Mobile phones cause tumours, Italian court rules, in defiance of evidence

The Guardian

Angela Giuffrida

January 16 2020

Judges find prolonged use can cause tumours, going against mass of scientific opinion

An Italian court has ruled that prolonged use of mobile phones can cause head tumours despite scientists overwhelmingly agreeing there is no evidence to back this up. The Turin court of appeal on Tuesday upheld a ruling issued by a lower court in 2017 in relation to a man with neurinoma of the acoustic nerve, a benign but disabling tumour. 

The decision was based on studies provided by two court-appointed doctors that showed an increased risk of head tumours among those who talked on their phones for 30 minutes a day over a 10-year period.

Judges concluded that there was a link between the frequent use of a mobile phone by Roberto Romeo, who worked for Telecom Italia, and his condition. Romeo is said to have used his phone for four to five hours a day.

“There are solid elements to affirm a causal role between the exposure of the person to radio frequencies from mobile phones and the disease that arose,” the judges said in their ruling.

Inail, a workplace accident insurance agency, has been ordered to compensate Romeo, although it could take the case to the supreme court. Stefano Bertone, one of Romeo’s lawyers, said: “There is no other explanation for the development of this tumour.

When the lower court in Ivrea, a town in Piedmont, made its decision in 2017, it became the first in the world to conclude there was a link between mobile phones and tumours.

The latest ruling drew criticism from Walter Ricciardi, a former president of the Higher Health Institute, which together with other agencies said in a report last year that there was Health Institute, which together with other agencies said in a report last year that there was no evidence to prove that prolonged use of mobile phones increased the risk of malignant or benign tumours.

“The judges in Turin are either from Nobel or they have made a monumental blunder,” Ricciardi told the news agency Adnkronos.

 “They have set a unique precedent in the world, reaching a causal link between the use of mobile phones and tumours never demonstrated by prestigious scientific institutes.”

The health minister, Roberto Speranza, said that while he respected court sentences, he supported the opinion of the World Health Organization and the Higher Health Institute that there was no proof of a link between mobile phones and cancer.


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