Italy's Supreme Court has ruled that mobile phones can cause cancer in a landmark case that could open the door for other victims to take legal action.
The court ruled that there was a causal link between businessman Innocente Marcolini's brain tumor diagnosis and his phone use.
The 60-year-old, whose face is partially paralyzed, had used his cell phone at work for up to six hours a day for 12 years. He argues that his cell phone use while dealing with clients in China and elsewhere overseas caused the tumor on the trigeminal nerve in his head.
Marcolini had developed neurinoma, and while the tumor was apparently not cancerous, his lawyers argued that it required surgery and badly affected his quality of life.
Marcolini's lawyers presented doctors who testified that excessive cell phone use increases the risk of brain tumors.
"This is significant for very many people. I wanted this problem to become public because many people still do not know the risks. I was on the phone, usually the mobile, for at least five or six hours every day at work. I wanted it recognized that there was a link between my illness and the use of mobile and cordless phones. Parents need to know their children are at risk of this illness," Marcolini said, according to The Sun newspaper.
Marcolini had initially tried to get financial compensation from the Italian Workers' Compensation Authority INAIL, which rejected his application, citing that there was no proof that his illness had been caused by his work.
However, a court in Brescia later ruled that there was a causal link between Marcolini's use of mobile and cordless telephones and his diagnosis.
On October 12, the Italian Supreme Court rejected INAIL appeal against that ruling, saying that the lower court's decision was justified and that scientific evidence presented in support of the claim was reliable.
The Supreme Court said that Marcolini's instance had been "different from normal, non-professional use of a mobile telephone", and that the research presented was independent and "unlike some others, was not co-financed by the same companies that produce mobile telephones," according to Reuters.
The latest ruling goes against many large scientific studies, which found that there was not enough evidence to say that there is a link between mobile phone use and diseases like cancer. Some experts say that the latest Italian ruling should not be used to make bigger conclusions about the subject.