WEDNESDAY June 25, 2008 (foodconsumer.org) -- A new
study found that use of radio frequency identification (RFID), a wireless technology,
on valuable medical device or equipment may pose a risk to patients who are supported by a critical
care medical device such as pacemakers.
RFID, an automatic identification method, relies on
storing and remotely retrieving data using devices called RFID tags or transponders,
which can be applied to or incorporated into a product, animal, or person for
the purpose of identification using radio waves.
The study showed that when active RFID tags were
moved around 41 critical care medical devices including pacemakers, ventilators
IV pumps and anesthesia machines at different distances, they interfered with
the critical devices in 34 tests out of all 123 tests.
Doctors were asked to evaluate the degree of the
risk and they said in 22 out of the 34 test settings RFID tags may cause hazard
to patients who are using a critical care medical device like pacemakers.
The study was conducted by researchers at Vrije
University in Amsterdam and the results were published in the journal of the
American Medical Association.
RFID tags are finding more and more applications, far
companies like AT&T have been exploring new applications to a point that
the industry wanted school children to wear a RFID tag for tracking purposes,
which drew attention from privacy advocates.
RFID tags or implants provide incredible inconvenience
in monitoring an animal or an article, or a property.
But this modern technology like many others
such as medical x-ray and cell phones can pose a threat to human health and
long-term or intense exposure to the radio wave such as from implants or RFID
tags could potentially promote cancer development.
Reuters in September, 2007 reviewed studies on the
safety of RFID and found that a significant percentage of animals wearing RFID
tags developed tumors mostly near the tags.
Likewise in a September 8, 2007 news story,
Washington Post cited some studies published in veterinary and toxicology
journals between 1996 and 2006 to say lab mice and rats receiving microchips
sometimes developed subcutaneous "sarcomas" _ malignant tumors, most
of them encasing the implants.
In 1997, a German study found 1 percent of 4,279
chipped mice developed cancer.
researchers attributed the tumors the implanted microchips.
Although RFID technology used in hospitals may pose
a risk mostly to patients who rely on a critical care medical device, long term
exposure to the radio wave or implants which would release a risky dose of radio
wave can be a danger to an ordinary individual.
Antichips.com conducted a review of eleven studies
previously reported in toxicology and pathology journals and found that in six
of the reports between 0.8% and 10.2 % of laboratory mice and rats developed
malignant tumors around or adjacent to the RFID chips and two studies showed
dogs developed microchips-relate cancer.
The current study did not involve live patients who
count on a device to live their lives, which could be potentially affected by a
But the research seems
significant enough to warrant further studies on the possible risk of RFID tags
to those patients.
For everyone else, caution may need to be exercised
when considering volunteering to be implanted with a RFID microchip.
There should be no doubt that anyone who
dares to try the fancy RFID tag or implants might put himself at higher risk of
Disclaimer: What's published on this website should be considered opinions of respective writers only and foodconsumer.org which has no political agenda nor commercial ambition may or may not endorse any opinion of any writer. No accuracy is guaranteed although writers are doing their best to provide accurate information only.
The information on this website should not be construed as medical advice and should not be used to replace professional services provided by qualified or licensed health care workers. The site serves only as a platform for writers and readers to share knowledge, experience, and information from the scientific community, organizations, government agencies and individuals.
Foodconsumer.org encourages readers who have had medical conditions to consult with licensed health care providers - conventional and or alternative medical practitioners.