Changes in Health Status in a Group of CFS and CF Patients Following Removal of Excessive 50 Hz Magnetic Field Exposure

Author(s): Don Maisch, AASc; John Podd, BA (Hons), MA, Ph.D.; Bruce Rapley, BSc, MPhil
Publication: Journal of Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine
Volume: Vol. 21 No. 1, pp. 15-19
Publisher: Australian College of Nutritional & Environmental Medicine
Date: April 2002

In December 1998 a paper published in the ACNEM Journal examined the hypothesis that prolonged exposure to excessive 50 Hz (power line frequency) magnetic fields may act as an immune system stressor giving rise to symptoms similar to those reported in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) or Chronic Fatigue (CF). This paper was based on a number of case histories, most notably a well-documented Workcare Compensation case (Melbourne, 1991). Here, a group of female office workers developed CFS-like symptoms when working in a room with strong 50 Hz magnetic fields emitted from an electrical substation immediately below the floor. The present paper briefly reports the results of a small-scale pilot study utilising 49 subjects suffering from CFS or ongoing CF, who were exposed to varying strength magnetic fields in their home environment. Some subjects were found to have prolonged exposure to magnetic fields >2 mG (milliGauss), which was used as a benchmark level. These subjects (Group A) were provided with advice and assistance regarding reducing their exposure level. The remainder of the subjects (Group B: <2 mG exposure level) were given no such advice or assistance. Changes in health status in both groups were recorded over a 6-month period. Results from the data collected at the start of the study showed no relationship between magnetic field strength and CFS/CF symptom severity. However, the majority of Group A subjects reported an improvement in symptoms and a marked improvement in sleep patterns, possibly due to the decrease in exposure. These results are discussed in the context of previous research showing disturbed sleep in the presence of magnetic fields. Such disturbances may come about through the effect of magnetic fields on melatonin secretion, a hormone involved in circadian functioning. Read / Download