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Monday, 22 October 2012 09:24

Italy's top court said mobiles kill you

Written by Nick Farrell



Too many calls and its pasta la vista baby


Italy’s supreme court has decided that there was a link between a business executive’s brain tumor and his heavy mobile phone usage. The court’s decision flies in the face of much scientific opinion, but then the Italians did burn a bloke at the stake once for saying that there was life on other planets.

Experts have warned that the Italian ruling should not be used to draw wider conclusions about the subject. In this case company director Innocenzo Marcolini developed a tumour in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for 5-6 hours a day for 12 years. He normally held the phone in his left hand, while taking notes with his right. Marcolini developed a neurinoma affecting a cranial nerve, which was apparently not cancerous but nevertheless required surgery that badly affected his quality of life.

He tried to get cash from the Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority INAIL which rejected his application, saying there was no proof his illness had been caused by his work. A court in Brescia later ruled there was a causal link between the use of mobile and cordless telephones and tumours.

Italy’s supreme court rejected an INAIL appeal against that ruling on October 12 though its decision was only reported on Friday. It said the lower court’s decision was justified and that scientific evidence advanced in support of the claim was reliable. But it added that Marcolini’s situation had been “different from normal, non-professional use of a mobile telephone."

Marcolini’s evidence used studies conducted between 2005-2009 by a group led by Lennart Hardell, a cancer specialist at the University Hospital in Orebro in Sweden. The court felt that the evidence was more reliable because it was not financed by the same companies that produce mobile telephones.

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