Supreme court of Italy rules radio transmitter
causes cancer


The Supreme Court of Italy ruled February 24, 2011 that the Vatican Radio has caused cancer in people living within 12 km (7 ½ miles) of the transmission towers.


The radio station uses twelve powerful radio transmitters(1) to reach Catholic listeners worldwide.


The court based its ruling on an epidemiological study(2) which showed an elevated risk of leukemia within 10 kilometers of the transmitters.  For children living within 2 kilometers (1.3 miles), the risk was six times the norm.


The ruling directed the Vatican to pay compensation to the victims of cancer in the area around the transmitters.



(1)   The Vatican Radio uses nine short wave transmitters (4,005 – 21,850 KHz) and three AM radio transmitters (527 – 1611 KHz).  The strongest of the transmitters has a transmission power of 600,000 watts.


(2)   Adult and childhood Leukemia near a High-Power Radio Station in Rome, P. Michelozzi et al., American Journal of Epidemiology, Vol 155, No 2, 2002, 1096-1103.



Adapted from the 2011/1 issue of Ljusglimten, a quarterly publication of the Swedish EHS organization, and the epidemiological study in footnote 2.