In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court of Italy granted worker’s compensation to a businessman who developed a tumor after using a cell phone for 12 years. This is the first time that any high court, anywhere in the world, has ever ruled in favor of a link between cell phone radiation and the development of tumors.
A financial manager at an industrial plant in Brescia, Italy, Innocente Marcolini, used cell and cordless phones for about five-hours daily for 12 years. About ten years ago, Marcolini,
50 at the time, began to feel an odd tingling sensation in his chin, which he discovered when shaving, explained Microwave News. He was diagnosed with a benign trigeminal nerve tumor; the trigeminal nerve controls facial muscles and sensations. Marcolini’s worker’s compensation claim alleged that the tumor was the result of the wireless phones he was required to use for work. At first rejected, the Court of Appeals in Brescia reversed the decision in 2009; on October 18, Italy’s Supreme Court affirmed the Appeals Court’s ruling, according to Microwave News, which pointed out that further appeals are no longer possible.
Gino Angelo Levis, one of the founders of the International Commission for Electromagnetic Safety (ICEMS), provided critical testimony in this case. An oncologist and professor emeritus of environmental mutagenesis at the University of Padua, Levis is also a founder and former president of the Association for the Prevention and Fight Against Electrosmog (Apple), currently serving as its vice president. ICEMS has expressed concerns about the uncertainties of cellular telephones and is an advocate of policies that reduce exposures to these devices, whenever possible, said Microwave News.
Acoustic Neuroma Linked to Cell Phones Worldwide
Another ICEMS founder, Fiorenzo Marinelli, with Italy’s National Research Council and an expert in EMF research, pointed to studies conducted by Lennart Hardell and the International Agency for Research on Cancer’s (IARC) classification of RF radiation as a potential human carcinogen as grounds for the case’s decision. Hardell and his team at the Örebro University Hospital in Sweden found that cell phone use for a decade or more led to significant risks for acoustic neuroma, a tumor of the acoustic—or eighth cranial—nerve, Microwave News explained.
Acoustic neuromas grow from Schwann cells, which comprise the nerve. The trigeminal nerve is the fifth cranial nerve and tumors here, also from Schwann cells, are closely related to acoustic neuroma.
In 2002, Hardell reported a link between cell phones and acoustic neuroma. In 2004, a group led by Stefan Lönn and Maria Feychting at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm—part of the renowned Interphone project—discovered a similar link. In 2005, joint analysis by Interphone groups in five northern European countries, pointed to long-term risks of acoustic neuroma linked to cell phone use. In 2010, a Japanese team working on Interphone concluded that people using cell phones for more than 20 minutes daily for at least five years suffered from a three-fold risk of developing acoustic neuromas. And, in 2011, the Interphone study team from the 13 participating countries reported, in their combined analysis, that people who had spent the most time on cell phones experienced increased risks for acoustic neuroma, said Microwave News.
Grade IV Glioblastoma
Perhaps the most deadly, potential risk, associated with cell phone use is Grade IV Glioblastoma, a deadly cancer that affects thousands of Americans yearly. WebMD notes that the only known risk factor for glioblastoma is prior radiation to the brain; Lake Forest University notes that risk factors—including ionizing radiation exposure—have proven damaging to this disease.
A glioma is the most common form of primary brain tumor and involves four different types: astrocytoma, ependymoma, oligodendroglioma and mixed glioma. Astrocytomas are the most common glioma type and can develop in most areas of the brain and, sometimes, in the spinal cord. The National Brain Tumor Society points out that while these tumors typically arise in the cerebral hemispheres, which are the brain’s main portions, they can also occur in the brain stem and cerebellum, as well as in the spinal cord. Symptoms of a glioblastoma include headaches due to increased pressure within the skull (intracranial pressure), memory loss, seizures, personality changes, and coordination problems, says the National Brain Tumor Society.
Within this classification are four more types of gliomas graded I-IV. The most common and aggressive astrocytoma is the glioblastoma (grade IV), the Mayo Clinic notes. Because of their aggressive nature, glioblastomas typically penetrate throughout that area of the brain in which the tumor is located. This penetration makes glioblastomas very difficult to treat, leaving treating physicians with limited options that include surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy. Radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause fatigue, hair loss, dry scalp, worsening of neurological problems, nausea, weight loss, and increased risk of infection. Other symptoms can be significant and are based on the follow-up medications prescribed and, in general, brain surgery can cause severe fatigue, weakness, exhaustion, lack of energy, sleepiness, confusion, and brain cognition and function changes. Cancer fatigue may lead to difficulties in thinking.
A World Health Organization (WHO) work group declared the radiofrequency electromagnetic fields emitted by cell phones to be “possibly carcinogenic to humans.” This conclusion followed a weeklong IARC meeting that involved 31 scientists from 14 countries. IARC concluded that there was sufficient evidence linking cell phone use to increased risk of developing a glioblastoma.
Jonathan Samet, MD, of the University of Southern California and chair of the work group, said the “evidence, while still accumulating, is strong enough to support a conclusion and the 2B classification” for carcinogenic agents, which is where these energy fields were placed based on IARC’s declaration. “The conclusion means that there could be some risk, and therefore we need to keep a close watch for a link between cell phones and cancer risk,” Samet said in a statement.
An estimated five billion people, worldwide, use cell phones.
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