From Joe Moskowitz:
Contrary to the denials of many heath agencies in the U.S. and some other countries, the Italian courts have recognized a “causal” link between heavy mobile phone use and brain tumor risk.
Interestingly, the Italian courts dismissed the research that was co-financed by the mobile phone industry including the WHO Interphone study. Instead, the courts relied on the epidemiologic research conducted by Lennart Hardell and his colleagues in Sweden which shows consistent evidence of increased brain tumor risk associated with mobile phone use.
In our review of the epidemiologic research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in 2009, we found that the research which was co-financed by the Telecom industry was of lower quality and was less likely to report evidence of increased tumor risk. Moreover, the authors of these studies dismissed the evidence of risk they did uncover as artifactual. We raised concerns that conflicts of interest may have affected the conduct of the research and biased the reporting of it. In our rebuttal to the letters to the editor from the industry and industry-funded scientists, we called for governments to fund research that is independent of industry to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest.
Since there are now more than 330 million cell phone subscribers in the U.S., a fee of 50 cents per year on each cell phone would generate sufficient resources to conduct the long overdue. independent research that could lead to safer technologies and to educate the public about how to use their cell phones safely.
Twelve nations and the European Union have already issued precautionary health warnings regarding mobile phone use. In the U.S., San Francisco is the only city in the nation to have adopted cell phone “right to know” legislation, but the Telecom industry (i.e., CTIA-The Wireless Association) has blocked implementation of this law for two years by filing a lawsuit claiming that the court-approved fact sheet violates the industry’s First Amendment rights.
Italy court ruling links mobile phone use to tumour
Reuters, Oct 19, 2012
* Case concerned a man who used mobile for 5-6 hours a day
* Evidence used by court is contested
Oct 19 (Reuters) – Italy’s supreme court has upheld a ruling that said there was a link between a business executive’s brain tumour and his heavy mobile phone usage, potentially opening the door to further legal claims.
The court’s decision flies in the face of much scientific opinion, which generally says there is not enough evidence to declare a link between mobile phone use and diseases such as cancer and some experts said the Italian ruling should not be used to draw wider conclusions about the subject.
“Great caution is needed before we jump to conclusions about mobile phones and brain tumours,” said Malcolm Sperrin, director of medical physics and clinical engineering at Britain’s Royal Berkshire Hospital.
The Italian case concerned company director Innocenzo Marcolini who developed a tumour in the left side of his head after using his mobile phone for 5-6 hours a day for 12 years. He normally held the phone in his left hand, while taking notes with his right hand.
Marcolini developed a so-called neurinoma affecting a cranial nerve, which was apparently not cancerous but nevertheless required surgery that badly affected his quality of life.
He initially sought financial compensation from the Italian Workers’ Compensation Authority INAIL which rejected his application, saying there was no proof his illness had been caused by his work.
But a court in Brescia later ruled there was a causal link between the use of mobile and cordless telephones and tumours.
Italy’s supreme court rejected an INAIL appeal against that ruling on Oct. 12 though its decision was only reported on Friday.
It said the lower court’s decision was justified and that scientific evidence advanced in support of the claim was reliable. Marcolini’s situation had been “different from normal, non-professional use of a mobile telephone”, it said.
The evidence was based on studies conducted between 2005-2009 by a group led by Lennart Hardell, a cancer specialist at the University Hospital in Orebro in Sweden. The court said the research was independent and “unlike some others, was not co-financed by the same companies that produce mobile telephones”.
(Reporting By Virginia Alimenti; Additional reporting by Naomi O’Leary and Kate Kelland in London; Editing by Andrew Osborn)
Joel M. Moskowitz, Ph.D.
Center for Family and Community Health
School of Public Health
University of California, Berkeley
50 University Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7360