P, Neutra R, Lee G, Histova L. Study of self reported hypersensitivity to electromagnetic fields in California. Environ Health Perspect 2002;110:619–23.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 19.

    Sears ME. The Medical Perspective on Environmental Sensitivities. Ottawa, Canada: Canadian Human Rights Commission 2007.Google Scholar

  • 20.

    Meg Tseng MC, Lin YP, Cheng TJ. Prevalence and psychiatric comorbidity of self-reported electromagnetic field sensitivity in Taiwan: a population-based study. J Formos Med Assoc 2011;110:634–41.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 21.

    Hilliges M, Wang L, Johansson O. Ultrastructural evidence for nerve fibers within all vital layers of the human epidermis. J Invest Dermatol 1995;104:134–7.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 22.

    Johansson O, Wang L, Hilliges M, Liang Y. Intraepidermal nerves in human skin: PGP 9.5 immunohistochemistry with special reference to the nerve density in skin from different body regions. J Peripher Nerv Syst 1999;4:43–52.Google Scholar

  • 23.

    Wang L, Hilliges M, Jernberg T, Wiegleb-Edstrom D, Johansson O. Protein gene product 9.5-immunoreactive nerve fibres and cells in human skin. Cell Tiss Res 1990;261:25–33.Google Scholar

  • 24.

    Johansson O, Gangi S, Liang Y, Yoshimura K, Jing C, et al. Cutaneous mast cells are altered in normal healthy volunteers sitting in front of ordinary TVs/PCs – results from open-field provocation experiments. J Cutan Pathol 2001;28:513–9.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 25.

    Johansson O, Hilliges M, Han SW. A screening of skin changes, with special emphasis on neurochemical marker antibody evaluation, in patients claiming to suffer from screen dermatitis as compared to normal healthy controls. Exp Dermatol 1996;5:279–85.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 26.

    Johansson O. Elöverkänslighet samt överkänslighet mot mobiltelefoner: Resultat från en dubbel-blind provokationsstudie av metodstudiekaraktär (=Electrohypersensitivity and sensitivity to mobile telephones: Results from a double-blind provocation study of pilot character, in Swedish), Enheten för Experimentell Dermatologi, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Rapport nr. 2, 1995, ISSN 1400-6111 (First study on humans).Google Scholar

  • 27.

    Gangi S, Johansson O. Skin changes in “screen dermatitis” versus classical UV- and ionizing irradiation-related damage – similarities and differences. Two neuroscientists’ speculative review. Exp Dermatol 1997;6:283–91.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 28.

    Gangi S, Johansson O. A theoretical model based upon mast cells and histamine to explain the recently proclaimed sensitivity to electric and/or magnetic fields in humans. Med Hypotheses 2000;54:663–71.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 29.

    Hallberg Ö, Johansson O. Melanoma incidence and frequency modulation (FM) broadcasting. Arch Environ Health 2002;57:32–40.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 30.

    Hallberg Ö, Johansson O. Malignant melanoma of the skin – not a sunshine story! Med Sci Monit 2004;10:CR336–40.Google Scholar

  • 31.

    Hallberg Ö, Johansson O. Mobile handset output power and health. Electromag Biol Med 2004;23:229–39.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 32.

    Hallberg Ö, Johansson O. Alzheimer mortality – why does it increase so fast in sparsely populated areas? Europ Biol Bioelectromag 2005;1:225–46.Google Scholar

  • 33.

    Hallberg Ö, Johansson O. Apparent decreases in Swedish public health indicators after 1997 – are they due to improved diagnostics or to environmental factors? Pathophysiology 2009;16:43–6.Google Scholar

  • 34.

    Hallberg Ö, Johansson O, Horst E. A melanoma trend forecast from 2002 – what happened then? Electromagn Biol Med 2015;21:1–3.Web of ScienceGoogle Scholar

  • 35.

    Belpoggi F, Blackman CF, Blank M, Bobkova N, Boella F, et al. Benevento Resolution 2006. Electromag Biol Med 2006;25:197–200.Google Scholar

  • 36.

    Blackman CF, Blank M, Kundi M, Sage C, Carpenter DO, et al. The Bioinitiative Report – A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF). 2007, http://www.bioinitiative.org.

  • 37.

    Avino P, d’Alessandro A, Bedini A, Belyaev I, Belpoggi F, et al. The Venice Resolution 2008, http://www.icems.eu/resolution.htm.

  • 38.

    Johansson O. The London Resolution. Pathophysiology 2009;16:247–8.Google Scholar

  • 39.

    Fragopoulou A, Grigoriev Y, Johansson O, Margaritis LH, Morgan L, et al. Scientific panel on electromagnetic field health risks: consensus points, recommendations, and rationales. Scientific Meeting: Seletun, Norway, November 17-21, 2009. Rev Environ Health 2010;25:307–17.Google Scholar

  • 40.

    Dämvik M, Johansson O. Health risk assessment of electromagnetic fields: a conflict between the precautionary principle and environmental medicine methodology. Rev Environ Health 2010;25:325–33.CrossrefGoogle Scholar

  • 41.

    Hagström M, Auranen J, Johansson O, Ekman R. Reducing electromagnetic irradiation and fields alleviates experienced health hazards of VDU work. Pathophysiology 2012;19:81–7.Google Scholar

  • 42.

    Hagström M, Auranen J, Ekman R. Electromagnetic hypersensitive Finns: symptoms, perceived sources and treatments, a questionnaire study. Pathophysiology 2013;20:117–22.Google Scholar

  • 43.

    Holmboe G, Johansson O. Symptombeskrivning samt förekomst av IgE och positiv Phadiatop Combi hos personer med funktionsnedsättningen elöverkänslighet (=Description of symptoms as well as occurrence of IgE and positive Phadiatop Combi in persons with the physical impairment electrohypersensitivity, in Swedish). Medicinsk Access 2005;1:58–63.Google Scholar

  • 44.

    Lindberg E-R. Building planning for persons with the functional impairment electrohypersensitivity – a project in the voltage field between belief and knowledge (in Swedish with English summaries). Doctoral Dissertation, The Royal Institute of Technology, School of Architecture and the Built Environment, and the Karolinska Institute, Department of Neuroscience, Stockholm, Sweden, 2011, http://kth.diva-portal.org/smash/record.jsf?pid=diva2:455407.

  • 45.

    Kato Y, Johansson O. Reported functional impairments of electrohypersensitive Japanese: a questionnaire survey. Pathophysiology 2012;19:95–100.Google Scholar

  • 46.

    Kato Y, Johansson O. The situation of electrohypersensitivity: Symptoms, EMF sources, economic and social problems, and precautionary approach. Jap J Clin Ecol 2012;21:123–30.Google Scholar

About the article

Corresponding author: Olle Johansson, The Experimental Dermatology Unit, Karolinska Institute, Department of Neuroscience, 171 77 Stockholm, Sweden, Phone: +46-(0)8-52 48 70 73, Fax: +46-(0)8-31 11 01, E-mail:

Received: 2015-07-14

Accepted: 2015-11-02

Published Online: 2015-11-27

Published in Print: 2015-12-01

Citation Information: Reviews on Environmental Health, Volume 30, Issue 4, Pages 311–321, ISSN (Online) 2191-0308, ISSN (Print) 0048-7554, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/reveh-2015-0018.

Export Citation

©2015 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Pamela Reed Gibson
Ecopsychology, 2016, Volume 8, Number 2, Page 131
Pamela Reed Gibson, Mary Cate Horan, and Jacqueline Billy
Health Care for Women International, 2016, Volume 37, Number 12, Page 1289

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in