Inquiry Into Vatican Radio Antennas Is Progressing

Tests on Electromagnetic Radiation Under Way

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VATICAN CITY, APR. 24, 2001 ( A special commission looking into allegations linking Vatican Radio antennas with leukemia has reported progress in its investigation.

Tests to determine whether the antennas exceed limits on electromagnetic radiation are expected to be completed within two weeks, officials say.

Italian Environment Minister Willer Bordon earlier this month threatened to cut off power to the antennas, about 12 miles outside Rome, because, he claimed, they were causing a relatively high rate of leukemia in nearby residential areas.

Some other Italian government officials and a number of scientists have said there is no evidence to prove the allegations.

Nevertheless, a special commission made up of Vatican and Italian government representatives is carrying forward an investigation into the matter.

The last joint meeting of the commission was held April 18 in the Apostolic Nunciature. Father Federico Lombardi, director of Vatican Radio´s programs, explained that «the bilateral commission approved the program of joint examinations of the electromagnetic fields in the area surrounding the transmission center, as proposed by a technical subcommission, which met previously.»

The examinations, «which will be carried out in collaboration between Italian and Vatican technicians, are necessary to prove with certainty which transmissions might go beyond the limits of electromagnetic fields established by Italian norms,» Father Lombardi said.

The area in question is the Santa Maria de Galeria Center, from which Vatican Radio has transmitted its programs worldwide since 1957.

Italian Health Minister Umberto Veronesis, a renowned cancer specialist, said that electromagnetic contamination is not among the 78 known causes of cancer. Nor is it among the 63 agents which are believed to cause tumors, he stressed.

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