Electrosensitivity recognized as a disability by the Access Board

The Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board (Access Board) is the Federal agency devoted to the accessibility for people with disabilities.

As stated in the Background for its Final Rule Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines for Buildings and Facilities; Recreation Facilities that was published in September 2002: “The Board recognizes that multiple chemical sensitivities and electromagnetic sensitivities may be considered disabilities under the ADA if they so severely impair the neurological, respiratory or other functions of an individual that it substantially limits one or more of the individual’s major life activities. The Board plans to closely examine the needs of this population, and undertake activities that address accessibility issues for these individuals”.

Following its recognition of electro sensitivity and its declaration of commitment to attend to the needs of the electromagnetic sensitive, the Access Board contracted the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) to examine how to accommodate the needs of the electro sensitive in federally funded buildings.

For people who are electromagnetically sensitive, the presence of cell phones and towers, portable telephones, computers, fluorescent lighting, unshielded transformers and wiring, battery re-chargers, wireless devices, security and scanning equipment, microwave ovens, electric ranges and numerous other electrical appliances can make a building inaccessible.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) notes that scientific studies have raised questions about the possible health effects of EMF’s.

NIOSH recommends the following measures for those wanting to reduce EMF exposure – informing workers and employers about possible hazards of magnetic fields, increasing workers’ distance from EMF sources, using low-EMF designs wherever possible (e.g., for layout of office power supplies), and reducing EMF exposure times.



4 thoughts on “Electrosensitivity recognized as a disability by the Access Board

  1. It’s about time! I know many people who suffer from this condition. It’s hard to believe it unless you’ve actually became familiar with a person affected affected severely with electromagnetic sensitivity.


  2. I as well am glad to see at long last this is being recognised as a disability. In 2003 I was granted 100% disability by Social Security for multiple chemical sensitivity as well many other things that accompanied it, like mold sensitivity, 100% food allergies, fibromyalgia and heavy metals poisoning and many others. , After 35 years working in communications at John F. Kennedy Space center in Florida I developed all of this to a point that I could no longer get near any of the electronics without intense pain. I was also a commercial radio broadcast engineer and can no longer do any work in that field either. But back then Social Security did not have and still don’t have EMF sensitivity on their official list as far as I know. But in granting my disability the administrative law judge stated it was still a valid claim. But even now I am penalized to the tune of a $95 “sign up fee” and $13 per month by the power company to keep my old analog power meter that does not transmit RF.


  3. Hello – the title of this article is incorrect, and I am glad I found it because I have been wondering the source of this mis-statement in the community. If you change the title to “by the Access Board,” it will be correct. The ADA – Americans with Disabilities Act does not recognize disabilities, and the DOJ-ADA also does not, but is for guidance. These words are by the Access Board (Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board). Kindly change it to stop the confusion. Thank you


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