Thinking about implanting an RFID microchip under your skin? Don’t do it! Why would the FDA approve something that was linked to cancers in rats?
When the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved implanting microchips in humans, the manufacturer said it would save lives, letting doctors scan the tiny transponders to access patients’ medical records almost instantly. The FDA found ‘reasonable assurance’ the device was safe, and a sub-agency even called it one of 2005’s top ‘innovative technologies.’
But neither the company nor the regulators publicly mentioned this: A series of veterinary and toxicology studies, dating to the mid-1990s, stated that chip implants had ‘induced’ malignant tumors in some lab mice and rats.
‘The transponders were the cause of the tumors,’ said Keith Johnson, a retired toxicologic pathologist, explaining in a phone interview the findings of a 1996 study he led at the Dow Chemical Co. in Midland, Mich.
Leading cancer specialists reviewed the research for The Associated Press and, while cautioning that animal test results do not necessarily apply to humans, said the findings troubled them. Some said they would not allow family members to receive implants, and all urged further research before the glass-encased transponders are widely implanted in people.
To date, about 2,000 of the so-called radio frequency identification, or RFID, devices have been implanted in humans worldwide, according to VeriChip Corp. The company, which sees a target market of 45 million Americans for its medical monitoring chips, insists the devices are safe, as does its parent company, Applied Digital Solutions, of Delray Beach, Fla.