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EMF Studies

05 June 2012

Electrosensitivity (ES, EHS) Physiologically Explained by Professor Dominique Belpomme

The following article is a more detailed explanation by Professor Dominique Belpomme of the Electromagnetic Fields Intolerance Syndrome, or electrosensitivity.  Prof. Belpomme had delivered a presentation of this subject at the 8th National Congress on Electrosmog which took place in Berne, Switzerland, on 30 April 2011.  The article was published in the Canadian magazine, “Maison du 21ème siècle” on 13 January 2012 by André Fauteux and translated into English by Emilie Paniagua, Robin des Toits.

Wi-Fi, EMFs:  Electrosensitivity (ES, EHS) At Last Physiologically Explained 

In 2007, a number of library employees in Paris complained about headaches, nausea... right after massive installation of Wi-Fi emitters in their offices. This led to a fight between Paris city hall and worker unions (giving way to the setting up of a citizen conference on proliferation of EMFs in Paris).

At the French National Library BNF, and more recently in the Paris subway transport company RATP, the debate takes place in the same deleterious conditions between unions and corporations concerning questions about health implications at work relating to the proliferation of these new wireless technologies in businesses. Everyone now has access for the first time to an answer regarding intolerance to EMFs published in the Canadian newspaper  "La Maison du 21ème Siècle".

French researchers have just shown that electromagnetic fields (EMFs) notably modify blood and brain physiology in electrosensitive (ES) people, and that the impact on those biological markers rises and falls with intensity of the exposure. "We do know with certainty that electrohypersensitivity is not psychosomatic", oncologist Professor Dominique Belpomme tells us in a telephone interview. "EMFs do trigger major effects in the brain. The most important effect is the opening of the blood-brain barrier. This allows mercury, organochlorates and other toxics to pervade the brain, where they cause diverse ailments and neurodegenerative diseases." Prof. Belpomme records 20 new patients per week.

An oncology professor at Paris Descartes University, Prof. Belpomme is President of the Association for Research and Treatments against Cancer (French acronym ARTAC, artac.info), which shifted to cancer prevention from 2004 on. Since May 2008, his team has been studying what he named Electromagnetic Fields Intolerance Syndrome (French acronym SICEM). "I have 450 patients and I see up to 20 new patients each week, including children with headaches, memory loss, attention or language troubles. We have the biggest cluster in Europe of electrosensitive patients. This is a major problem in public health."

ES, or SICEM, is an extreme reaction to fairly low exposure levels to electric and magnetic fields of low frequency (50-60Hz) emitted by electric wires and electrical apparatuses, up to 10MHz or 300GHz radiofrequencies, including microwaves, wireless devices and their antennas. This syndrome is recognized in Sweden as a handicap giving way to diverse modifications of the environment by protective devices for lowering exposures that can be state-subsidized.

Most sensitive cases are wrongly ascribed to psychiatry : the symptoms (cardiovascular, dermatological, neurological and muscular) of these persons are so strong that they have to protect themselves with special clothing, paints, metal shieldings, ideally connected to the electrical ground. Others move to forests, caves, and remote places, far away from EMF emissions.

Prof. Belpomme's team established a diagnostic method based on blood tests and a special type of electroencephalogram (pulsed doppler echographics) which enables them to visualize blood flows in the brain. "These patients are sure to have troubles in brain vascularization", says the oncologist.

Moreover, biological tests demonstrate that 30% have elevated histamine rates, 50% have an  elevated rate of stress proteins, most of them have a very low rate of melatonin (anticancer hormone), and 30% have antibodies and protein rates which indicate a thermal shock and brain suffering. He adds that half of his patients also develop hypersensitivity to man-made chemicals, both syndromes sharing common brain anomalies.

The oncologist explained to us there were 3 distinct levels of sensitivity to pollutants. At first, there is intolerance, triggered by pollutant polymorphism. "This means we are all different. For instance, 30% of the general population has the biggest risk of contracting cancer." Then lies susceptibility, a factor demonstrated by his Swedish colleague Lennard Hardell who observed 16 families with greater ES because of heredity. There also are active susceptibility factors "such as dental amalgams which act as antennas" catching the waves. Then, ES manifests in two stages : "the first stage is that of induction with overexposure to a specific frequency of EMFs, either acute or chronic, such as speaking on a mobile phone for 20 minutes a day, says Prof. Belpomme. The first signs of hypersensitivity are pain and a feeling of heat in the ear. The second step is constitution of the disease. Then sensitivity builds up and the person becomes intolerant to all frequencies."

The scientific council of ARTAC, a team made up of experienced researchers, is presided by Dr. Luc Montagnier, 2008 co-Nobel Prize Laureate for discovering the AIDS-causing human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).  The ARTAC research coordinator, nutrition specialist Dr. Philippe Irigaray, is one of the 5 international experts to have been recently invited by Health Research Funds in Quebec and who selected the best research project in environmental cancer prevention. Philippe Irigaray emphasizes that the human brain contains magnetosomes, iron oxides which behave like magnets. ES could depend on their quantity, which varies from person to person.

These researchers are now preparing 5 articles on electrosensitivity. "This requires a lot of time, says Prof. Belpomme. They will be published in one or two years." But independent and immediate action is required to reduce overexposure of people to EMFs, he adds. In France alone, an estimate puts 5% of people as being electrosensitive, and the proportion rises with the spread of wireless technologies. "Studies show that 10 to 50% of the population will face becoming very intolerant to EMFs in the next 25 to 50 years. Two patients of mine have multiple sclerosis triggered by overuse of cell phones, 3 cases of breast cancer, among which 2 relapses after overexposure to EMFs, daily use of computers - and proof is building up of autism and Alzheimer's disease, which seem to be triggered with a higher risk than cancer by EMF exposure. Causality is really possible."

Fortunately, this practitioner provides relief to patients as he administers nervous system tonics and helps close down the blood brain barrier with antihistamines. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no established link. In 2005, WHO claimed that ES symptoms could be psychosomatic or linked to other causes (bad vision, poor air quality, poor ergonomics, etc...) "There is no such thing as clear diagnosis criteria for this health problem, neither is there any scientific basis permitting the connection of ES symptoms to EMF exposure (...) Well controlled double-blind studies showed that those symptoms were not related to EMF exposure." To Prof. Dominique Belpomme, this is utter nonsense. "This is a political backwardness which shows nothing of a scientific nature. WHO will have to revise its judgment in the coming months. This is societal denial which doesn't take into account nowadays knowledge which is accumulating permanently."

According to this oncologist, the cause-effect link between EMF fields and leukemia is no longer to be doubted. "When doses increase, the rates of leukemia increase accordingly. Dozens of toxicological lab studies show that in the most obvious way, in vivo and in vitro."

Ontario researcher Magda Havas, from Trent University, claims that negative results to ES testing are compromised by major flaws. "Researchers would presume that reactions are instant, albeit very often there is a backlash delay. People are not instantly reactive electrical switches. Those studies erroneously infer that if nothing can be felt, then it shouldn't be harmful. We know very well that you cannot detect the taste of arsenic, lead, DDT, asbestos ; yet all of these are toxic."


  1. I am hoping to find out more about ES as I have had symptoms for over 4 years, and am looking for effective treatment options--thankyou Dave dwschock@gmail.com

    1. Thank you for your message.

      I myself am somewhat electrosensitive. I believe there is no set treatment, as we are all individuals and experience the condition differently which requires different solutions.

      One should limit exposure as much as possible. This starts in the home with a land-line phone and wired computer. Limit mobile phone use. (I do not have a mobile phone.)

      Hardly any doctors or health professionals are aware of EHS. We all react differently to electrosmog and I believe we have to research the solutions to see what works best for oneself. I have looked at the blood tests recommended by the Austrian Medical Association and Prof. Belpomme and their suggested treatment, including taking supplements. You could always go to Paris to see Prof. Belpomme, who is in the lead in Europe for EHS treatment and receives patients from all over the world...

      In Switzerland where I live, doctors do not recognize EHS as an official disease and therefore have no prescriptions to offer persons with this condition. Doctors practicing complementary or alternative medicine may be more receptive to our symptoms, but are they educated to treat us properly? I am working with an EMF advocacy group here which is trying to set up a network of doctors to help us. Those practicing homeopathic medicine, for example, seem more receptive. One must avoid doctors who tell you to look at the “psycho-social” aspects of symptoms, as doctor did from the Swiss group of Physicians for the Environment.

      I believe that EMF places the body of those who are sensitive to this in a chronic state of stress, so one key is to reduce stress. For me personally, natural vitamin C helps – acerola. I have also looked at Internet sites for information on foods that contain anti-radiation, anti-histamine properties. I have a number of mercury fillings in my teeth (one health professional says I may be suffering from a chemical sensitivity). I know one EHS person who has had all these removed and still suffers.

      Protective devices may help. The inventor of the anti-radiation sphere let me test it in my home. In the beginning, I felt and slept better, however after a while, the positive effect seemed to diminish. This device was however in the experimental stage. I have protective devices on my computer. Such devices are also available for mobile phones. The inventor is working on one for tablets.

      Perhaps conversing with other EHS persons will help. I find that being involved in advocacy – though sometimes stressful – also helps. Eventually things will move – taking Wi-Fi out of schools and libraries (already happening in Canada and France), reducing limit values of emissions, taking down antennas in sensitive areas. Telecoms manufacturers and operators will probably be forced one day to develop new technologies which will reduce or eliminate EMF emissions.

  2. thank you very much for your reply---I have some info that might help someone, as I have linked my ES and increase in ES to dental work with composite fillings--perhaps giving off BPA that effects hormones?? I have noticed major changes in my health after receiving composites (and in one case done to get rid of the mercury fillings!) --thank you again

    1. David, thank you for this insightful information. Some of the ES/EHS persons I've been in touch with have commented that removal of their mercury fillings has not eased their symptoms.

    2. Getting amalgam fillings removed releases a lot of mercury into the body, it takes a few months after the killings are removed to feel better.

  3. I'm working in a high emf zone and suffer scores of symptoms. I had my four metal fillings removed about 4 months ago. Clearly there is no 'cure all' for EHS. But it helped in a modest way. My glands are less swollen, I no longer have a metallic taste when under EMF stress, and more importantly, my memory is functioning better--or less worse. I still suffer chronic fatigue, but i think less pronounced. It's had less of an impact on symptoms below the neck: heart irregularities and palpitations, congested circulation, muscle weakness, etc. But for anyone considering it, I'd say it's worth doing. Even the slightest improvement was a welcome though small comfort.

    Thank you for this excellent article. It literally warmed my heart to see the words "We do know with certainty that electrohypersensitivity is not psychosomatic". Something I've known throughout my ordeal, but friends, family and doctors can't seem to accept.

    1. I appreciate your feedback. Pr Belpomme is one of the leading researchers in this field and knows what he is talking about, having seen and treated so many persons who are electrosensitive. I sympathize with you - my friends, family and doctors don't understand what I'm talking about when I tell them I'm sensitive to EMF. They don't understand how something invisible and which everyone says is safe can make us suffer so much physically. But I do notice they are uncomfortable when I talk about the potential harm of EMF.

    2. Thank you for your website Meris and for the article on Dr Belpomme. I have suffered from severe to moderate electro-sensitivity (and increasing multiple chemical sensitivity) for over three years. The sad truth as Dr Belpomme points out is that the world is in denial about the dangers of EMFs and the multi billion pound technological industries do their best to convince us it is safe when that is questionable at best and entirely untrue at worst. As you say families and friends are uncomfortable about accepting electrosensitivty exists, it threatens their world and perceived comforts. Doctors are generally not interested as no one wants to ruin their careers with espousing theories or research that would question and threaten the multi billion pound tech sectors or chemical industries.
      The best us ES sufferers can do is continue to campaign and co-ordinate our efforts. It is very important to have bona fide scientists and doctors such as Dr Belpomme, Dr Havas and many intrepid and brave others on board validate ES as a disease of physiological cause. One day we can ony hope the world wakes up.
      Can I ask you if you know whether the French refuge group in the white zone in France still exists?

    3. I'm trying to get information on white zones in France and will let you know.

    4. Re. white zones in France, here is the reply from Robin des Toits: There are still very rare "white zones" in France but access to them is very difficult. Those which we have been able to find are "gray". We are, however, seeing the start of a "disconnected" tourism, that is, hotels without wi-fi guaranteed.