REVOLT opposing unnecessary, excessive and intrusive powerline development

opposing unnecessary, excessive
and intrusive powerline development

REVOLT Newsletter 363

Revolt news 7/01/2013 Print (pdf) Version

1. A new updated report BioInitiative 2012 is at with free access. In twenty-one chapters of this 2012 update, 29 independent scientists and health experts from 10 countries assess about 1800 new research papers (from 2006 to 2011) regarding possible risks from wireless technologies and electromagnetic fields. The report is downloadable in 29 separate sections (28 + preface). When you click on each section you get links to pdf documents of both the 2007 version (where it exists) and the 2012 “supplement”. So far there does not seem to be a single pdf for the whole 2012 report (which would be quite large).

2. The BioInitiative (BI) website says: “Bioeffects are clearly established to occur with very low exposure levels (non-thermal levels) to electromagnetic fields and radiofrequency radiation exposures” and “The last five years worth of new scientific studies tell us the situation is much worse than in 2007 and yet people around the world have so much more daily exposure than even five years ago.”

3. BI 2012 is subtitled: “A Rationale for a Biologically-based Public Exposure Standard for Electromagnetic Fields (ELF and RF)”. This has been the main aim of the BI project – to promote exposure standards (limits) which reflect evidenced biological effects rather than officially established (proven) harm to human health. There is of course a lot of politics in officially establishing harm.

4. BI 2012 argues for a policy of avoiding exposure levels of any observed effect, e.g. from Chapter 24: “The approach in this chapter relies on "lowest levels at which effects are not seen" akin to the “no observed effect level (NOEL)” used for chemical exposures, as a sufficient basis to establish scientific benchmarks for harm (or alternately, the lowest observed effects level of exposure).” It also has a 10-fold reduction factor for chronic exposure and another 10-fold factor for individual sensitivity. These could be very demanding levels for exposure reduction and the NOEL (or LOEL) approach takes account of only one side of the cost-benefit assessment.

5. Table 1-1 Conclusions 2012 is given in a separate pdf, essentially a copy-&-paste from the many chapters. I could not find a clear list of final recommendations nor of suggested public exposure standards or limits. Chapter 24 is titled “Key Scientific Evidence and Public Health Policy Recommendations” yet has only scattered and piecemeal “common sense” recommendations such as: “Men of child-bearing age should not wear wireless devices on their body in order to protect the integrity of sperm DNA”.

6. BI 2012 Section 1 (Summary for the Public and Conclusions) ends with a Subsection IV on Recommended Actions, subdivided into two parts: A on defining preventative actions and B on defining a new effect level. Both parts are specifically about RF Radiation (RFR) not about ELF-EMF. After discussing potential pulsed RF effects, section B argues for a reduction from the BioInitiative 2007 recommendation of 0.1 µW/cm2 for cumulative outdoor RFR down to something three orders of magnitude lower, concluding “This equates to a 0.3 nanowatts to 0.6 nanowatts per square centimeter as a reasonable, precautionary action level for chronic exposure to pulsed RFR.”

7. There does not appear to be any change to the 2007 recommendations regarding ELF or power frequency EMF exposure standards. There is a conclusion that such exposure should be regarded as IARC Class 1 (a known carcinogen), not just IARC 2B. The BI recommended standard for ELF-EMF would appear to remain as in BI 2007 principally for 1mG (0.1µT) for habitable space.

8. The main outcome of BI 2012 will be the extensive addition to the range of scientific evidence, whereas the main outcome with its recommendations seems to be no change for ELF-EMF (remaining principally 0.1 µT) and three orders of magnitude reduction for RFR (to 0.3 – 0.6 nW/cm2) based on a NOEL or LOEL approach of avoiding levels of any observed effect (and then extrapolated down by extra factors presumed for chronic exposure and individual sensitivity).

9. As with the first report BI 2007, BI 2012 is a very important collection of evidence and argument. While the process, presentation and rigour of its conclusions and recommendations are again somewhat disappointing, BI 2012 looks likely to have an impact in 2013 and to bring more pressure on national and international authorities to take precautionary measures especially on mobile phones.

Statements made by the editor or by other parties and quoted for information do not necessarily represent the views of Revolt. Criticism of government and industry, and grievances from members of the public, are in the nature of Revolt's work, though we try to give credit where it is due. Revolt is strictly non-party-political and regrets any offence which may be inadvertently caused.




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