Can mobile phone use cause brain tumors?

An Italian court has determined it can. The case was brought by an unnamed, 63-year-old man who had worked at a metal construction company in northern Italy. In the course of his work, he used his mobile phone against his left ear for more than two and a half hours a day, or a total of 10 to more than 13 thousand hours between 1995 and 2008.

He developed a vestibular schwannoma, or tumour of the cranial nerve, also known as an acoustic neuroma. As a result, he experienced ‘left deafness, right cochlear implant, facial nerve paresis, balance disorder and depressive syndrome, permanent biological damage.’ The man sought compensation from the Court of Aosta which, in 2020, determined in his favour and ordered the Italian agency responsible for insuring workplace accidents, INAIL, to pay the man a pension of approximately 350 Euros a month. INAIL appealed the decision and the case moved to the Turin Court of Appeal. The Turin Court consultant, Professor Roberto Albera, considered that there was a ‘high probability’ that the tumour was caused by the mobile phone use. ‘In the absence of other possible causes, there is the presence of a single risk factor consisting of prolonged exposure to radio frequencies,’ he said.

On November 2 2022, the Turin Court of Appeal affirmed the decision by the Court of Aosta, namely that the brain tumour was caused by mobile phone use. In the course of the hearing, the court was told that an Italian telecommunications company, Windtre, had recognised the risks of radiofrequency radiation from mobile phones and taken precautions.

In a 2017 risk Assessment document, the company wrote, ‘every company mobile phone is supplied including a headset, which must therefore be used to keep the device not in adherence to the face. Fixed telephones are equipped with a connection cable between the device and the handset; cordless or similar are therefore not available in the company.’ This is the second time the Turin Court of Appeal determined that mobile phone use caused a brain tumour.

In 2020, it ruled that compensation be paid to Roberto Romeo for a brain tumour related to his work at Telecom Italia. The lawyers who represented the appellant in the November 2 judgment, from Ambrosio and Commodo Law Firm in Turin, are also following five other cases of brain tumours from mobile phone use.

Media release from lawyer Stefano Bertone from Abrosio and Commodo Lawyers. (With thanks to Dr Joel Moskowitz.)

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