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Implanted RFID Chips Linked To Cancer 247

An anonymous reader writes "The Associated Press is reporting that microchip implants have induced cancer in laboratory animals and dogs. A series of research articles spanning more than a decade found that mice and rats injected with glass-encapsulated RFID transponders developed malignant, fast-growing, lethal cancers in up to 1% to 10% of cases. The tumors originated in the tissue surrounding the microchips and often grew to completely surround the devices. To date, about 2,000 RFID devices have been implanted in humans worldwide, according to VeriChip Corp." We recently discussed the California ban on companies requiring such implants.
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Implanted RFID Chips Linked To Cancer

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  • What about pets? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @02:57PM (#20522421)
    Hasn't it been common practice to inject pets with RFIDs for many years now?
    Have these implants been causing cancer too?
  • by Chmcginn ( 201645 ) * on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:06PM (#20522489) Journal

    Hasn't it been common practice to inject pets with RFIDs for many years now?

    Have these implants been causing cancer too?
    Don't know. If the increase is small enough, and takes upwards of a decade to take affect, it would be difficult to notice outside of trials.
  • by dontspitconfetti ( 1153473 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:21PM (#20522617) Homepage
    but, we implanted one of these RFID chips while you were passed out last night. Tough luck, dude! But, seriously, couldn't there be a percentage of people that don't remember or don't even know they have these chips? That would be a scary thought...
  • by cpghost ( 719344 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:22PM (#20522623) Homepage
    RFID chips do emit radio signals when sending data back to the transmitter. A receive-only RFID is kinda pointless...
  • by The Monster ( 227884 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:27PM (#20522663) Homepage
    So "up to 1% to 10% of cases" (whatever the hell that means) got cancer. Did they mention what percentage of mice that weren't implanted with RFID tags got cancer? It really matters what the baseline is, you know.
  • Lack of Science. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by edibobb ( 113989 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:34PM (#20522711) Homepage
    "none of the studies had a control group of animals that did not get chips, the normal rate of tumors cannot be determined and compared to the rate with chips implanted." The AP (and the Slashdot post) report this as if it were a fact that RFID emissions cause cancer. You cannot intelligently draw that conclusion from these studies, since there was no control group with inert RFIDs implanted. This is yet another inaccurate portrayal of an inconclusive, pseudo-scientific paper as fact. When I am emporer, I will require all journalists to take a remedial science course. "studies have shown..." == "here comes a crock..."
  • by Limburgher ( 523006 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:37PM (#20522737) Homepage Journal
    Hey now, that's really crude. Here I am expressing a legitimate concern for the health of another human being where it may very well be warranted, and all you can do is make 5th-grade level jokes.

    Her health ought to be first priority. Her dreamaliciousness must come second. Er, . . .
  • by aepervius ( 535155 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:39PM (#20522763)
    Firstly there are all sort of tumor, but as far as this only means "abnormal tissue growth". The one which metastases and invade all tissue are malignant and left untreated as far as I can tell, always kill you, either by destroying utterly the organ they originate from or by metastasis. What you are thinking of is some sort of benign tumor which surround a foreign body. I dunno how often it happens, but usually what surround a foreign body is scar tissue, or even necrotic tissue, not tumoral tissue (biologist correct me). Tumoral tissue in that specific would happens only when the signal triggering the scar growth run awry or the stop signal is not detected sufficiently.

    Now about tumor which removed, and suddenly become mortal (your second part). I call bullshit on that one. Some benign tumor might turn malignant with timem on their own, but not due to medicinal intervention as you seem to pretend. I can't also imagine a tumor left for many years and suddenly the doctor says "oh we need to take that out now, radio therapy and chemio !". I would say it is rather that the doctor detected that the tumor did go from benign to malignant and my guess is that since they knew he/she had a tumor for years most probably it is a skin tumor easy to detect and can be deadly if change are not detected quick enough (it happens. I had a naevus (big sort of mole 4 cm wide) which changed of texture when I was 13. Out of concern the oncologue ordered immediate chirurgy and a biopsy. From what I gathered it can happens that such a big mole with time turn malignant. Turn out that had to take a LOT of my left muscle out over 13 cm and more than 2 cm deep, but biopsy was negative. Relief ensured).

    Bottom line : you are mixing up cause and effect. It was not the therapy which was caused your friend tumor to grow malignant, it was the tumor growing malignant which caused your friend go get a therapy which failed and he died.

    PS: I say friend above, but it seems after rereading your post it was only an acquaintance , and thus the quality of the info your present is even doubly doubtful.
  • by ZombieWomble ( 893157 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:40PM (#20522779)
    Checking over the descriptions of the papers, it looks like they were trialling chips in large numbers of mice for other reasons, and apparently decided to knock out an extra paper with the "omg cancer!" angle to get some extra citations and some more funding in the future. Given the vast variation in results and lack of controls, these studies seem fairly unremarkable. There may be something there, but these studies really don't show anything meaningful.
  • by poopdeville ( 841677 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @04:09PM (#20522943)
    From a physical point of view, it doesn't matter. The average energy flux through a given point is going to be the same whether the implant is there or not. (First order approximation, depends on the convexity of the reflector, and that energy comes from random (if limited) directions).
  • Up to? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LS ( 57954 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @05:09PM (#20523257) Homepage
    from the submission: up to 1% to 10%

    "up to" is the equivalent of "maximum". How can you have a range for a maximum value?

  • by mpaque ( 655244 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @05:48PM (#20523497)
    The chip is a foreign object in the body, a glass capsule. It's not surprising that the body reacts to it in some way, trying to encapsulate it. These devices also include a coating to promote growth of connective tissue in the vicinity of the device so as to anchor it and prevent movement of the capsule.

    So, what we have here is a biologically active foreign object. This result is, unfortunately, not surprising.

    So, will be laying off their data center workers as being 'at-risk' for higher future medical costs?
  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @10:41PM (#20525399)
    Cattle are probably not a good representative population since the majority of them die long before their natural lifespan would be up. But pets are well cared for and usually live well past their natural lifespans.

    In 6000 chipped dogs the article would be predicting between 60 and 600 would develop "fast growing, lethal" cancers, at the site of the chip.

    That would compete pretty well with the natural rate of cancer... surely vets would notice if every other case of canine or feline cancer they saw was a tumor in the same location.

    You might be on to something -- a LOT of those rats they studied were probably bred to be susceptible to cancers. Perhaps a nice foreign body increases the chances that the cancer will develop in that location, like a hailstone forming around a dust particle.
  • by messner_007 ( 1042060 ) on Sunday September 09, 2007 @05:41AM (#20527225)
    "I have studied cancer for quite some time " Have you studied medicine ?
  • by that IT girl ( 864406 ) on Sunday September 09, 2007 @09:21AM (#20527993) Journal
    Kari is attractive because she's not only cute, but smart. Major points for the slashdotter guys. I'm not a guy, but I recognize that appeal.
    I saw her at Dragon-Con a couple of weeks ago :D w00t.
  • by digitalFlack ( 992318 ) on Sunday September 09, 2007 @02:17PM (#20530003) Homepage

    Tell her what?

    Some AP reporter who had to write a science article scared the beejeezuz out of you statistically challenged hypocondriacs?

    RTFA, even it says that in surveying all the medical literature available, only two incidental reports of dogs with cancer associated with implants are found. There are a few million implanted dogs in this country! (It's been common practice at the vast majority of shelters to spay and implant for many years.) I asked my vet last year how many he has taken out - one was rejected out of hundreds he has done. He didn't mention cancer....

    What about the mice? Mice seem to have a 10%, 4% or 1% cancer rate on chip implants (according to the article, which wasn't submitted to any scrutiny by anybody with a Phd, Masters or even a BS in biology from what I can tell.) Many simple causes haven't been investigated or at even discussed. (e.g. the chip may occupy 2-3% of the mouse' body mass, the same chip 0.1% of a dogs and 0.03% of a human (Carrie is petite after all.) Maybe there is a threshold where the immune system is overwhelmed. Get a grad student on it!

    The article is poor science. Scare the old ladies with chipped dogs on Sunday morning (9/9) and get they're blood warming so they can do some more fear mongering on Tuesday.


Who goeth a-borrowing goeth a-sorrowing. -- Thomas Tusser