Health


California to list glyphosate as cancer-causing; Monsanto vows fight

27th June 2017

Glyphosate, an herbicide and the active ingredient in Monsanto Co’s (MON.N) popular Roundup weed killer, will be added to California’s list of chemicals known to cause cancer effective July 7, the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) said on Monday.

Monsanto vowed to continue its legal fight against the designation, required under a state law known as Proposition 65, and called the decision “unwarranted on the basis of science and the law.”

The listing is the latest legal setback for the seeds and chemicals company, which has faced increasing litigation over glyphosate since the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer said that it is “probably carcinogenic” in a controversial ruling in 2015.

Dicamba, a weed killer designed for use with Monsanto’s next generation of biotech crops, is under scrutiny in Arkansas after the state’s plant board voted last week to ban the chemical.

OEHHA said the designation of glyphosate under Proposition 65 will proceed following an unsuccessful attempt by Monsanto to block the listing in trial court and after requests for stay were denied by a state appellate court and the California’s Supreme Court.

Monsanto’s appeal of the trial court’s ruling is pending.

“This is not the final step in the process, and it has no bearing on the merits of the case. We will continue to aggressively challenge this improper decision,” Scott Partridge, Monsanto’s vice president of global strategy, said.

Listing glyphosate as a known carcinogen under California’s Proposition 65 would require companies selling the chemical in the state to add warning labels to packaging. Warnings would also be required if glyphosate is being sprayed at levels deemed unsafe by regulators.

Users of the chemical include landscapers, golf courses, orchards, vineyards and farms.

Monsanto and other glyphosate producers would have roughly a year from the listing date to re-label products or remove them from store shelves if further legal challenges are lost.

Monsanto has not calculated the cost of any re-labeling effort and does not break out glyphosate sales data by state, Partridge said.

Environmental groups cheered OEHHA’s move to list the chemical.

“California’s decision makes it the national leader in protecting people from cancer-causing pesticides,” said Nathan Donley, a senior scientist at the Center for Biological Diversity.

 

 

source:http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-glyphosate-california-idUSKBN19H2K1

Nearly 135 patients may have been exposed to HIV & Hepatitis at Air Force base in Qatar

24th Jun 2017

Up to 135 patients who underwent surgical procedures at the clinic at Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar over an eight-year period may have been infected with a variety of blood-borne diseases – including HIV and Hepatitis C – according to the Air Force Surgeon General.

Between April 2008 and April 2016, the Air Force Medical Service found that endoscopes used during gastrointestinal procedures “were cleaned in a manner inconsistent with sterilization guidelines,” according to a report.

An endoscope is an instrument that can be inserted into the body to gain an internal view. Both HIV and Hepatitis C are viruses that can be transmitted through blood.

The Air Force Medical Service is now reaching out to all suspected patients who may have been exposed as a result, and is providing testing and counseling resources to anyone involved.

The spokeswoman for the surgeon general, Larine Barr, said that the risk of infection was small, especially since all troops are required to have a negative HIV and Hepatitis B test before deploying.

“[The chances are] very small, particularly in a deployed environment,” she said.

Although the risk is considered small, commander of the Air Force Medical Operations Agency, Brig. Gen. Robert Miller, suggested that service members who are contacted and notified that they may have been exposed to one of the blood-borne agents should get immediate testing to make sure.

“Providing quality health care to our airmen and their families is our top priority,” Miller said in a press release. “We apologize to our patients and assure them that appropriate actions have been taken to address and mitigate the causes that led to this problem.”

Following these drastic revelations, the Air Force has issued a service-wide patient safety alert to ensure that all medical facilities are following stringent guidelines for cleaning, decontaminating and sterilizing endoscopes, as well as anything else that can be considered reusable.

 

 

 

 

source:http://americanmilitarynews.com/2017/06/nearly-135-patients-may-have-been-exposed-to-hiv-hepatitis-at-air-force-base-in-qatar/?utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=alt&utm_source=dvf

U.S. anxiety levels climb faster than rest of the world

21st June 2017

Anxiety levels of Americans over matters such as war, terrorism, hacking and identity theft have spiked in recent years, leaving the nation near average in a global barometer of perceptions of security, a survey released Tuesday said.

Concerns about war and terrorism topped the list of matters gnawing at Americans, according to the Unisys Security Index, but viruses and hacking, bank-card fraud and identity theft also stoke insecurity.

The Unisys index surveyed more than 13,000 people in 13 countries in April, and is considered one of the only recurring global snapshots of citizen perceptions.

“It appears that our cloak of security, the impression that we had that we are more secure than the rest of the world, is starting to fade,” said Bill Searcy, vice president for global justice, law enforcement and border security at Unisys, a global information technology company.

Levels of U.S. anxiety jumped sharply since the last such survey was conducted in 2014, and came in at the highest levels since the surveys began a decade ago.

The United States held eighth place among the 13 countries, chalking up the same score on perceptions of security as Colombia but trailing Australia, New Zealand, Belgium, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, the survey found. Those feeling even more insecure than Americans reside in Argentina, Brazil, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines.

It’s an understatement to say that anxiety level is high.

Ann Sung Ruckstuhl, Unisys senior vice president

“It’s an understatement to say that anxiety level is high, and we live in very uncertain times,” said Ann Sung Ruckstuhl, a Unisys senior vice president. “We definitely have seen a huge spike over the last three years.”

The index calculates a score of zero to 300 based on concern about eight specific issues within the general fields of national, financial, internet and personal security. The U.S. score jumped from 123 in 2014 to 169 this year, an increase of 37 percent, the survey found.

The rest of the world also climbed but the U.S. climbed at a higher rate.

Bill Searcy, Unisys vice president

“The rest of the world also climbed, but the U.S. climbed at a higher rate,” Searcy said.

Topping the list were national security issues, which include war and terrorism as well as natural disaster. Of Americans surveyed, 68 percent said they were extremely or very concerned about those areas.

Next came identity theft, which unnerves 61 percent. Bank-card fraud seriously unsettled 58 percent, and viruses or hacking deeply concern 56 percent.

“The findings themselves are not surprising unless you haven’t picked up a newspaper,” said Frank J. Cilluffo, director of the Center for Cyber and Homeland Security at George Washington University.

Concerns about internet insecurity are valid, he said, given the evolving nature of criminality in the cyber sphere and the way countries are digitally poking at foes.

“But shortly following that, you’ve got foreign terrorist organizations. You’ve got criminal enterprises that are as sophisticated from the tradecraft standpoint as nations were just six months ago,” said Cilluffo, a former special assistant on homeland security to President George W. Bush.

 
source; http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/national/article157220629.html#storylink=cpy

 

Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

20th May 2017

It was designed as an impregnable deep-freeze to protect the world’s most precious seeds from any global disaster and ensure humanity’s food supply forever. But the Global Seed Vault, buried in a mountain deep inside the Arctic circle, has been breached after global warming produced extraordinary temperatures over the winter, sending meltwater gushing into the entrance tunnel.

The vault is on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen and contains almost a million packets of seeds, each a variety of an important food crop. When it was opened in 2008, the deep permafrost through which the vault was sunk was expected to provide “failsafe” protection against “the challenge of natural or man-made disasters”.

But soaring temperatures in the Arctic at the end of the world’s hottest ever recorded year led to melting and heavy rain, when light snow should have been falling. “It was not in our plans to think that the permafrost would not be there and that it would experience extreme weather like that,” said Hege Njaa Aschim, from the Norwegian government, which owns the vault

“A lot of water went into the start of the tunnel and then it froze to ice, so it was like a glacier when you went in,” she told the Guardian. Fortunately, the meltwater did not reach the vault itself, the ice has been hacked out, and the precious seeds remain safe for now at the required storage temperature of -18C.

But the breach has questioned the ability of the vault to survive as a lifeline for humanity if catastrophe strikes. “It was supposed to [operate] without the help of humans, but now we are watching the seed vault 24 hours a day,” Aschim said. “We must see what we can do to minimise all the risks and make sure the seed bank can take care of itself.”

The vault’s managers are now waiting to see if the extreme heat of this winter was a one-off or will be repeated or even exceeded as climate change heats the planet. The end of 2016 saw average temperatures over 7C above normal on Spitsbergen, pushing the permafrost above melting point.

“The question is whether this is just happening now, or will it escalate?” said Aschim. The Svalbard archipelago, of which Spitsbergen is part, has warmed rapidly in recent decades, according to Ketil Isaksen, from Norway’s Meteorological Institute.

 

 

source/read more:https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/19/arctic-stronghold-of-worlds-seeds-flooded-after-permafrost-melts

Doctors warn parents about anti-vaccination documentary

16th May 2017

Doctors have taken the rare step of warning parents about an anti-vaccination film that will be screened for the first time in Perth on Friday.

The anti-vaccination documentary argues there’s a link between vaccinating children and autism.

Vaxxed is an American documentary about children who allegedly became disabled almost overnight after receiving an injection.

“He was walking and running. After the vaccine he was no longer able do that,” one woman in the documentary claimed.

The film will be shown in Perth on Friday.

Dr Andrew Miller from the WA Australian Medical Association told 7News, “This film is lies and playing on people’s emotions.”

The documentary claims there’s a link between Autism and vaccinating children. And it is directed by a former doctor, Andrew Wakefield.

“(This is) an advertisement that’s been made by a discredited ex-doctor,” Dr Andrew Miller claims.

Wembley mother Judy says the information in Vaxxed is the truth – and she’s written a thesis on it, published by the University of Woolongong.

She says her 18-year-old is also unvaccinated and healthy.

Researcher Judy Wilyman told 7News, “It’s not just my opinion, it’s having studied this topic at university and in the medical journals there are over a 100 independent studies in the peer-reviewed journals linking vaccines as a cause of autism.”

The location of the screening has so far been kept a secret. Source: 7News.

The documentary has been advertised over social media and will be screened at 7.30 on Friday night – but where has so far been kept a secret.

Viewers will be texted the address thirty minutes before show time.

Mrs Wilyman says that’s because the group who has organised the screening is worried they will be targeted for their views.

 

 

 

 

source:https://au.news.yahoo.com/wa/a/35521728/doctors-warn-parents-about-anti-vaccination-documentary/#page1

Whooping cough rates have leapt on the NSW north coast, where anti-vax sentiment is high

8th May 2017

THIRTY-SEVEN new cases of whooping cough were reported last week in the idyllic northern NSW nerve centre of militant anti-vaxxers and jab-suspicious hippies.

In April there were 83 cases in children and a total of 152 so far this year in the Northern NSW Health District, sparking calls from health authorities for parents to immunise their children against the potentially deadly disease.

But the area has dangerously low rates of vaccination in children, lowering the vital “herd immunity” — large numbers of vaccinated people — to guard against a significant whooping cough outbreak.

The rate of whooping cough in the northern district is nine times that of the neighbouring Mid-North Coast Health District which has only registered 17 cases this year.

A Sunday Telegraph analysis of the Local Health Districts reveals Northern NSW also had a much higher incidence of whooping cough than any other area in the state in 2016 as well.

A total of 10,832 NSW children contracted whooping cough statewide in 2016, according to NSW Health Data.

Children living in the north coast region, which has the lowest vaccination rate in the country, suffered four times more whooping cough than comparable areas in 2016.

Herd immunity is the linchpin of the national immunisation program.

Immunisation rates of 95 per cent offer herd immunity to minimise vaccine preventable diseases such as whooping cough spreading, however if rates fall below 90 per cent disease is more prevalent.

The Northern NSW Health district registered 518 cases of whooping cough in children last year, almost four times the rate of the Mid North Coast Health District which registered only 158 cases.

The two health districts have similar population numbers, but the Mid North Coast has a higher vaccination rate and therefore better herd immunity.

The Central Coast Local Health District, which boasts some of the highest immunisation rates in NSW only registered 372 cases despite a greater population than Northern NSW.

The Byron shire is the third most visited place in Australia behind Sydney and Melbourne.

Only 50 per cent of five-year-olds are fully vaccinated in Mullumbimby and 60 per cent in nearby Byron Bay.

Australian Medical Association president Dr Michael Gonnon said whooping cough rates in Northern NSW were probably much higher than recorded figures because many in the community eschew the GP in favour of alternative practitioners.

“A lot would not get diagnosed. People should hold their breath when driving through northern NSW but it’s a bit hard to hold your breath for 100 kilometres,” Dr Gannon said.

The director of the North Coast Public Health Unit told the Sunday Telegraph that ‘’the community is at a much greater risk of outbreaks that can run out of control”.

“Communities with low vaccination levels will have more disease,” he said.

Two babies died in the region during the 2009-12 outbreak of whooping cough.

At one month old, both Dana McCaffery and Kailis Smith were too young to be vaccinated and succumbed to the horror disease in 2009 and 2011 respectively.

Toni McCaffery has campaigned for a targeted campaign to address immunisation rates in the region since death of her daughter Dana.

“The perfect storm when Dana died is brewing again. It’s crucial pregnant women in the area get that booster shot to protect their newborns,” Mrs McCaffery said.

“When Dana died, whooping cough was four times the rate as well.

“We need to explain to parents why they should vaccinate their child and educate them about the diseases that they are preventing.

“In many cases, there is no cure and all that modern medicine can do is support a child through it,” Mrs McCaffery said.

 

source:http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/nsw/whooping-cough-rates-have-leapt-on-the-nsw-north-coast-where-antivax-sentiment-is-high/news-story

Medical studies are almost always bogus

7th May 2017

How many times have you encountered a study — on, say, weight loss — that trumpeted one fad, only to see another study discrediting it a week later?

That’s because many medical studies are junk. It’s an open secret in the research community, and it even has a name: “the reproducibility crisis.”

For any study to have legitimacy, it must be replicated, yet only half of medical studies celebrated in newspapers hold water under serious follow-up scrutiny — and about two-thirds of the “sexiest” cutting-edge reports, including the discovery of new genes linked to obesity or mental illness, are later “disconfirmed.”

Though erring is a key part of the scientific process, this level of failure slows scientific progress, wastes time and resources and costs taxpayers excesses of $28 billion a year, writes NPR science correspondent Richard Harris in his book “Rigor Mortis: How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions” (Basic Books).

“When you read something, take it with a grain of salt,” Harris tells The Post. “Even the best science can be misleading, and often what you’re reading is not the best science.”

Take one particularly enraging example: For many years research on breast cancer was conducted on misidentified melanoma cells, which means that thousands of papers published in credible scientific journals were actually studying the wrong cancer. “It’s impossible to know how much this sloppy use of the wrong cells has set back research into breast cancer,” writes Harris.

Another study claimed to have invented a blood test that could detect ovarian cancer — which would mean much earlier diagnosis. The research was hailed as a major breakthrough on morning shows and in newspapers. Further scrutiny, though, revealed the only reason the blood test “worked” was because the researchers tested the two batches on two separate days — all the women with ovarian cancer on one day, and without the disease the next. Instead of measuring the differences in the cancer, the blood test had, in fact, measured the day-to-day differences in the machine.

So why are so many tests bogus? Harris has some thoughts.

For one, science is hard. Everything from unconscious bias — the way researchers see their data through the rosy lens of their own theses — to the types of beaker they use or the bedding that they keep mice in can cloud results and derail reproducibility.

Then there is the funding issue. During the heyday of the late ’90s and early aughts, research funding increased until Congress decided to hold funding flat for the next decade, creating an atmosphere of intense, some would say unhealthy, competition among research scientists. Now only 17 percent of grants get funded (compared to a third three decades ago). Add this to the truly terrible job market for post-docs — only 21 percent land tenure track jobs — and there is a greater incentive to publish splashy counterintuitive studies, which have a higher likelihood of being wrong, writes Harris.

One effect of this “pressure to publish” situation is intentional data manipulation, where scientists cherry-pick the information that supports a hypothesis while ignoring the data that doesn’t — an all too common problem in academic research, writes Harris.

“There’s a constant scramble for research dollars. Promotions and tenure depend on making splashy discoveries. There are big rewards for being first, even if the work ultimately fails the test of time,” writes Harris.

‘Promotions and tenure depend on making splashy discoveries. There are big rewards for being first, even if the work ultimately fails the test of time.’

This will only get worse if funding is cut further — something that seems inevitable under proposed federal tax cuts. “It only exacerbates the problems. With so many scientists fighting for a shrinking pool of money, cuts will only make all of these issues worse,” Harris says.

Luckily, there is a growing group of people working to expose the ugly side of how research is done. One of them is Stanford professor John Ioannidis, considered one of the heroes of the reproducibility movement. He’s written extensively on the topic, including a scathing paper titled “Why Most Published Scientific Research Findings Are False.”

He’s found, for example, out of tens of thousands of papers touting discoveries of specific genes linked to everything from depression to obesity, only 1.2 percent had truly positive results. Meanwhile, Dr. Ioannidis followed 49 studies that had been cited at least a thousand times — of which seven had been “flatly contradicted” by further research. This included one that claimed estrogen and progestin benefited women after hysterectomies “when in fact the drug combination increased the risk of heart disease and breast cancer.”

Other organizations like Retraction Watch, which tracks discredited studies in real time, and the Cochrane group, an independent network of researchers that pushes for evidence-based medicine, act as industry watchdogs. There is also an internal push for scientists to make their data public so it’s easier to police bad science.

The public can play a role, too. “If we curb our enthusiasm a bit,” Harris writes, “scientists will be less likely to run headlong after dubious ideas.”

 

 

source: http://nypost.com/2017/05/06/medical-studies-are-almost-always-bogus/

New computers could delete thoughts without your knowledge, experts warn

2nd May 2017

New human rights laws are required to protect sensitive information in a person’s mind from ‘unauthorised collection, storage, use or even deletion’

 

“Thou canst not touch the freedom of my mind,” wrote the playwright John Milton in 1634.

But, nearly 400 years later, technological advances in machines that can read our thoughts mean the privacy of our brain is under threat.

Now two biomedical ethicists are calling for the creation of new human rights laws to ensure people are protected, including “the right to cognitive liberty” and “the right to mental integrity”.

Scientists have already developed devices capable of telling whether people are politically right-wing or left-wing. In one experiment, researchers were able to read people’s minds to tell with 70 per cent accuracy whether they planned to add or subtract two numbers.

Facebook also recently revealed it had been secretly working on technology to read people’s minds so they could type by just thinking.

And medical researchers have managed to connect part of a paralysed man’s brain to a computer to allow him to stimulate muscles in his arm so he could move it and feed himself.

The ethicists, writing in a paper in the journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy, stressed the “unprecedented opportunities” that would result from the “ubiquitous distribution of cheaper, scalable and easy-to-use neuro-applications” that would make neurotechnology “intricately embedded in our everyday life”.

However, such devices are open to abuse on a frightening degree, as the academics made clear.

They warned that “malicious brain-hacking” and “hazardous uses of medical neurotechnology” could require a redefinition of the idea of mental integrity.

“We suggest that in response to emerging neurotechnology possibilities, the right to mental integrity should not exclusively guarantee protection from mental illness or traumatic injury but also from unauthorised intrusions into a person’s mental wellbeing performed through the use of neurotechnology, especially if such intrusions result in physical or mental harm to the neurotechnology user,” the ethicists wrote.

“The right to mental privacy is a neuro-specific privacy right which protects private or sensitive information in a person’s mind from unauthorised collection, storage, use, or even deletion in digital form or otherwise.”

And they warned that the techniques were so sophisticated that people’s minds might be being read or interfered with without their knowledge.

“Illicit intrusions into a person’s mental privacy may not necessarily involve coercion, as they could be performed under the threshold of a persons’ conscious experience,” they wrote in the paper.

“The same goes for actions involving harm to a person’s mental life or unauthorised modifications of a person’s psychological continuity, which are also facilitated by the ability of emerging neurotechnologies to intervene into a person’s neural processing in absence of the person’s awareness.”

They proposed four new human rights laws: the right to cognitive liberty, the right to mental privacy, the right to mental integrity and the right to psychological continuity.

Professor Roberto Andorno, an academic at Zurich University’s law school and a co-author of the paper, said: “Brain imaging technology has already reached a point where there is discussion over its legitimacy in criminal court, for example as a tool for assessing criminal responsibility or even the risk of re-offending.

“Consumer companies are using brain imaging for ‘neuromarketing’ to understand consumer behaviour and elicit desired responses from customers.

“There are also tools such as ‘brain decoders’ which can turn brain imaging data into images, text or sound.

“All of these could pose a threat to personal freedom which we sought to address with the development of four new human rights laws.”

And his colleague Marcello Ienca, of the Institute for Biomedical Ethics at Basel University, said: “The mind is considered to be the last refuge of personal freedom and self-determination, but advances in neural engineering, brain imaging and neurotechnology put the freedom of the mind at risk.

“Our proposed laws would give people the right to refuse coercive and invasive neurotechnology, protect the privacy of data collected by neurotechnology, and protect the physical and psychological aspects of the mind from damage by the misuse of neurotechnology.”

He admitted such advances might sound like something out of the world of science fiction.

But he added: “Neurotechnology featured in famous stories has in some cases already become a reality, while others are inching ever closer, or exist as military and commercial prototypes.

“We need to be prepared to deal with the impact these technologies will have on our personal freedom.”

 

source:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/delete-thoughts-read-your-mind-without-your-knowledge-neurotechnology-new-human-rights-laws-a7701661.html

A 42 per cent increase in autism diagnoses is no cause for alarm

30th April 2017

The number of Australians diagnosed with autism increased by 42 per cent between 2012 and 2015, but research and advocacy groups are adamant it’s not a cause for alarm.

In 2015, 164,000 Australians had autism diagnoses, according to results of an ABS survey released on Wednesday. That’s an increase of around 50,000 people since 2012.

This figure reflects the number of diagnoses – not the number of people with conditions that might be classified as autism if they sought a diagnosis.

Professor Andrew Whitehouse, Senior Principal Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia’s Telethon Kids Institute, said that Australia’s autism diagnosis rate was now in line with other countries at around 1.1 per cent.

“What this figure represents is a rise in the numbers of children and adults diagnosed with autism,” he said.

“All the evidence that we have to date is showing that the rise in the number of kids and adults being diagnosed with autism is due to increased awareness, not just at the health professional side, but also at the family side.”

He added that the roll-out of the NDIS has led to more Australians seeking formal diagnosis in order to access services.

A new Muppet called Julia, has autism, is about to be introduced to Sesame Street’s TV family.

Autism Awareness Australia CEO, Nicole Rogerson, said we are only now understanding the true prevalence of autism in the community.

“I would hate to think that this statistic freaked out new parents of little babies and toddlers right now that think we are in the grip of some frightening epidemic,” she said.

“That’s where silly conspiracy theories and vaccination theories [about a link with autism] come from, and that’s all really unhelpful.”

Autism is a condition that affects the brain’s growth and development, and can be characterised by difficulty in social communication and interaction.

Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, from the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University, said the rise was also caused by a broadening of the criteria of autism and improvement in identifying autism earlier in children.

She said the increase may also be linked to biological factors and that children of older fathers and premature babies have a higher chance of receiving autism diagnoses.

“Premature babies live now, in the past they used to die. Prematurity is a risk factor for autism,” she said.

“There are biological factors that work to increase the risk, they haven’t all been identified.”

IT companies are reaching out to support the development of programming skills for people with autism.

She said one paper she contributed to found that the mean age of diagnosis for people under seven was around four years of age whereas in the 1980s children were rarely diagnosed before five or six, “so we are getting better.”

Ms Rogerson said diagnosing a child and providing dedicated assistance from age two or three will help them achieve “their best outcome”.

“Children with autism can make marked improvements and make autism a lot less disabling in their life if they have got access to good quality early intervention,” she said.

“But it’s the ‘early’ in early intervention that’s important.”

According to the ABS survey of 63,500 people in 2015, of those with autism, almost two-in-three were classed as having “profound or severe disability” and almost three-in-four needed help with cognitive and emotional tasks. About half needed help with communication.

The ABS classifies autism as including Asperger’s Syndrome, pervasive developmental disorder, Rett Syndrome and childhood disintegrative disorder.

 

 

source:http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2017/03/29/why-42-cent-increase-autism-diagnoses-no-cause-alarm

Italian court finds link between cell phone use and tumor

21st April 2017

A longtime Telecom Italia employee has been awarded monthly social security payments after a court found that his brain tumor was caused by improper use of a company-issued cellphone.

Lawyer Stefano Bertone said Thursday that it was the first trial court verdict of which he was aware in the world “to recognize a link between cellphone use and the development of brain tumor.”

Bertone said one factor that appeared to have contributed to the verdict was the refusal by the court’s expert to accept into evidence studies that were funded by the telecom industry.

The legal reasoning behind the ruling, which was issued by a court in the northern city of Ivrea last month but only made public on Thursday, is expected to be released in the coming weeks.

The employee, Roberto Romeo, used the company cellphone for three hours a day for 15 years without taking any precautions, resulting in the non-cancerous tumor and the subsequent loss of hearing in one ear.

“The norms say intense use is one hour a day,” Romeo told Sky TG24. “I went well beyond the limits.”

Romeo sued the state social security agency, not Telecom Italia, where he still works. He said he is not against cellphone use, but that consumers should adopt safety measures. His lawyer said those could include reducing cel phone use and using specialized anti-radiation ear buds.

Under the ruling, Romeo will receive between 6,000 and 7,000 euros ($6,000-$7,500) a year, Bertone said.

The Codacons consumer protection agency says it is considering a class-action based on the Romeo decision to have cellphones carry health warnings in Italy, and also to have the health risks associated with cellphone use recognized generally by Italy’s social security agency.

Bertone said that a 2012 decision by Italy’s highest court awarding social security payments to a sales manager who was on a cellphone five or six hours a day helped paved the way for the ruling in his client’s case. In the earlier case, the trial court denied the claim, but Italy’s highest court accepted a link between excessive cell phone use and the manager’s tumour.

source:http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_ITALY_CELL_PHONE_TUMOR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-04-20-14-24-32