Secondary Logo

Journal Logo

Institutional members access full text with Ovid®

COMAR Technical Information Statement: Expert Reviews on Potential Health Effects of Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields and Comments on the BioInitiative Report

The Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR)

doi: 10.1097/HP.0b013e3181adcb94

The Committee on Man and Radiation (COMAR) is a technical committee of the Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (EMBS) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Its primary area of interest is biological effects of non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation, including radiofrequency (RF) energy. The public interest in possible health effects attributed to RF energy, such as emitted by mobile phones, wireless telephone base stations, TV and radio broadcasting facilities, Wi-Fi systems and many other sources, has been accompanied by commentary in the media that varies considerably in reliability and usefulness for their audience. The focus of this COMAR Technical Information Statement is to identify quality sources of scientific information on potential health risks from exposure to RF energy. This Statement provides readers with references to expert reports and other reliable sources of information about this topic, most of which are available on the Internet. This report summarizes the conclusions from several major reports and comments on the markedly different conclusions in the BioInitiative Report (abbreviated BIR below). Since appearing on the Internet in August 2007, the BIR has received much media attention but, more recently, has been criticized by several health organizations (see Section titled “Views of health agencies about BIR”). COMAR concludes that the weight of scientific evidence in the RF bioeffects literature does not support the safety limits recommended by the BioInitiative group. For this reason, COMAR recommends that public health officials continue to base their policies on RF safety limits recommended by established and sanctioned international organizations such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers International Committee on Electromagnetic Safety and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection, which is formally related to the World Health Organization.

* The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc., Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society, Committee on Man and Radiation, 3 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10015-5997.

For correspondence contact: Marvin C. Ziskin, Center for Biomedical Physics, Temple University Medical School, 3420 N. Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA 19140, or email at

(Manuscript accepted 11 May 2009)

©2009Health Physics Society