Approved by the FDA, they are refusing press requests to find out if the FDA knew of the reports, dating back to the mid-90s, that linked malignant tumors in mice and rats. Gee, I wonder why. In the meantime, while the Feds and VeriChip were essentially ignoring the cancer information, the chip received approval for implantation in humans. That’s just the beginning.

Chip Implants Linked to Animal Tumors

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…

Did the agency know of the tumor findings before approving the chip implants? The FDA declined repeated AP requests to specify what studies it reviewed.

The FDA is overseen by the Department of Health and Human Services, which, at the time of VeriChip’s approval, was headed by Tommy Thompson. Two weeks after the device’s approval took effect on Jan. 10, 2005, Thompson left his Cabinet post, and within five months was a board member of VeriChip Corp. and Applied Digital Solutions. He was compensated in cash and stock options.

Thompson, until recently a candidate for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination, says he had no personal relationship with the company as the VeriChip was being evaluated, nor did he play any role in FDA’s approval process of the RFID tag.

“I didn’t even know VeriChip before I stepped down from the Department of Health and Human Services,” he said in a telephone interview.

Wired has coverage which details the calculated untruth of Thompson’s statement.

French Bulldog at Heart of RFID Tumor Story

Thompson vigorously campaigned for electronic medical records and healthcare technology both as governor of Wisconsin and at HHS. While in President Bush’s Cabinet, he formed a “medical innovation” task force that worked to partner FDA with companies developing medical information technologies.

At a “Medical Innovation Summit” on Oct. 20, 2004, Lester Crawford, the FDA’s acting commissioner, thanked the secretary for getting the agency “deeply involved in the use of new information technology to help prevent medication error.” One notable example he cited: “the implantable chips and scanners of the VeriChip system our agency approved last week.”

Besides the apparent corruption oozing out of this story, I now have to decide if I want to have Sydney and Snoopy’s chips removed. If I knew of the cancer link at the time, I don’t know that I would have had them chipped in the first place.

Related Links:

VeriChip Corporation

Wikipedia Page for VeriChip

Anti-Chip Site “Spychips”

This section is for comments from's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Tammy agrees with or endorses any particular comment just because she lets it stand.
3 Comments | Leave a comment
  1. Hadsil says:

    Yes, sign me up for government universal health care please.

  2. XWL says:

    They’ve been chipping dogs for 15 years, which means multiple generations in dog terms, and there hasn’t been a huge uptick in the kinds of tumors observed in the lab mice.

    Plus they didn’t do a control group of mice in the study cited, so the observed rate of tumors could have been the normal rate of tumors for that particular group of mice under the conditions they were in.

    Sloppy science leading to alarming articles is pretty typical.

    Not to say Tommy Thompson wasn’t engaged in something that appears shady, and not to say that I’ll be first in line to get myself chipped, but I’m pretty certain that it’s safe for dogs and cats, and the very rare cases where cancers have happened (the AP articles mentions after 4 months of study finding only 2 times vets linking the devices to cancer, and only one of those vets was ‘sure’ that there was linkage), don’t outweigh the huge benefit of being able to easily track a lost pet.

  3. mrfixit says:

    I’ve been studying this one for a long time since my company is considering customer requests to RFID everything we make. The EURO will soon have RFID incorporated into it in order to authenticate the money and eventually track cash through the financial system. Good: the bank can void cash taken in a bank holdup as the thief runs out the door. Bad: Mr. Fixit, I see you have a thousand dollars that belonged to Mr. X yesterday,– how did you come by it and we see you did not pay any taxes on it.

    There will soon be a national I.D. card with RFID. My new passport has an RFID tag in it. It will be required in order to enter a federal building or a bank. I assume that stores will require it to verify your eventually RFID’d ATM card, and of course what better way to speed those long lines at the airport.
    That’s not going to be enough. All ex-cons will need to have the chip imbedded in them, because if they want to commit a crime, all they have to do is place the ankelet around a hot water bottle and leave it under a seat on a train, then do their evil deed. No, the chip is going to need to be imbedded, one in the wrist, and just for certainty one slid between the skull and the ear (on the skull side). Of course all this trauma will create controversy, so best to implant chips in every newborn so as to prevent discomfort and aprehension in the future. The biggest problem with all this is that right now it is easy to clone and program the chips. Even the best encrytion routines don’t seem to be safe from being duped.
    Most chilling: Sen. Chuck Schumer stated to John Roberts during his Supreme Court Confirmation hearings that “you may during your tenure on the court have to rule on the constitutionality of involintary identification chip implantation in humans.” I don’t think this statement was frivolous. It’s a brave new world.

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