Vatican Radio poses health risk

Vatican Radio poses health risk July 15, 2010

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.
According to Italian daily La Stampa, (via Yahoo):

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 Vatican Radio tower
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.
But the radio’s director, Federico Lombardi who is also the Vatican spokesman, disputed the report, saying:

Vatican Radio is astonished to hear the news on the results of the study.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 added:

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.
Hat tip: Broadsword

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  • It should be noted that there is no good evidence linking electomagnetic waves to cancer, and no known physical mechanism by which such an effect would be possible. So the story, while amusing, is probably bullshit.

  • Kevin

    @Dave, yes but I think you are missing the subtext. It isn’t the radio-waves themselves that are so injurious – but rather the corrosive content carried on them.

  • Eric Martin

    Listening to Vatican radio could cause brain damage, however.

  • The scientific secular community does not buy this story, judging by the Pharyngula piece.
    There is much to criticise the Vatican for, but this seems unlikely, to say the least. And the secular community has the integrity to say so,
    In contrast to the Vatican’s constant bleating that secularism is bad, with no justification at all that I can see. Indeed, such evidence I have seen points to atheists being more moral, and less likely to spend time in prison, than believers. Though that evidence is not without controversies of its own.

  • Marcus

    There’s a very simple solution – why doesn’t god just make it safe?

  • Angela_K

    Dave McKeegan is quite correct. Many scientific, peer reviewed studies have been done that have failed to link Radio/TV transmitter masts and mobile ‘phones to cancer, but our scientifically illiterate media still plant these scare stories.
    Vatican radio should have a health warning regarding content as should all religious radio/TV broadcasts. Bibles, the koran etc should also have warnings on the covers similar to those warnings on cigarette packets – religion kills.

  • Marcus

    Angela_K – now you can even get their drivel on a mobile TV channel.

  • Janstince

    Maybe they’ve just been putting mercury in the water, then. Who knows. Of course, there is a decent amount of circumstantial evidence linking high emissions of EMF to higher rates of cancer in nearby populations. Of course, some of it is lacking in control studies. None of it has come up with a tested and verified mechanism. I read about this last in high school. I should go and brush up on the latest research.

  • Broadsword

    The reason I passed a number of articles regarding this to Barry was the Vatican’s response to the allegations. Chillingly similar to their initial denials over the abuse scandals and it’s nice to see them wriggle however it’s done.
    The Italian study of the possible carcinogenic effects of emissions from Vatican tramsmitters has thrown up some figures but whether it will survive peer review is another matter. It does however open the way for further civil lawsuits which require only a balance of probability to succeed.
    One Catholic publication speculated that as Italian prime minister Silvo Berlusconi owned the land the transmitters were on, he was stirring things up to get them removed.
    I hope this will develop into yet one more significant event in 2010, Ratty’s Annus Horribilis.

  • L.Long

    The transmitter of unproven fairy tales is told to stop transmitting their fairy tales because another fairy tale says the transmissions of the churches fairy tales causes harm to kids. Which is true but not because this specific fairy tale.

  • Broadsword

    The Vatican transmitter in the pic is incomplete. They still need to place the Eye of Sauron on top.

  • Daz

    One thought strikes… Why do they need radio? Surely they have a far superior communication system already in place. Prayer go up, Word Of God come down. What more do they need? Seems to me they show a distinct lack of faith.

  • Urmensch

    Let’s hope it’s just an unconscious suspicion that the Vatican is a cancer, metastasizing into the locality, that’s being projected unto the radiowaves.
    Vatican radio itself is just another sign that the Holy Spirit is fictional. Otherwise why the need for technology to do what it is supposed to.
    Just as the popemobile is a demonstration of the Pope’s faith in the reality of God.

  • barriejohn

    The head of UCB (see Marcus’s comment) is Neil Elliot, another Australian, like those lovely people at GodTV.
    He is an ex-scholteacher, and note his involvement with “distance education” (yes – I know that I am paranoid about the dangers posed by private education!).
    PS: UCB is a charity – which means that you and I are supporting their activities with our taxes. I suppose you could always argue that there are “atheist charities” as well, but it sticks in my throat that religion always gets the kid glove treatment because of its “benefits” to society!

  • Broadsword

    Pope said to be Suffering from Mystery Illness:

  • Wellescent Health Forums

    While ironic to some, the science certainly is inconclusive regarding the effects of radio waves on the development of cancer so blaming the the Vatican for these leukemia cases is hard to prove. However, using the cautionary principle, the Vatican could offer to move their tower to a secluded site as an act of good faith. It would only take 3 or 4 years for them to be vindicated if they were correct. Unfortunately, such a scientific experiment is not likely to be carried out with their desire for tight control over their assets.

  • Russell W

    OK, who has the ring and why has he taken so long? Too many distractions in Rome perhaps?

  • Urmensch

    @Wellescent Health Forums
    The science is not inconclusive. After hundreds of large-scale scientific studies the results have been conclusively negative.

  • gsw

    Talking of faith, was it Heinlein or Asimov that said that the supreme victory of science over faith was when churches started putting up lightening rods?
    (poss. quote not exact)

  • Broadsword

    @Russell W
    Danny DeVito, ringbearer.

  • barriejohn

    Someone commenting on the site below has asked why churches have roofs, rather than just asking god to steer the rain away. I must confess that that hadn’t occurred to me! Anyway, according to another correspondent, when Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning conductor, some people thought that he was circumventing the will of god. (I can believe it!)