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Study links Vatican Radio’s waves to cancer risk: Report

Viernes 16 de julio de 2010 · 1330 lecturas

Study links Vatican Radio’s waves to cancer risk: Report

AFP July 14, 2010 Comments (1)
StoryPhotos ( 1 )

A court-ordered study has found that electromagnetic waves beamed by Vatican Radio leave residents living near the station’s antennas at a higher risk of cancer, a report says.Photograph by: John Kenney, Montreal GazetteVATICAN CITY - A court-ordered study has found that electromagnetic waves beamed by Vatican Radio leave residents living near the station’s antennas at a higher risk of cancer, Italian media said Wednesday.

"There has been an important, coherent and meaningful correlation between exposure to Vatican Radio’s structures and the risk of leukaemia and lymphoma in children," the report said, according to the daily La Stampa.

The report also warned of "important risks" of dying of cancer for people who had resided at least 10 years within a nine-kilometre (5.5-mile) radius of the radio’s giant antenna towers near Cesano, some 20 kilometres north of Rome.

The radio’s director, Federico Lombardi, disputed the report, saying: "Vatican Radio is astonished to hear the news on the results of the study."

Lombardi, who is also the Vatican spokesman, added: "Vatican Radio has always observed international directives on electromagnetic emissions and since 2001 has observed more restrictive norms set by Italy to allay the concerns of the neighbouring populations."

Speaking on Vatican Radio, he said: "According to international scientific literature on the matter, the existence of a causal link like the one apparently hypothesised by the report had never been established."

A Rome judge ordered the report in 2005 as part of an investigation into a complaint filed in 2001 by Cesano residents who alleged health hazards posed by the electromagnetic waves.

Vatican Radio’s then-president Roberto Tucci and director Pasquale Borgomeo were among defendants in a case that was thrown out last year after the statute of limitations expired.

At the time, Lombardi said he was not satisfied with the result since he had expected an acquittal.

The Vatican spokesman said the Holy See would soon publish its own experts’ conclusion in the case.

A 2001 investigation by Italy’s environment ministry showed that magnetic fields in the area were six times more powerful than allowed, while Rome’s Lazio region estimated that the rate of deaths from leukaemia among children in the Cesano area was three times higher than in adjoining areas.

Vatican City, the world’s smallest state, is an enclave of Rome covering 0.44 square kilometres (0.17 square miles).

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Report suggests radiation from Vatican Radio increases cancer risk

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The head of Vatican Radio expressed astonishment at findings that suggest there is a link between exposure to electromagnetic radiation from the radio’s broadcasting towers and an increased risk of developing cancer.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, general director of Vatican Radio and head of the Vatican press office, said international scientific studies have never shown that such a connection exists.

"Vatican Radio will present its own comments and counter-deductions from its own technical consultants as soon as possible," Father Lombardi said in a statement aired on Vatican Radio July 13.

It was important to remember, he said, that Vatican Radio has always adhered to international norms concerning electromagnetic emissions limits. In 2001, the radio entered into an agreement with Italy to adhere to even stricter limits so as to "carefully respond, as is due, to the potential concerns of nearby residents," he said.

Inhabitants around the radio’s transmission center in Santa Maria di Galeria, outside of Rome, have alleged that the radiation levels had increased the risk of cancer, especially in children.

An international panel, commissioned by Italy’s health ministry, concluded in 2001 that there was no connection between the broadcaster’s antennae radiation and child leukemia rates, adding that leukemia rates in the area were no higher than in the nation’s capital.

However, a recent report commission by an Italian judge said data suggested there is "an important, consistent, and significant association between residents’ exposure to Vatican Radio facilities and an increased risk of the illnesses leukemia and lymphoma in children."

The report, leaked to the press July 13, studied the incidence of leukemia-related deaths of residents who lived within a seven-mile radius of the facilities over the past 30 years.

In 2005, Cardinal Roberto Tucci, former president of Vatican Radio’s management committee, and Jesuit Father Pasquale Borgomeo, formerly the general director, were found guilty of the criminal charge of "dangerously showering objects" on residents near the Santa Maria di Galeria transmission center.

In 2007, an Italian appeals court overturned the convictions.

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