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Italian court rules cell phone use linked to tumor

dw.com logo dw.com 2017-04-21 es/rc (AP, AFP)

© Provided by Deutsche Welle ZA An Italian court announced on Thursday that work-mandated mobile phone use could cause tumors in a milestone case. Telecom Italia employee Roberto Romeo has been awarded monthly support from social security after the court found that the excessive phone use necessary for his job contributed to the development of a brain tumor.

"I had no choice but to use my mobile to talk to colleagues and organise work -- for 15 years I was calling all the time, from home, in the car," Romeo testified. "I started to have the feeling of my right ear being blocked all the time and the tumour was diagnosed in 2010. Happily, it was benign but I can no longer hear anything because they had to remove my acoustic nerve."

Romeo stressed that he didn't think it was bad to use cell phones per se, but that the public should be made aware of safety issues.

According to his laywer, Stefano Berton, the verdict was the first in the world that he knew of "to recognize a link between cellphone use and the development of brain tumor." He also applauded the court's decision not to accept into evidence scientific studies financed by the telecommunications industry.

State social security must now pay Romeo 500 euros ($535) a month after a doctor testified that the man had damage to 23 percent of his bodily functions.

Most research has concluded that moderate cell phone use poses no substantial risk to human health. However, some experts say its too soon to tell what sort of long-term effects heavy usage may have.

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