Possible Health Implications of Subjective Symptoms and Electromagnetic Fields A Report Prepared by a European Group of Experts for the European Commission, DG V

Possible Health Implications of Subjective Symptoms and Electromagnetic Fields A Report Prepared by a European Group of Experts for the European Commission, DG V
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   arbete och hälsa    vetenskaplig skriftserie ISBN 91–7045–438–8 ISSN 0346–7821 1997:19 Possiblehealthimplicationsofsubjectivesymptomsandelectromagneticfields  AreportpreparedbyaEuropeangroupofexpertsfortheEuropeanCommission,DGV     UlfBergqvistandEviVogel(eds) LeifAringer             JoeCunningham FabriziomariaGobba  NorbertLeitgeb LuisMiroGeorgNeubauer     IngeburgRuppe PaoloVecchiaCeciliaWadman National Institute for Working Life EUROPEAN COMMISSION DIRECTORATE-GENERAL VEMPLOYMENT, INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS AND SOCIAL AFFAIRSPublic health and safety at workPublic health analysis, policy and programme coordination and development Thisworkwasmade possible by financialsupportfrom the DGV ofthe EuropeanCommission (SOC     96 200576 05  F      O1             ).  Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalfofthe Commissionisresponsible for the use which mightbe made ofthe following information.      A greatdealofadditionalinformation on the European Union isavailable on theinternet.Itcan be accessed through the European server (  ARBETE OCH HÄLSARedaktör: Anders KjellbergRedaktionskommitté:   Anders Colmsjöoch Ewa Wigaeus Hjelm© European Commission DG V, National Institute for Working Life& the authors 1997Arbetslivsinstitutet,171 84 Solna, SverigeISBN 91–7045–438–8ISSN 0346-7821Printed at CM Gruppen NationalInstituteforWorkingLife  The National Institute for Working Life is Sweden'scenter for research and development on labour market, working life and work environment. Diffusion of infor-mation, training and teaching, local development andinternational collaboration are other important issues forthe Institute. The R&D competence will be found in the followingareas: Labour market and labour legislation, work   organization and production technology, psychosocial working conditions, occupational medicine, allergy,effects on the nervous system, ergonomics, work   environment technology and musculoskeletal disorders,chemical hazards and toxicology. A total of about 470 people work at the Institute, around 370  with research and development. The Institute’s staff        includes 32  professors and in total 122 persons with apostdoctoral degree. The National Institute for Working Life has a largeinternational collaboration in R&D, including a numberof projects within the EC Framework Programme forResearch and Technology Development.  Table of Contents Summary, conclusions and recommendations1Description1Literature review1Risk perception and risk communication2Available information3Handling3Recommendations4Introduction5General background5Organisation of the project work6Invited experts and acknowledgements7Description of Òelectromagnetic hypersensitivityÓ8Preamble8Questionnaires8Symptoms9Attribution to sources10The extent of Òelectromagnetic hypersensitivityÓ11Some case descriptions13Stage 114Stage 215Stage 315Possible causal factors for subjective symptoms related to "electromagnetichypersensitivityÓ16General population-based studies16Low frequency fields and neurasthenic or similar endpoints16Radiofrequency fields and neurasthenic or similar endpoints17Skin symptoms among VDU users18Reactions among individuals with possible special sensitivity18Individual and possibly predisposing factors19Electric or magnetic fields and "electromagnetic hypersensitivity"19Other suggested factors for "electromagnetic hypersensitivity"20Perception and communication of risks due to electromagnetic fields21Risk perception21Factors influencing risk perception21The appraisal of risk23  Risk communication24Risk communication about electromagnetic fields24The role of the media25Conclusions26Information material used in different countries of the EU27Stakeholders involved in the preparation and dissemination of information material27Companies27Health authorities28Scientists28Self-aid groups and other private organisations29Information material prepared for different target groups29General public, including schools and fringe groups29Occupationally exposed people30Authorities, such as health authorities, ministries and otherdecision makers31Conclusions31Handling of individuals claiming "electromagnetic hypersensitivity"32Rationale for handling32On the identity of " electromagnetic hypersensitivity"32On the causation of "electromagnetic hypersensitivity"33On handling of individuals with "electromagnetic hypersensitivity"33General outline34Prevention of symptom appearance in a population35Intervention or early handling of afflicted cases36Treatment of individuals with long-lasting symptoms and severehandicap37Concerning actions directed towards electric, magnetic orelectromagnetic field sources38Recommendations40Handling of individuals with Òelectromagnetic hypersensitivityÓ40Information activities41Further scientific research42References44Appendix 1. Questionnaire resultsApp 1:1IntroductionApp 1:1MethodsApp 1:2ResultsApp 1:3  Awareness and contact with the problemApp 1:3The extent of the problemApp 1:5Concerning situations where problems appearApp 1:6Attributed sourcesApp 1:7Commonly occurring symptomsApp 1:8Concerning consequences for the afflicted individualsApp 1:12Correspondence between Óelectromagnetic hypersensitivityÓ and other syndromesApp 1:13Appendix 2. Questionnaires to centers for occupational medicine and self aidgroupsApp 2:1Questionnaires to centers for occupational medicineApp 2:2Questionnaires to self aid groupsApp 2:9Appendix 3. Review of investigations into possible causal factors forsubjective symptoms related to "electromagnetic hypersensitivityÓApp 3:1PreambleApp 3:1General population-based studiesApp 3:3AimApp 3:3Neurasthenic symptoms and exposure to low frequency fieldsApp 3:3Neurasthenic symptoms and exposure to radiofrequency fieldsApp 3:11Skin symptoms among VDU usersApp 3:15Reactions among individuals with possible special sensitivityApp 3:21AimApp 3:21Groups defined by self-definition, symptoms and/or attributionApp 3:22Individual and possibly predisposing factorsApp 3:23Sensitivity and reactions to external factorsApp 3:27Summary - individuals with possible special sensitivityApp 3:33ReferencesApp 3:36Appendix 4: Risk perception and communication App 4:1ReferencesApp 4:5Appendix 5. Information materialApp 5:1Address list of organisations and institutions asked for informationmaterial on electromagnetic fieldsApp 5:1Contact letterApp 5:7Evaluation checklistApp 5:8Information brochures from different European countriesApp 5:10
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