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.
Magnetic fields near
the Vatican are six times more powerful than allowed
Photo: GETTY IMAGES
"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 lived for at least 10
years within a 5.5-mile radius of the radio's giant antenna towers
near Cesano, 12 miles north of Rome.
The radio's director, Federico Lombardi, disputed the report,
"Vatican Radio is astonished to hear the news on the results
of the study."
Mr Lombardi, who is also the Vatican spokesman, added:
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
Speaking on Vatican Radio, he said:
"According to international
scientific literature on the matter, the existence of a causal link
like the one apparently hypothesized by the report had never been
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, Mr 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.