Back in the 1990s the Swedish Union of Clerical and Technical Employees in Industry (SIF) was quite active in researching the problem of chemical and electrical hypersensitivity in the modern IT workplace. Since then these issues have been relegated to the background – for reasons to be explored in a forthcoming paper. However a search through the members only SIF website has found a brief mention of Electrosensitivity. Of special interest is mention of a significant increase in reports of the condition. Translation by Olle Johansson, June 17, 2007.
There are still no unambiguous scientific explanations to what is the cause for EHS. For the person who gets afflicted the condition can mean great problems since the use of electricity is an important part of society.
The persons who suffers from EHS often have many, different symptoms. A great number of sufferers describe redness, heat and pain in their skin during work at visual displays units/terminals. A pricking sensation and numbness are other symptoms. Another group describes that proximity to light ray tubes produces symptoms. Other sources for such are said to be TV, electric stoves, telephones, cars, trains and even sunlight.
What causes EHS?
There are theories about everything from psychological causes to electromagnetic forces from visual display units/tereminals. Science has yet not been able to explain why the symptoms arise.
In Spring 2003, 959 Sif members filled in a questionnaire about EHS. 622 said that they had severe troubles, which was a doubling compared to a corresponding questionnaire in 1995. Just barely half had informed his or hers superior and only 11% had filed a worker’s injury complaint. The figures are worrying since they tell that the problem is larger than we understand.
Measures to take
If you consider yourself to be affected by EHS, it is important that the employer quickly makes an investigation. It ought to be done using a broad perspective and without an early focus on single causative factors. It is usual that there are medical, ergonomical psychological and other environmental-related problems that can be remedied.
The workplace”ôs occupational health service can be a good aid. The employer is, according to law, responsible for adapting the workplace to each one’s possibilities. By making a so-called electrosanitation the employer can decrease the electromagnetic fields.”
The Swedish language version is available at: https://sif.se/Templates/Article____286.aspxLeave a reply →