Electromagnetic Sensitivity

Common Symptoms of Microwave Radiation Sickness
Headaches Neurological problems Bleeding from nose or ears
Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) Altered brain development Unexplained skin rashes
Sleeping Problems Heart palpitations Blood-brain Barrier Leaks
Concentration/Depression Melatonin suppression Chromosome aberrations
Memory problems Hormone changes Electromagnetic Sensitivity
Autism Spectrum Disorder Sperm and ovary damage Elevated cancer in children/adults

Recognition of the Electromagnetic Sensitivity as a Disability Under the ADA

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is the Federal agency devoted to the accessibility for people with disabilities. The Access Board is responsible for developing and maintaining accessibility guidelines to ensure that newly constructed and altered buildings and facilities covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Architectural Barriers Act are accessible to and usable by people with disabilities.

In November 1999, the Access Board issued a proposed rule to revise and update its accessibility guidelines. During the public comment period on the proposed rule, the Access Board received approximately 600 comments from individuals with multiple chemical sensitivities (MCS) and electromagnetic sensitivities (EMS). The Board has taken the commentary very seriously and acted upon it. As stated in the Background for its Final Rule Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities; Recreation Facilities that was published in September 2002:

“The Board recognizes that multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities may be considered disabilities under the ADA if they so severely impair the neurological, respiratory or other functions of an individual that it substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities. The Board plans to closely examine the needs of this population, and undertake activities that address accessibility issues for these individuals”.

Following its recognition of Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) and its declaration of commitment to attend to the needs of EMS people, the Access Board contracted the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to examine how to accommodate the needs of the EMS in federally funded buildings. In 2005 the NIBS issued a report: http://scientists4wiredtech.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/2015-ADA-IEQ-Project.pdf

2005 Document on IEQ Indoor Environmental Quality

A project of the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) with funding support from The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board). From the report (page 11):

Electromagnetic Fields

"For people who are electromagnetically sensitive, the presence of cell phones and towers, portable telephones, computers, fluorescent lighting, unshielded transformers and wiring, battery re-chargers, wireless devices, security and scanning equipment, microwave ovens, electric ranges and numerous other electrical appliances can make a building inaccessible.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes that scientific studies have raised questions about the possible health effects of EMF’s. NIOSH recommends the following measures for those wanting to reduce EMF exposure – informing workers and employers about possible hazards of magnetic fields, increasing workers’ distance from EMF sources, using low-EMF designs wherever possible (e.g., for layout of office power supplies), and reducing EMF exposure times."

Lewis Evans: It’s Time to Turn Off RF Microwave Radiation (https://emfoff.com/)

Comment from Daily Mail Article:

Pulsed, data-modulated, Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation is incredibly dangerous. It suppresses your thyroid, disrupts seratonin and melanonin, and causes breast cancer tumors to grow five times as fast. Professor Martha Herbert of Harvard Medical School is campaigning against its use in schools, as is ex-Microsoft Canada head Frank Clegg, now running Citizens for Safe Technology. Lloyds of London stopped insuring Wireless Carriers against public liability claims in 1999. They stopped insuring the asbestos companies in 1913. They read the scientific literature.

Essential resources:

  • Link to Excerpts, 2005 U.S. Access Board Indoor Environmental Quality Report on ADA accommodation for those disabled by electromagnetic sensitivity and multiple chemical sensitivity

  • Link to 2005 U.S. Access Board Indoor Environmental Quality Report — full report

  • Link to Americans with Disabilities Act, 2009 and 2016 amendment excerpts

  • Link to ADA Title II Technical Assistance Manual with highlights

  • Link to When New Technologies Hurt, Department of Labor, Job Accommodation Network

  • Link to Accommodation Ideas for Electromagnetic Sensitivity, Department of Labor, Job Accommodation Network

For health care professionals:

  • Link to EUROPAEM EMF Guideline 2016 for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses, 2016

  • Link to Guideline of the Austrian Medical Association for the diagnosis and treatment of EMF-related health problems and illnesses (EMF syndrome), 2012


Job Accomodation Network’s Job Accommodations for People with Electromagnetic Sensitivity

Job Accomodation Network (JAN) Document, Apr 28, 2015 | JAN web site here.

Electromagnetic sensitivity (EMS) has been difficult for the environmental health and medical communities to define. Individuals with electromagnetic sensitivity may experience various non-specific symptoms including but not limited to fatigue, weakness, neurological issues, immunological issues, gastrointestinal issues, increased irritability, lack of ability to think clearly and quickly, sleep disturbance, and overall malaise

Individuals with electromagnetic sensitivity typically report managing symptoms by avoiding exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) that trigger their symptoms. They often make modifications to their homes and daily routines to minimize exposure through avoidance of EMFs and reduce their overall long term exposure to EMFs. When it is not possible to avoid it, then limiting duration and strength of exposure and use of shielding may also be useful. Based on data from JAN calls, common workplace issues involve exposure to Wi-Fi, cell phones, and computer equipment.

Population based studies involving longer term exposure to EMFs have shown correlation between long term exposure and symptoms such as headache, neurological problems, cardiac problems and concentration difficulties. Research on this topic is ongoing.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have, in 1998, published guidelines for “safe” levels of human exposure in a publication called, Manual for Measuring Occupational Electric and Magnetic Field Exposures (here).

However, the nature of EMS is such that even levels that are deemed safe for the general public can cause trigger symptoms for individuals who are EMS. Individuals affected by EMS experience symptoms at far lower levels and therefore may need accommodations in the workplace well below the safe levels of exposure indicated in the manual.

Organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United States Access Board, which offers technical assistance on the ADA Accessibility Guidelines, have issued statements and regulatory guidelines related to electrical sensitivity. The World Health Organization (WHO) held an international workshop on the issue in Prague, Czech Republic, in 2004. WHO recognizes that a significant number of people report symptoms after exposure to Radio-frequency Electromagnetic Microwave Radiation (RF-EMR) that range from neurological and immunological to gastrointestinal issues (WHO, 2005). The Access Board addressed electromagnetic sensitivities as part of the IEQ Indoor Environmental Quality Project.

The following is a quick overview of some of the job accommodations that might be useful for people with EMS. For a more in depth discussion, access JAN's publications here. To discuss an accommodation situation with a consultant, contact JAN directly.

General Accommodation Considerations

  • Allow communication via typewriter or handwritten notes rather than via computer or cover the computer with Plexiglas or other shielding material.

  • Provide headset/handset extenders or alternate headsets to lengthen the distance between devices that trigger symptoms and the employee’s body.

  • Change the employee’s shift to allow for less exposure to others’ devices.

  • Relocate workplace away from areas where symptoms are triggered. This may include limiting certain types of devices in the vicinity of the employee’s workstation.

  • Allow telework (Note: regarding work at home, unless the employee wants to work at home, other options should be explored first to keep the employee in the workplace).

  • Allow the employee to meet with others in areas where triggers are minimized or allow remote access to meetings or activities that must take place in areas that trigger symptoms.

  • Provide wired telephones and network connections.

  • Provide building-wide and/or workspace shielding of equipment and devices, for example add filters to fluorescent lights and tape electrical cords.

  • Individuals with electrical sensitivity may also experience limitations from fragrance sensitivity and/or photosensitivity.

Updated 04/28/15

This document was developed by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). Preparation of this item was funded by the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, Grant Number OD-23442-12-75-4-54. This document does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.


Environmental Health Trust on Electromagnetic Sensitivity

From https://ehtrust.org/science/electromagnetic-sensitivity/:

In the video, below, Dr. Magda Havas lectures at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences ((NIEHS) May 9, 2016. Whenever Dr. Havas says the term EHS in this video, one can substitute the term EMS, Electromagnetic Sensitivity, which is the disabled characteristic recognized by the US Federal Access Board since 2004:

"The Board recognizes that multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities may be considered disabilities under the ADA if they so severely impair the neurological, respiratory or other functions of an individual that it substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities. The Board plans to closely examine the needs of this population, and undertake activities that address accessibility issues for these individuals.

The Board plans to develop technical assistance materials on best practices for accommodating individuals with multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities. The Board also plans to sponsor a project on indoor environmental quality. In this project, the Board will bring together building owners, architects, building product manufacturers, model code and standard-setting organizations, individuals with multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities, and other individuals. This group will examine building design and construction issues that affect the indoor environment, and develop an action plan that can be used to reduce the level of chemicals and electromagnetic fields in the built environment."

Dr. Magda Havas talks at National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) on May 9, 2016

The primary solution to the problem of Electromagnetic Sensitivity is reducing exposures to pulsed, data-modulated, Radiofrequency Microwave Radiation. That means significantly reducing or eliminating all sources of RF microwave radiation exposures in homes, schools, workplaces. and public spaces, including libraries, government buildings, medical facilities, buses, trains plans, and libraries — all places where smoking cigarettes are already banned. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires us to do so in order enable EMS persons unhindered use of these public spaces, since it is not legal to create an access barrier to one’s home or community.

This is why we cannot allow the current unnecessary and unjustified
4G/5G Wireless Telecommunications Facilities densification in our communities

   

Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS) Symptoms Mirror Microwave Sickness Symptoms:

Electromagnetic Sensitivity Microwave Sickness
  • Headaches
  • Heart Palpitations
  • Neurological problems
  • Sleeping Problems
  • Concentration and Memory problems
  • Bleeding from nose or ears
  • Unexplained skin rashes
  • Headaches
  • Cardiac problems
  • Neurological symptoms
  • Altered blood cell counts
  • Increased chromosome aberrations
  • Elevated cancer in children and adults
  • Sickness increasing in a dose-response manner with cumulative time of exposure.