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Italy declares man’s brain tumor linked to his mobile phone use

The Italian man in question is Robert Romero. During the court case Romero said he was regularly required to use his mobile phone for business and this was typically between three and four hours per day. This regular use went on for 15 years. Romero’s lawyers – Ambrosio and Commodo – claimed that this high level of usage led to the growth of a benign brain tumor. As a result the court awarded Romero compensation of 500 euros ($535) a month, for life, in compensation., via an Italian government organization established to cover workplace related injuries.

As evidence, Romero and his legal team cited a long-running U.S. study run by the National Toxicology Program which is studying the issue of mobile phone use. Interim findings suggest a “low incidence” of brain and heart tumors in male rats exposed to doses of radiofrequency radiation. This was with the equivalent exposure of nine hours a day over a two-year period. It should be noted that no final conclusions have been made and the study is still running.

There is uncertainty about the case. The Italian judge has yet to declare the reason why he made the decision and in relation to which specific piece of law. Depending on the statement from the court, an appeal hearing could be held.

There is also uncertainty from experts about the validity of the ruling. For instance, Dr David Jenkinson, who is the chief scientific officer for the British-based Brain Tumor Charity told the BBC: “We know that many people are concerned about a possible connection between mobile phone use and the development of brain tumors.”

Nevertheless, he cautions: “the global research projects that have been conducted so far, involving hundreds of thousands of people, have found insufficient evidence that using a mobile phone increases the risk of developing a brain tumor.”

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Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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