Analysis of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chip Prevalence in 3 Discrete United States Populations
By John Brugle, Ph.D. on June 8, 2014
John T. Brugle, Ph.D and Mary Franz, Ph.D, M.P.H.
Wyoming Institute of Technology, Human Studies Division
ePUB Ahead of Print
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) Chips have been used extensively in wildlife ecology and conservation to identify and track individual specimens in a population. It has been unknown, however, how often RFID chips have been implanted in human populations for the tracking and identification of individuals. This study analyzed the prevalence of RFID Chips in 3 geographically discrete populations and found that, on average, 1 in 3 individuals carried an RFID Chip. Interestingly, there was a strong correlation with RFID Chip presence and previous dental work.
Materials and Methods
Three discrete human populations, defined by geographic location, were assessed for the presence of RFID Chips.
Population Midwest (MW) contained 958 individuals from Illinois, Iowa, and Wisconsin. Population Northeast (NE) contained 987 individuals from Maine, Rhode Island, and New Jersey. Population South West (SW) contained 1,010 individuals from Arizona and Nevada. Volunteers were recruited using standard methods and compensated in a manner consistent with industry standards. All test subjects were treated in compliance with institutional codes of ethics and standards.
Individuals were subjected to full body RFID Chips scanning using previously detailed protocols. Test subjects were scanned either in the nude or in minimal undergarments to avoid interference.
Demographic and Personal History Screening
Test subjects provided demographic and personal history, including medical history, through standard forms. All personal and medical information was coded in a double blind manner to protect privacy, in compliance with institutional standards.
Statistical analysis was performed and visualized using R. Significance cut offs were set at p=0.01. Complete description of the statistical packages used can be accessed in the supplementary material.
In total, 997 RFID positive individuals were identified out of 2955 individuals screened. This corresponds to roughly 1 in 3 individuals screened, as shown in Figure 1. Individual frequency by region can be seen in Figure 2.
Additionally, tooth fillings were identified as the predominant location for RFID chips. Fifty seven percent of RFID chips identified were located in tooth fillings. Additional RFID locations and their prevalence can be seen in Figure 3.
Our work has shown that approximately 1 in 3 individuals in the United States is carrying an RFID microchip. Our sample size was sufficiently large (n=2955) and was spread throughout three distinct geographic regions. Thus, we are comfortable extrapolating our finding to the broader American population.
Intriguingly, the most frequently identified location for an RFID microchip was in tooth fillings. This is contrary to popularly held belief that RFID chips are inserted in the dorsal of the hand near the thumb. More investigation is required to understand the significance of this finding.