Company glosses over research pointing to health risks
By Jim Hightower
Untitled Document Have you been chipped? In another cabal of corporate and governmental officials, there’s been a steady push during the past few years to authorize and market microchip devices to be implanted into humans. An outfit named VeriChip Corp. is the chief pusher, asserting that implanting one of its radiofrequency ID chips into your upper arm can be a medical boon.
These electronic capsules transmit a unique code, says VeriChip, and if something happens to you hospital staff can run a scanner over your chip, get your code, and activate a database containing your medical history. VeriChip envisions a market of at least 45 million Americans sporting their very own RFID codes.
But — oops — one bit of info the corporation never mentioned is that studies have found that these implants have induced malignant tumors in lab mice and rats. “There’s no way in the world that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members,” one eminent cancer expert says.
Where were our regulatory watchdogs? Too busy cheering on the chippers to ask tough questions about side effects. Tommy Thompson, the Bush appointee who oversaw the agency that approved VeriChip for use in humans, has been a vigorous promoter of such electronic medical technologies. Five months after Thompson resigned his cabinet position in 2005, guess where he went?
Right onto the board of directors of both VeriChip and its parent corporation, where he was paid $40,000 a year and given about $1 million worth of stock. Interestingly, while Thompson once told an interviewer that he would “absolutely” be willing to have a VeriChip implanted in his own arm, he never did. Maybe he felt that an injection of VeriChip cash would be better for his health.