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Biotech Privacy Businesses Your Rights Online

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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  • by Limburgher ( 523006 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @02:51PM (#20522371) Homepage Journal
    Didn't she get one implanted in one episode?
    Makes me think twice about wanting one for my dog. . .
  • No talk about RFI (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ( 142825 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @02:53PM (#20522381) Homepage
    There was no talk whether it was the container or the RFI emission. I would have liked to see the results of 'dead' chips versus 'live' chips.

    This may answer the issue of cell phone cancer.

    Of course, the cell phone company will claim that it only happens if you have the phone (headset) to your ear for 6 hours a day. And of course, the manual says that they only recommend no more than 4 hours of use a month.

  • Nothing fishy here (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mh1997 ( 1065630 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @02:57PM (#20522417)

    The FDA is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, which, at the time of VeriChip's approval, was headed by Tommy Thompson. Two weeks after the device's approval took effect on Jan. 10, 2005, Thompson left his Cabinet post, and within five months was a board member of VeriChip Corp. and Applied Digital Solutions. He was compensated in cash and stock options. Thompson, until recently a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, says he had no personal relationship with the company as the VeriChip was being evaluated, nor did he play any role in FDA's approval process of the RFID tag. "I didn't even know VeriChip before I stepped down from the Department of Health and Human Services," he said in a telephone interview.
    Yet another amazing coincidence. If I could just pay a dollar in taxes every time this happens, somebody sure could get rich.
  • Standard Practise (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Boa Constrictor ( 810560 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:00PM (#20522443)
    It's not surprising that interfering with a living thing in a very clumsy manner causes problems. It is -- and always has been -- about what is a tolerable level of damage to do. I don't know, but I can't think cattle branding is very healthy.

    We make compromises on health all the time for convenience and aesthetics -- while most cosmetics are not technically harmful, spraying aluminium on your underarms* or using make-up is not going to give you health benefits. It's easier to take the car to work not cycle or walk (unless you walk down the same road).

    *No, it's washing which is the healthy part to not smelling.

    The only reason this is even news is that the big C is involved. We "civilised" people make hundreds of choices at the expense of our long term physical or mental health and this is not a novel situation. It will go ahead anyway if the benefits are great and people aren't instantly terrified of the c-word, else it will die out.

  • I still don't get it (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:00PM (#20522445)
    What's the point of RFID implants? RFIDs are simple devices which can be fairly easily falsified and/or duplicated. Never mind that the implant itself can be removed and swapped. It's an intrusive security layer which offers no security whatsoever. And on top of that, it introduces privacy concerns... we have ubiquitous cameras all over major cities, why not RFID scanners?

    BTW, here's an interesting Wired article [] on the subject.
  • by transporter_ii ( 986545 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:06PM (#20522487) Homepage
    I have studied cancer for quite some time and I do know that *sometimes* a tumor is the body trying to put a barrier around something it doesn't know what to do with. In fact, tumors, unless they are doing damage to an important organ, or grow very large, usually won't kill you. It is only when they start to metastasize that you run into trouble pretty quick.

    In fact, I have talked to several people that knew people that had tumors for many, many years and never had any trouble, but after their doctors talked them into removing the tumors and doing radiation/chemo treatment, they were dead within a year. Things that make you go hmmmmm.

    So a tumor around a foreign body like that doesn't shock me too much.

  • Re:No talk about RFI (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:07PM (#20522501) Journal

    There was no talk whether it was the container or the RFI emission.

    That's because they assume their readers aren't idiots...

    RFID chips don't emit electromagnetic radiation, they only (really) reflect it. What's more, the energy levels are far lower than any number of other day-to-day activities, in the same frequency ranges as other signals all around us, and RFID chips are only scanned for a couple seconds at a time, and only on occasion.

    If the small and occasional radiation from RFID chips could cause cancer, we'd all be lucky to survive for a few months after birth before dying of cancer.
  • Re:No talk about RFI (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Original Replica ( 908688 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:09PM (#20522511) Journal
    I immediately thought of the RFI emissions as the culprit. Wouldn't having the precisely the same RF transmissions going through precisely the same tissue over and over again cause much greater damage over time then a varied transmission or transmitting from a varied location? I'm thinking of the damage kinda like harmonics: if you tap the same place on structure at the right frequency you get resonance, if you tap at the same frequency but randomize the location and direction of each tap you get no resonance, if you randomize the tap so there is no set frequency you get no resonance. Whatever little DNA bit that happens to be effected by the RFI emission is going to get the exact same assault over and over until it is eventually destroyed.
  • by ushering05401 ( 1086795 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:24PM (#20522645) Journal
    Researchers now have a new lead in the fight against cancer. If the stats prove consistent then we may be able to find a link between certain types of foreign molecules in the body and cancer risk.

    Your comment kinda reminds me of the asbestos revelations... there was a time when asbestos was put into cigarette filters as an advertised health feature.

  • Serious question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @03:28PM (#20522675) Homepage Journal

    RFID chips don't emit electromagnetic radiation, they only (really) reflect it. What's more, the energy levels are far lower than any number of other day-to-day activities, in the same frequency ranges as other signals all around us, and RFID chips are only scanned for a couple seconds at a time, and only on occasion.
    If they reflect radiation in the same frequency ranges as other signals all around us, don't they reflect that energy all the time, not just on occasions when they are purposefully scanned?
  • by PMBjornerud ( 947233 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @04:13PM (#20522981)
    Aspartame is on my do-not-ingest list. Along with the other artificial sweeteners.

    Call me crazy, but when I don't want sugar... I drink and eat things that aren't sweet. Mindboggling, I know...

    I'll pass on the RFID for a while, too. I like my stuff "Tested on Humans" (TM), and there seem to be plenty of other people out there happily being my my guinea pigs.
  • by Telephone Sanitizer ( 989116 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @04:21PM (#20523021)
    Bioactive glass is a group of ceramic materials that are currently the subject of various studies related to bone-replacement and reconstructive surgery for (among others) persons who have had bone removed due to cancer.

    New developments in making the materials with porous structures to stimulate bone growth have brought a spurt in the use of it as graft material and encouraged investigations into other medical uses, but I wonder now whether it and other silicates as a class pose a significant cancer risk, themselves.
  • I've seen modblog (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dixie_Flatline ( 5077 ) <> on Saturday September 08, 2007 @04:56PM (#20523183) Homepage []

    Quite a few people there have implants (horns, weird shapes in the forearm, etc.) and there hasn't been any warning there of increased cancer risk. The body-mod crowd is generally about doing crazy and interesting stuff that's ultimately safe.

    Of course, these things are inert in EM fields, unlike RFID chips. I know they don't transmit, but absorbing energy from a field has to generate a small amount of heat that's channelled or dissipated into the surrounding tissue, right?
  • by j_w_d ( 114171 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @07:17PM (#20524077)
    They had control groups. The control groups were chipped too. They were using the RFIDs as a book keeping device for data collection and control. The cancer was noted empirically and independently of the research they were undertaking. The appearance of sarcomas developing physically around some of the chips looked like an observation worth reporting. It offered a new line of potential investigation.

    The real reason religious fundamentalists think science is pseudo-religious is because too many "scientists" believe the advance of scientific knowledge is limited to the purposeful reporting of the results of studies guided by the scientific method. Too often we forget that Darwin wasn't out there conducting a lab experiment; he was in the REAL world, observing real things. The real essence of science is the observation that leads to a "that's odd" remark, or an experiment where the operator goes from "oops. The culture spoiled" to "that's interesting" like Fleming did. The results of experiments under controlled conditions are just half of science. The rest is the observation of things outside the experiment, things that could lead to entire new realms of empirical and experimental investigation.

  • by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @08:21PM (#20524513)
    You've been reading Betty Martini, haven't you? Reading Betty's work is like reading Noam Chomsky's politics: the level of delusion is so consistent that people take it seriously, and start citing other people as cites when you can trace the cite back to the same deluded source.

    For evidence of the delusional nature of Betty's claims, check out [].
  • hard to believe (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jeff1946 ( 944062 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @08:45PM (#20524677) Journal
    Let's see, folks have pacemakers in them long term. Pacemakers contain a receiver and transmitter so that doctors can checkout how they doing and make adjustments to them. Many years ago friend of mine was almost killed in a chemistry lab explosion. To this day pieces of glass still surface on his body. So it is awfully hard for me to understand how a glass encapsulated microchip could cause a health problem.
  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Saturday September 08, 2007 @11:46PM (#20525703)
    IF by "you" you are refering to me, then the answer is no. I've never heard of her.

    My knowledge is personal. I am one of at least 10% of the population with a sensitivity to Aspartame.

    Within 30 minutes after drinking a can of soda sweetened with Nutrasweet I get a severe headache, the skin on my face and upper body turns beet red and gets oily because of excessive sebaceous gland activity. Several people have tested this response (some deliberately, some by accident) by giving me candy sweetened with Nutrasweet.

    I discovered the link between these symptoms and Aspartame by accident. I had my own computer consulting business between 1980 and 1997. In 1987 I was asked by an old college acquaintances who had been hired as academic dean at a small private college in the central part of this state to come and teach science and math. I agreed as long as I could continue with my consulting business on the side. Later in that year the college pres heard about my consulting after I consulted with the city that the college was in and asked me to computerize the college. I agreed but the load rose to about 70-80 hours per week. In addition commuted 55 miles a day from my home. To avoid getting sleepy during classes and programming sessions I began drinking Dr Pepper. To avoid gaining weight due to the sugar content in a can of Dr. Pepper I decided to drink diet Dr. Pepper. Even though I hold a Master's Degree in Biochemistry, with major hours in Chemistry, Physics, Math and Biology (I was a "professional student" :-), I never gave artificial sweeteners a second thought. As I continued teaching and writing registration, recruiting, accounting, grading and payroll packages for the college, and installing and setting up hardware, networking, etc., In 1989 I was voted runner up Teacher of the Year by the student body. I gradually increased the quantity of diet Dr. Pepper I was drinking in order to combat the fatigue and sleepiness. Within three years I was consuming about 6-8 liters per day. I don't remember exactly when the headaches began but by 1990 they were constant, as was the red and oily skin. I never related it to the diet soda. I also noticed other problems, which I associated with the work load and pressure - lose of memory and depression. By 1992 I finished the computer work, was an emotional wreak, and totally exhausted. I had trouble remembering elements in the Periodic Table, the names of students in my classes, and even the names of my two children! One other problem gradually appeared. Even though I was drinking diet soda to avoid putting on sugar weight, I began experiencing a craze for popcorn and other carbohydrates. By 1992 my weight had ballooned from 215 lbs to 265 lbs.

    I resigned from the college and decided to take six months off. I also started drinking tea instead of diet sodas. Within a few weeks the headaches vanished, the red and oily skin disappeared and my mood improved considerable. My memory, however, never came back to its former level, which was semi-photographic. One day about three months later my wife came home from shopping with a carton of diet Dr Pepper because she thought I'd like a can once in a while. I drank a can and within 30 minutes the symptoms I had been having for several years reappeared. Within 24 hours they were gone. A few days later I tried another can and the symptoms appeared again. I set up double blind tests with regular and diet sodas and established to my satisfaction that it was indeed the diet sodas causing the problems. Since then I have avoided anything with Aspartame in it and the symptoms have never reappeared.

    In 1992, IIRC, I was on Compuserve and began searching the web to find out Aspartame. The articles and research I found then settled the issue in my mind. I met on line a lady by the name of Mary Stoddard, IIRC, who had experienced problems similar to mine was was running a website on Compuserve where she posted lots of stories like mine of people who had problems with
  • by milette ( 744560 ) on Sunday September 09, 2007 @02:15AM (#20526429) Homepage Journal
    >The FDA is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, which, at the time
    >of VeriChip's approval, was headed by Tommy Thompson. Two weeks after the device's
    >approval took effect on Jan. 10, 2005, Thompson left his Cabinet post, and within
    >five months was a board member of VeriChip Corp. and Applied Digital Solutions.
    >He was compensated in cash and stock options.

    Sounds like Tommy boy was on the take for quite some time.

    FDA approvals are not granted overnight -- they can take many years. For him to claim he never heard of the company means he was either lying or not doing his job overseeing the FDA by being ingnorant of such a major case.

    Of course, nothing will ever be done -- same as in most similar cases...
  • by messner_007 ( 1042060 ) on Sunday September 09, 2007 @05:55AM (#20527269)
    "but artificial sweeteners are better for your health than sugar" ... This is only partially true. Sugar makes you sick if you are a fat and lasy chick/nerd ... If you run every day, get laid regulary, and have something nice to do in your life, then you can eat sugar and all other natural things (not in big exces) and you won't get sick.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"