advertisement



Q & A Library


Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

Q
Electrohypersensitivity: Is Wi-Fi Dangerous?

Can you explain electrohypersensitivity, and the risks, if any, it poses to health? I’ve heard that Wi-Fi can be dangerous, and I’m worried about all of the electronic equipment we’re surrounded by these days.

A
Answer (Published 11/18/2013)

Originally published November 9, 2010. Updated November 18, 2013.

Electrohypersensitivity (EHS), sometimes called "electrosensitivity" or "electromagnetic sensitivity," is a term applied to symptoms attributed to exposure to the electromagnetic fields from cell phones, Wi-Fi or other electronic devices. These symptoms can include headaches, fatigue, trouble concentrating, problems with short-term memory, insomnia, skin rashes, tinnitus, and nausea and dizziness, which affected individuals attribute to EHS. However, these are all common symptoms that can be associated many diseases and conditions, or even have no medical significance. Research to date has not established any clear-cut scientific evidence demonstrating that electromagnetic fields are directly responsible for any specific symptoms or diseases, including cancer. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) EHS has "no clear diagnostic criteria and there is no scientific basis to link EHS symptoms to EMF exposure. Further, EHS is not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem." Ongoing research may eventually demonstrate a scientific basis for EHS, but we're not there yet.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging - Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet! - Everything you need to get started eating a healthful, satisfying diet is here - including eating and shopping guides, over 300 recipes, and an exclusive version of Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Food Pyramid! Start your 14-day free trial now - and start eating anti-inflammatory today!

However, the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an arm of the WHO has classified electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones as "possibly carcinogenic to humans." This designation is used when a "causal association is considered credible, but when chance, bias or confounding cannot be ruled out with reasonable confidence." According to the WHO, the incidence of EHS is unknown and surveys to date have shown wide variations depending on who is being surveyed. Occupational medical centers have estimated much lower prevalence rates than have self-help groups. The WHO also notes that EHS incidence appears to be higher in Sweden, Germany and Denmark than it is in the United Kingdom, Austria and France. EHS has made the news in Canada but hasn't received much attention in the United States.

Nonetheless, electromagnetic fields may turn out to be a more significant threat to health than they now appear to be, so I think caution is warranted by all of us who use cell phones and rely on Wi-Fi and other electronic devices.  Here are my recommendations: 

  • Stay as far away as you can from radio waves that can warm tissues, such as the ear area where you hold a cell phone.
  • Keep your cell phone away from your head as much as possible. Text as often as you can instead of phoning (but not while driving).
  • Use a cell phone earpiece - one with a cord if you are really worried.
  • It's OK to use your cell phone in your bedroom but keep it at least one arm's-length away from your bed. The same goes for plug-in radio alarm clocks, tablet computers, and baby monitors. 
  • Keep Wi-Fi routers outside the bedroom.
  • Do not use electric blankets, mattress pads, or heating pads.

 Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle, LLC on DrWeil.com (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being
in just eight weeks!
Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!
 

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe
Wellness Guide

Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet Food Pyramid
Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you
and their corresponding answers
from Dr. Weil.

 
Copyright © 2014 Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here