Implanted Microchips Linked to Tumors in Lab Mice

Posted on September 10, 2007

ABC reports that microchips already approved for human and pet use have induced tumors in lab mice and rats. The FDA apparently decided the public didn't need this information at the time they approved the microchips.

Those chips are now being implanted in some people, especially Alzheimer's patients, and encoded with their medical records. The Food and Drug Administration called the microchip one of 2005's top innovative technologies.

The microchips have been implanted in hundreds of people like Ida Frankel, who has Alzheimer's disease. If she gets lost and ends up in a hospital, doctors can scan her arm and get all of her medical records.

But when the government approved these chips for use in humans three years ago, it didn't mention that there were studies showing that similar chips caused malignant tumors in lab rats and mice.

Cancer doctors who spoke to The Associated Press, which broke this story, say you can't make the leap between cancer in mice and cancer in humans.

Some are dismissing the link between microchips and mice as inconsequential but it would have been nice if this information had been made available to the public before the FDA had approved the microchips. The fact that the FDA is standing by their decision is a little odd. Why wouldn't they have at least wanted more testing to be done before saying this chips are ok for humans and pets? Dr. Robert Benezra, the head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at Sloan-Kettering Hospital, told ABC News that, "There's no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin." VeriChip Corp. has continued defending the technology.

This is really bad news for such a potentially useful technology. It isn't good news for pet owners as well. Many pets get microchips and the news is going to make the decision to chip your pet that much more complicated. Obviously, it is going to make the decision to microchip your parent who is suffering from Alzheimer's much more complex as well. It is a real shame because microchips would be very useful if they could be proven to not induce tumors in people and in animals.

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