Italy high court finds causal link between mobile phones and cancer

[JURIST] The Italian Supreme Court [official website, in Italian] ruled Thursday that a causal link exists between cell phone use and cancer, ordering that the appellant be compensated. The court found that the appellant developed a benign tumor on the left side of his face due to his job's requirement that he spend 5-6 hours a day on the phone. The Supreme Court held [Il Giorno report, in Italian] the injury entitled the appellant to an 80 percent disability pension. The Supreme Court's decision was largely based upon studies performed by the Hardell Group [text] between 2005 and 2009, which the court held showed an increased risk of malignancy due to heavy mobile phone use. The Italian labor agency (INAIL) [official website, in Italian] argued in favor of indemnifying the manager, as the situation in the instant case was unique and non-indicative of normal phone use.

The connection between mobile phone use and cancerous growth has long been debated in scientific communities. The World Health Organization (WHO) [official website] compiled studies [WHO fact sheet] over several decades that have yet to support the causal link claimed by the Italian court, and Hardell's conclusions have been challenged by many researchers [Cancer Research UK report]. Attempts to find the causal link are greatly hampered, not only by the available evidence and the duration involved with the growth and detection of tumors, but by rapidly changing microwave output levels of phones at various stages of technology, basic difficulties in assessing the exposure level to the radiation itself and claims that microwave output levels cannot be correlated to exposure [JURIST report].

 

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