Nurses address electromagnetic pollution

Nurses address electromagnetic pollution

Environmental Health is important throughout the life cycle. From preconception to aging populations, the environment is a contributor to health and illness. 1

There’s no doubt that electromagnetic fields affect people’s health and now nurses are taking an interest, too.

In a new open-access textbook for nurses, The Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments (ANHE) addresses the issue of electromagnetic pollution and makes recommendations about what nursing staff – and families – can do to reduce exposure.

‘Humans are electrical beings. Our cells communicate with tiny electrical impulses which affect our heart, our brain, our nervous system, and our endocrine system,’ say Catherine Dodd and Theodora Scarato, writing in the second edition of ‘Environmental Health in Nursing’. They point out the importance of the environment for human health and say that a healthy environment is a universal need and fundamental human right.’ 2

The authors explain the harmful effects of exposure – including damage to DNA, reproduction, the nervous system and brain development. They discuss its impact on different systems of the body and how it contributes to electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) – the myriad of unpleasant symptoms that people can develop when they’ve been exposed.

The most vulnerable to exposure are children, the authors say. They not only absorb more radiation than adults, but actively growing cells are more sensitive to it as well.

The authors refer to policies that governments of different countries have introduced to reduce people’s exposure, and make recommendations about how exposure can be reduced, for example, during pregnancy, at home and when using mobile phones.

‘Nurses can integrate their understanding of EMFs into their clinical practice and include interview questions about technology use and EMF exposure in their assessments. When patients present with EHS symptoms, such as headache, insomnia, irritability, they should be further assessed for EMF sensitivity,’ the authors say.

1. Judith Focareta, ‘Environmental Health and Families/Homes’

2. Catherine Dodd and Theodora Scarato. "A New Form of Environmental Pollution: Wireless and Non-Ionizing Electromagnetic Fields."

‘Environmental Health in Nursing’, 2nd Edition, edited by Ruth McDermott-Levy, Kathryn P. Jackman-Murphy, Jeanne Leffers, and Adelita Cantuz, Mt. Rainier, MD: Alliance of Nurses for Healthy Environments, 2022, pp. 136-153. URL:

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