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VeriChip Defends the Safety of Implanted RFID Tags

There is no evidence, the company maintains, to support the notion that implanting RFID chips in animals or humans causes tumors.
By Claire Swedberg
With regard to implants in humans, VeriChip declined to be interviewed for this story, but referred instead to a prepared statement indicating the FDA's approval of VeriChip's VeriMed RFID tag for use in humans speaks for itself. "Research protocol guidelines clearly indicate that making such a link from mice to humans is a very big leap," VeriChip's statement asserts.

To date, VeriChip reports, only about 2,000 humans have implanted VeriMed RFID tags, and no data has shown the implantation of tags in humans to be associated with the appearance of sarcomas. What's more, Mejia says, 10 million fish and more than 12 million dogs and cats have been injected with Digital Angel chips, and no sarcomas resulting from the implants have been reported either.

VeriChip points out that laboratory mice and rats have a higher probability than other animals of developing tumors at any injection site, regardless of the type of injection. According to the VeriChip statement, "It is important to note that the incidence of tumor formation in mice/rats from simple injections of any type (including vaccinations) is much higher than in any other type of laboratory animals."

The studies cited in the AP article include one undertaken by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals' Department of Toxicology and Safety Assessment, located in Ridgefield Conn. In that study, 177 animals were injected with RFID chips to identify them. Of those injected, 18 mice developed soft tissue tumors, including some malignancies.

Bayer Corp.'s toxicology department in Stilwell, Kansas, carried out a study of mice as well, and found that tumors surrounding implanted microchip animal identification devices appeared at a rate of approximately 1 percent. All tumors, some of which were malignant, occurred during the second year of the studies. One researcher, who has asked not to be named due to corporate policy, says the argument that his study implies RFID microchips could cause a significant rate of sarcomas in animals or humans is inaccurate.

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