Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Symptoms Experienced by Persons with Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity: Submissions to FCC Docket #13-84

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requested public input regarding radio frequency radiation (RFR) exposure limits and policies in the United States via Docket #13-84 in 2013. The earliest submission for this docket was dated June 24, 2012. As of January 21, 2020, the FCC had received 1,302 submissions for this docket.

In November 2013, the cities of Boston and Philadelphia filed a submission to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) (Dockets #13-84 and #03-137) that accused the FCC and federal health agencies of negligence for failing to investigate whether electrosensitive persons are harmed by wireless radiation:
"The FCC admits its own lack of expertise in the field. But the overlap of federal agency responsibilities for RF radiation protection and the merely advisory status of the Radiofrequency Interagency Work Group often leaves leadership unclear and encourages a pass-the-buck attitude ..."
"The 1999-2000 judicial challenge to the FCC’s 1996 rules never reached the issue of “electrosensitivity” as a cognizable disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. (“ADA”) Here again, an agency responsible for ADA implementation acknowledges that the impairment may be disabling but has promised merely further inquiry. After more than a decade, that investigation remains unopened. The dockets here have been updated with massive additional evidence of the crippling effects of RF radiation on an admitted minority – but a suffering minority – of U.S. citizens. The FCC and its sister regulatory agencies share responsibility for adherence to the ADA and should replace promises with serious attention to a serious medical problem. This is one area where the FCC could lead in advice to electrosensitive persons about prudent avoidance."
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is the nation's first comprehensive civil rights law that addresses the needs of people with disabilities, prohibiting discrimination in employment, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications. The ADA defines a disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a history of having such an impairment, or being regarded as having such an impairment.

Many of the submissions to Docket #13-84 called on the FCC to strengthen existing RFR exposure limits. I created an index with links to representative submissions for this docket on my Electromagnetic Radiation Safety web site located at The index is organized using the following categories: (1) resolutions from scientists calling for stronger regulations; (2) expert comments that support stronger regulations; (3) expert comments that support weaker regulations; (4) advice from consumer, environmental and health organizations; (5) advice from government agencies; (6) advice from wireless industry corporations and associations; and (7) miscellaneous other. I also created links to important scientific papers submitted for this docket.

The following results are based on submissions to FCC Docket #13-84 from persons who self-identified as experiencing electromagnetic sensitivity or hypersensitivity (EHS).

Persons Reporting Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS) in Submissions
to FCC Docket #13-84 (N = 184)
TABLE 1: Common Symptoms Attributed to Radio Frequency Radiation Exposure
(N = 1641)
52% Headaches or migraines
48% Other neuro-cognitive problems (memory/concentration/confusion/dizziness)
31% Insomnia or sleep disorders
29% Cardiovascular problems (mostly heart palpitations)
23% Tinnitus (ringing in ears)
18% Digestive problems (mostly nausea)
17% Fatigue
16% Nervous system disorders
13% Eyes/vision problems
 8% Muscular problems (weakness, pain)
32% Other symptoms

1 Of the 184 individuals who reported experiencing EHS in their submissions to FCC Docket #13-84, many reported multiple symptoms and/or sources of exposure. Twenty individuals did not report symptoms, and 27 did not report sources of exposure.

The report can be downloaded from:

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Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity (EHS)