Judges in the town of Ivrea, northern Italy, have finally reached a verdict in the case of telecom executive Roberto Romeo, who lost his hearing after the removal of a brain tumor.
The Italian court ruled the plaintiff's brain tumor was caused by the excessive use of mobile phone. The decision, handed down April 11, was made public only nine days later, on April 20, and can still be appealed.
The ruling also awarded the 57-year-old businessman a state-funded pension of €500 (or about $537) to be paid every month by the national insurance scheme INAIL, which covers workplace accidents.
"For the first time in the world, a court has recognized a causal link between inappropriate use of a mobile phone and a brain tumor," said Romeo's lawyers, Stefano Bertone and Renato Ambrosio.
Brain Tumor Associated With Four Hours Of Daily Mobile Phone Time
According to Romeo's court testimony, in the span of his 15-year career, his job compelled him to use a mobile phone for as long as three to four hours daily.
The businessman stated his brain tumor — which turned out to be benign — was diagnosed in 2010, after he noticed a persistent feeling of blockage in his right ear.
Romeo pointed out that, after undergoing surgery for tumor removal, he experienced complete hearing loss in the affected ear because surgeons were forced to extract his acoustic nerve.
A medical expert who evaluated the case confirmed the prolonged use of mobile phone resulted in a 23 percent damage to the plaintiff's acoustic function.
The Italian businessman added he doesn't wish to disparage mobile phone use but rather hopes his case will help raise awareness about the possible health consequences of extended cell phone use.
One of the plaintiff's lawyers, Bertone, mentioned Italian judges were faced with a similar case in the past.
In 2012, Italy's Supreme Court in Rome ruled that Italian 60-year-old businessman Innocente Marcolini developed a brain tumor after using a handset at work for up to six hours a day during a 12-year time interval.
The Link Between Brain Cancer And Cellphone Use
Numerous studies have tried to ascertain whether electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones puts users at risk of brain tumors.
A 2014 research by French scientists revealed 15 hours of monthly cellphone time ups the risk for brain cancer.
The study concluded people who use their mobile phones for 15 hours or more every month are up to three times more likely of developing a brain tumor than individuals who seldom use their cellphones.
According to study authors, people who were particularly at risk of gliomas and meningiomas had jobs involving a heavy use of cell phones, such as those in the sales industry.
Another 2014 investigation, this time by Swedish researchers, uncovered the risk of brain cancer is determined by how long people talk on their cellphones. The study showed people who talked on mobile phones for longer than 25 years tripled their risk of glioma compared with those who only used cellphones for under a year.
The scientists discovered glioma was the only type of cancer associated with mobile phone use and documented that more than 1,486 hours on the cellphone doubled the chances of a glioma diagnostic.
The largest study on the topic was conducted by the International Agency for Research on Cancer in 2010 and established malignant brain tumors could not be connected with mobile phone use.
According to the American Cancer Society, the majority of published studies on people can't offer substantial evidence to link cellphone use and the development of tumors due to research restrictions.
"These studies have had some important limitations that make them unlikely to end the controversy about whether cell phone use affects cancer risk," underlines the society's website.