Electromagnetic hypersensitivity close to mobile phone base stations

Lennart Hardell, Tarmo Koppel.  Electromagnetic hypersensitivity close to mobile phone base stations – a case study in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Reviews on Environmental Health. Mar 2, 2022. doi: 10.1515/reveh-2021-0169.


A previously healthy worker developed symptoms assigned to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) after moving to an office with exposure to high levels of anthropogenic electromagnetic fields (EMFs). These symptoms consisted of e.g. headache, arthralgia, tinnitus, dizziness, memory loss, fatique, insomnia, transitory cardiovascular abnormalities, and skin lesions. Most of the symptoms were alleviated after 2 weeks sick leave.

The highest radiofrequency (RF) field level at the working place was 1.72 V/m (7,852 μW/m2). Maximum value for extremely low frequency electromagnetic field (ELF-EMF) from electric power at 50 Hz was measured to 285 nT (mean 241 nT). For electric train ELF-EMF at 16.7 Hz was measured to 383 nT (mean 76 nT). Exposure to EMFs at the working place could be the cause for developing EHS related symptoms. The association was strengthened by the symptom reduction outside the working place.


This investigation established three possible reasons for developing health symptoms associated with the EMF exposure, including the following.

  1. The working room was right below the mobile phone base station antenna, located on the roof of the building. The close proximity to these antennas caused significantly high RF radiation exposure in the working area.
  2. The working room is also positioned close to lower radiofrequency transmitter (TETRA emergency services), located on the neighboring roof of the same building.
  3. The working room was positioned within 20 m from the electric train railroad. 16 Hz magnetic field from the railroad power cable was on some instances the highest ELF MF component in the room, exceeding even the power grid 50 Hz MFs. Also, railroad power cable induced a fluctuating magnetic field in the office due to the coming and passing electric trains. As trains come and go, this introduces a change in the electric power supplied by the railroad electric cable. Consequently the magnetic field also changes in great amplitude.

In conclusion, there are at least three types of electromagnetic fields present in the working room, which cause a long term exposure to the workers. Exposure to multiple source electromagnetic fields could be the cause for developing EHS related symptoms. However, the person had been exposed to ELF-EMF also at other locations in the building, so exposure to RF-EMF seems to be the most probable cause to her developed health problems.

Open access paper: https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/reveh-2021-0169/html