A court has ruled that excessive mobile phone usage is to blame for a man developing a brain tumour, in what could become a landmark ruling.
The court in Ivrea, Italy, has awarded 57-year-old Roberto Romeo a state-funded pension, after he claimed that using a mobile phone for work caused him to develop a brain tumour.
Romeo said his work duties obliged him to use his mobile for three to four hours of each working day for 15 years. The tumour was diagnosed in 2010, after he complained that his right ear was feeling blocked all the time.
The tumour was benign, but in removing the tumour, doctors were forced to remove Romeo’s acoustic nerve, leaving him deaf in one ear.
A medical expert estimated the damage to Romeo at 23% of his bodily function, prompting the judge to make a compensation award of €500 per month to be paid by INAIL, a national insurance scheme covering workplace accidents.
“For the first time in the world, a court has recognised a causal link between inappropriate use of a mobile phone and a brain tumour,” Romeo’s lawyers, Stefano Bertone and Renato Ambrosio said in a statement.
The ruling, which was handed down on April 11, is subject to a possible appeal.
Romeo said he did not want to demonise mobiles, “but I believe we have to be more aware about how to use them”.
Scientific studies into the potential health risks of mobile phones have mostly concluded that they pose no serious risk to human health at the level of most people’s use.
Heavier use may pose some risk, other studies have found, and many experts say it is too early to do a proper assessment of what is a relatively new technology.