Aggregated data from two double‐blind base station provocation studies comparing individuals with idiopathic environmental intolerance with attribution to electromagnetic fields and controls
Data from two previous studies were aggregated to provide a statistically powerful test of whether exposure to electromagnetic fields (EMFs) produced by telecommunication base stations negatively affects well‐being in individuals who report idiopathic environmental illness with attribution to electromagnetic fields (IEI‐EMF) and control participants. A total of 102 IEI‐EMF and 237 controls participated in open provocation trials and 88 IEI‐EMF and 231 controls went on to complete double‐blind trials in which they were exposed to EMFs from a base station emitting either a Global System for Mobile Communication and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System or a Terrestrial Trunked Radio Telecommunications System signal. Both experiments included a comparison sham condition. Visual analog and symptom scales measured subjective well‐being. Results showed that IEI‐EMF participants reported lower levels of well‐being during real compared to sham exposure during open provocation, but not during double‐blind trials. Additionally, participants reported lower levels of well‐being during high compared to low load trials and this did not interact with radiofrequency‐EMF exposure. These findings are consistent with a growing body of literature indicating there is no causal relationship between short‐term exposure to EMFs and subjective well‐being in members of the public whether or not they report perceived sensitivity to EMFs.