Italian supreme court upholds ruling on link between phone use and tumours

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 20 October, 2012, 3:58am

Italy's supreme court has upheld a ruling that said there was a link between a business executive's brain tumour and his heavy mobile phone usage, potentially opening the door to further legal claims.

The court's decision flies in the face of much scientific opinion, which generally says there is not enough evidence to declare a link between mobile phone use and diseases such as cancer.

Some experts said the Italian ruling should not be used to draw wider conclusions about the contentious subject.

"Great caution is needed before we jump to conclusions about mobile phones and brain tumours," said Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at Britain's Royal Berkshire Hospital.

The Italian case concerned company director Innocenzo Marcolini, who developed a tumour in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for five to six hours a day for 12 years.

Marcolini developed a so-called neurinoma affecting a cranial nerve, which was apparently not cancerous but nevertheless required surgery that badly affected his quality of life.

He initially sought financial compensation from the Italian Workers' Compensation Authority (INAIL), which rejected his application, saying there was no proof his illness had been caused by his work.

But a court in Brescia later ruled that there was a causal link.

Italy's supreme court rejected an INAIL appeal against that ruling on October 12, though it was only reported yesterday.