Vatican Radio rejects radiation claim


Vatican Radio has dismissed press reports about new medical research commissioned by an Italian judge, alleging that electromagnetic radiation from the station's broadcasting towers is leading to an increased risk of cancer.

In a broadcast on Tuesday, Fr Federico Lombardi, director of Vatican Radio and the Vatican press office, said international scientific studies carried out in the past had never shown that such a connection exists. He said: "Vatican Radio will present its own comments and counter-deductions from its own technical consultants as soon as possible."

"It is important to remember, that Vatican Radio has always adhered to international norms concerning electromagnetic emissions limits," he said.

In 2001, the station entered into an agreement with Italy to adhere to even stricter limits so as to "carefully respond, as is due, to the potential concerns of nearby residents."

In 2005, Cardinal Roberto Tucci, a former president of Vatican Radio's management committee, and Fr Pasquale Borgomeo SJ, a former general director, were found guilty of the criminal charge of "dangerously showering objects" on residents near the transmission centre. Two years later the convictions were overturned by an appeals court.

A Rome source told ICN: "This is an old story. Berlusconi's relatives want the land and their first claim failed the simple test of evidence. Their next attempt was to use an old Italian law dating back to the days of bows and arrows which prohibited the throwing of dangerous objects. This was based on the premise that if people living near Santa Maria di Galeria need to put up a shield to protect their satellite dish from picking up Vatican Radio broadcasts, then something must have been thrown... ergo hoc...

"This story dates back to at least 2003. Their lawyer, Giacomo Ghisani said in 2007 that this was a typically Italian story that would go backwards and forwards because it raises the whole nature of the Lateran Pact and the nature of Vatican City. Can Italy arrest a Cardinal living on Vatican territory? If Vatican City is a sovereign State, then has it the right to pursue its own objectives without interference from a neighbouring State?

"As a matter of fact, one of the reasons why Vatican City has photovoltaic cells on top of the roof of the audience hall is so that, if Italy were to decide to cut off the electricity supply for some reason, Vatican City could still generate at least some of its own power."

"The whole issue here is land which Berlusconi's relatives want for development and which he is determined to get by hook or by crook."

An Italian medical doctor commented: "this does sound like the start of the silly season to me. If a genuine scientific study has been conducted then the report should be made available for peer review."