Radiofrequency (RF) Radiation

Statement by Academy of Medicine Singapore

What the Academy of Medicine Singapore says…   
Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) or Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance to Electromagnetic Fields (IEI-EMF) is an ill-defined condition characterized by non-specific physical symptoms, which afflicted individuals attribute to their exposure or perceived exposure to electronic devices (e.g. mobile phone base stations, mobile devices, WIFI routers, household appliances, light bulbs, power lines/transformers) that emit electromagnetic fields (EMF). This attributed cause-effect relationship is controversial, has not been conclusively proven to exist by scientific research, and it remains unclear that it represents a single medical problem1.

EHS/IEI-EMF has been described to be accompanied by a variety of non-specific symptoms, such as skin manifestations (redness, tingling, burning sensation), fatigue difficulty in concentration, dizziness, nausea, palpitations, or digestive disturbances. The collection of symptoms is not usually part of any recognized medical syndrome.

There is currently no scientific evidence to link EMF exposure with the reported symptoms of EHS/IEI-EMF2. Controlled experiments that have attempted to investigate this link have shown that patients purported suffering from EHS/IEI-EMF cannot detect EMF exposure any more accurately than non-EHS/IEI-EMF individuals, and that symptoms experienced were not correlated to EMF exposure.

While several pathophysiological mechanisms have been postulated, there remains no proven nor widely accepted explanations by authorities on how exposure to EMF might cause the symptoms reported by individuals with EHS/IEI-EMF. A systematic review of 29 included studies with at least single blinding did not find reliable and consistent evidence to suggest that individuals with EHS/IEI-EMF experienced any unusual physiological responses when exposed to EMF3. EHS/IEI-EMF remains poorly understood and is generally not accepted by authorities as a mainstream medical diagnosis unless new insights are gleaned from future research.

Individuals who report symptoms that they attribute to exposure to EMF should first be medically evaluated to identify and treat any specific medical conditions or mental health disorders that may be responsible for the symptoms. As part of the holistic medical evaluation, the medical practitioner should enquire and address specific triggers for the symptoms. If workplace factors are suspected, or if the individual’s workability is affected, the individual may be referred to an occupational physician for further assessment.

Information issued by the Academy of Medicine Singapore,
College of Public Health and Occupational Physicians on 20 April 2021.

1World Health Organization. (2005, December). Electromagnetic hypersensitivity.
2Rubin, G. J., Das Munshi, J., & Wessely, S. (2005). Electromagnetic hypersensitivity: a systematic review of provocation studies. Psychosomatic medicine, 67(2), 224–232.
3Rubin, G.J., Hillert, L., Nieto-Hernandez, R., van Rongen, E. and Oftedal, G. (2011), Do people with idiopathic environmental intolerance attributed to electromagnetic fields display physiological effects when exposed to electromagnetic fields? A systematic review of provocation studies. Bioelectromagnetics, 32: 593-609.