Vatican Radio Cleared by Scientific Panel

No Link Found Between Antennas and Leukemia Cases

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ROME, SEPT. 16, 2001 (Zenit.org).- A study by an international panel found no link between electromagnetic emissions from Vatican Radio transmitters in a town outside Rome and leukemia rates in the area, the Italian Health Ministry reported.



The study, which was requested by the previous center-left Italian government, was carried out after some ecological associations of Santa Maria di Galeria claimed the Vatican Radio antennas were causing leukemia in the area. The town is about 30 kilometers (18 miles) from Rome.

Vatican Radio broadcasts the Pope´s words around the world in 40 languages.

The report was prepared over a five-month period by British, German and Italian experts. It concludes that there is no relation between the radio frequencies of the papal broadcasting station and leukemia cases in the area, which were no higher than rates in the rest of Italy.

The report is of utmost importance for the case that is scheduled to begin Dec. 20 in the Court of Rome. Vatican Radio´s directors, including Cardinal Roberto Tucci, are accused in the case.

For its report, the scientific team considered studies carried out on the levels of radiation in the area; reported leukemia cases in the area, compared to those in Rome and the rest of Italy, and over 1,000 research projects and doctoral theses collected by the Latium region, which includes Rome.

"The mortality rate and incidence of child-leukemia in a 10-kilometer radius surrounding the area are the same as those verified for the city of Rome," the study published by Minister Girolamo Sirchia concluded.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican Radio´s program director, expressed "satisfaction," when he heard the conclusions of the report, and hoped that it will contribute to the "serenity" of all.

"The fact that there is no relation between leukemia cases and the fields of radiation does not challenge [the decision] to decrease the emissions from the Santa Maria di Galeria transmission center, which Vatican Radio has already adopted," the priest added.

On Aug. 31, Vatican Radio modified its medium-wave emission to adapt itself to the restrictions of the new Italian law on electromagnetic radiation, one of the strictest in the world.

The papal broadcasting station now has an agreement with Radio Montecarlo, of the European principality, to transmit some programs on its frequency.