(May 29, 2019) Cell phone use caused a man’s brain tumor, said an Italian court in April 2017. The judge in the case ruled that a longtime Telecom Italia employee developed a brain tumor as a result of heavy cell phone use. He ordered that Roberto Romero be awarded 6,000 to 7,000 euros per year, the US equivalent of $6,000 to $7,500.
Mr. Romero’s lawyer, Stefano Bertone, said one factor in the court’s decision was its refusal to accept into evidence studies which were funded by the telecom industry.
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Mr. Romero used the company cell phone for three hours a day for 15 years without taking any precautions. He developed an ipsilateral tumor (on the side of the head glued to the phone) and lost his hearing in that ear. Though the tumor was non-cancerous, it required surgical removal.
The Telecom Italia employee sued the state social security agency rather than the company for which he still works. He believes cell phone users should adopt some safety measures. His lawyer, Mr. Bertone, said those measures could include reducing cell use and using anti-radiation ear buds. (Editor’s note: Regular earbuds may not be protective. Defender Shield sells radiation-reducing ear buds.)
2012 Ruling helped 2017 Case
Mr. Bertone said he believed that a 2012 decision by Italy’s highest court helped pave the way for Mr. Romero’s ruling. The 2012 case saw Italian’s highest court award social security payments to a salesman who used his cell phone five or six hours a day before developing a brain tumor. The trial court that first heard the salesman’s claim denied it, but Italy’s highest court then took it up and ruled that there was a link between the man’s heavy cell phone use and his tumor.