Causal Link Between Mobile Phones And Brain Tumour: A New Decision Revives The Debate

Author:Ms Francesca Rolla, Christian Di Mauro, Alessandro Borrello and Vincenzo Donadio
Profession:Hogan Lovells
 
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On 13 January 2020 the Turin Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal filed by the National Insurance Provider ("INAIL") and upheld the first instance decision issued by the Court of Ivrea in 2017, which had established causation between extensive work-related use of mobile phone and brain tumour, ordering INAIL to compensate the claimant with a lifelong payment.

Background of the case

A 57-year-old employee of the Italian telecommunication company Telecom sued INAIL before the Court of Ivrea alleging that he developed an acoustic neurinoma as a result of the allegedly extensive work-related use of mobile phone.

The Court of Ivrea appointed a court expert to investigate causation and, in 2017 ruled that, although there is no scientific certainty about the possible carcinogenic effects of radiofrequencies, mobile phones may play a role in causing rare diseases as the one allegedly suffered by the claimant.

The decision of the Turin Court of Appeals

In the appeal proceedings, the Turin Court of Appeals directed a new court expertise in order to re-investigate over causation. Based on the findings of the new court appointed experts, the Court fully confirmed the first instance decision thus rejecting the appeal brought by INAIL.

Inter alia, the court appointed experts:

Specified that the employee had used mobile phones employing 2G GSM technology (which generated radiofrequency radiations almost 100 times higher compared to the current devices employing 3G and 4G technology); Mentioned several scientific studies that have asserted a higher probability of developing neoplastic diseases among mobile phones' users, and referred to experimental studies performed on animals; Referred to the classification of electromagnetic fields as "possibly carcinogenic to humans" (category 2B) authored in 2011 by the International Agency for Research on Cancer ("IARC"). Moreover, the court experts pointed out that in April 2019 an Advisory Group of 29 scientists coming from 19 different countries included radiofrequency among those agents recommended for re-evaluation of carcinogenicity with high priority by the IARC (for years from 2020 to 2024). The Turin Court of Appeals...

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