BioInitiative: A Rationale for a Biologically-based Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Radiation

The 2007 Report

The Bioinitiative report was published in August 2007.  It is produced by a grouping of scientists from around the world and edited by David Carpenter and Cindy Sage from the USA.  Each chapter appears to be written by a single author rather than being the product of a review group.  The group came together purely for the purpose of writing the report and does not have any formal status.

The Report rates the science as considerably stronger than bodies such as WHO and HPA.  It is fair to say it is out of line with mainstream scientific thinking on EMFs.  For instance, a key conclusion is:

"There is little doubt that exposure to ELF causes childhood leukemia."

whereas most other bodies recognise there is some evidence in favour but think there is considerable doubt as to whether there is actually a causal relationship.  Similarly, Bioinitiative conclude:

"The evidence from studies on women in the workplace rather strongly suggests that ELF is a risk factor for breast cancer for women with long-term exposures of 10 mG and higher."

whereas WHO and similar bodies recently concluded that the evidence on breast cancer has become weaker and there is now some confidence it is not caused by EMFs.

A key message of Bioinitiative is about exposure limits:

"The clear consensus of the BioInitiative Working Group members is that the existing public safety limits are inadequate for both ELF and RF."

This is flatly contradictory to the bodies which actually have the responsibility for setting exposure limits such as HPA.  See more detail on the scientific reviews by the HPA and their  latest statements on exposure limits.

The European Environment Agency contributed one chapter to the Bioinitiative Report, without actually endorsing the rest of the Report - see their statement on this.

The 2012 Update

The Bioinitiative Report was updated in 2012.  Some of the chapters were revised, some have new chapters now offered alongside the original.  The changes appear to be mainly to do with radiofrequencies, with the conclusions on power frequencies seeming fairly similar to the original.