Electromagnetic fields: perception of risk, exposure and health
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Electromagnetic fields (EMF) are of increasing public concern. Although scientific data have not been able to reveal a direct, causal link of exposure to EMF and health effects, many people claim to get health symptoms due to EMF exposure. The way lay people perceive the risk of EMF can be influenced by many factors, amongst others the perceived EMF exposure and their perceived health. When people ascribe (commonplace) health complaints to EMF, they tend to perceive a high EMF risk and/or a high exposure to EMF. The other way, when people judge the EMF risk as high, a perceived high exposure to EMF can lead to attribution of subjective health complaints to EMF exposure. More research should be done to reveal a potential, causal link between EMF exposure and objective health effects. On the other hand, people who ascribe symptoms to EMF exposure should be taken serious, though psychological factors play an important role in symptom attribution.