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Court rules excessive cell phone use caused brain tumor in 57-year-old man

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For years, there has been a debate about whether overuse of cell phones is dangerous or not. Much of the debate has centered on the question of whether or not the radiation phones emit can cause brain tumors or other health problems.

Those of you who are old enough to remember late GOP strategist Lee Atwater may recall that he was one of the early adopters of cell phones in the public eye. He was often photographed with a cell phone glued to his ear.

When he died of a brain tumor at age 40 in 1991, his family and others started speculating about the long-term dangers of cellular technology.

The wireless industry has steadfastly denied any link between mobile phone use and tumor growth.

But an Italian court has a differing view.

Read more: These apps are draining your cell phone battery the most

Man awarded pension after benign brain tumor

A 57-year-old Italian man who says he developed a brain tumor after excessive work-related use of his phone has been awarded a state-funded pension of 500 Euros (roughly $535) a month, according to U.K. newspaper The Guardian.

The man alleges he developed a brain tumor after 15 years of using his phone for three to four hours each day in the course of business.

Thankfully, the tumor was benign. It was removed during a surgical procedure, but now the man can’t hear anything out of one ear because his acoustic nerve was also removed during the operation.

“For the first time in the world, a court has recognized a causal link between inappropriate use of a mobile phone and a brain tumor,” the man’s lawyers said in a statement.

The Guardian is calling it a “landmark ruling,” but we’ll have to wait and see what reverberations it has throughout the wireless phone community.

Safety tips for cell phone use

No matter what side of the debate you stand on, we can all agree that some simple safety measures can lessen any possible dangers of cell phone use.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) suggests the following:

1. Use speaker phone when possible. This will reduce radiation to the head simply because you won’t have to have the phone glued to your ear!

2. Keep the phone away from your body when using speaker phone. “The amount of radiation absorbed by your head and body decreases dramatically with even a small distance,” the EWG notes.

3. Text when you can. The use of SMS emits less radiation than voice calls.

4. A weak signal is dangerous. “Research shows that radiation exposure increases dramatically when cell phone signals are weak,” according to the EWG.

5. Keep young kids away from the phone. The brains of young children are growing quickly and could potentially absorb more radiation. Limit usage for young kids to emergency situations only.

Read more: 7 text messages you should always ignore

Scam alert: Fake iPhone apps

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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