Innocente Marcolini, Financial Manager at an industrial plant in Brescia in Northern Italy, used mobile phones and cordless phones for 5 to 6 hours a day for 12 years. One morning ten years ago, Mr Marcolini who was 50 years old at the time sensed an unusual tingling in his chin while shaving. He went to see his doctor and was soon diagnosed with a benign tumour on his trigeminal nerve. The trigeminal or fifth cranial nerve, is the nerve responsible for sensation in the face and certain motor functions such as biting and chewing. The word “trigeminal” literally means thrice twinned and derives from the fact that each trigeminal nerve one on each side of the pons, has three major branches: the ophthalmic nerve, the maxillary nerve and the mandibular nerve. The ophthalmic and maxillary nerves are purely sensory but the mandibular has both sensory and motor functions.
Although the tumour was not malignant, it required surgery and this affected Mr Marcolini’s quality of life.
He initially made a request for compensation to the Italian Worker’s Compensation Authority INAIL which insures Italian workers against work related health risks. INAIL rejected his request on the ground that Mr Marcolini had failed to prove that his condition was caused by his work. Mr Marcolini sued INAIL in the Court of First Instance, but the court ruled against him. In December 2009, the Court of Appeal in Brescia reversed the decision, and INAIL then appealed to Italy’s Surpreme Courts which affirmed the Brescia appeal court’s ruling and awarded Mr Marcolini compensation in the form of a disability pension.
This is the first time a court has found a causal link between the use of mobile phone and brain tumours.
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