Alaska Court Decision Could Open Door to Millions of Disability Claims, Nonprofit Says

August 23, 2007

The Alaska Supreme Court has decided a case that could open the door to disability claims from millions of wireless industry or maintenance workers who experience occupational exposures to operating antenna arrays, according to the nonprofit group EMR Policy Institute.

In AT&T Alascom and Ward North America, Inc., v. John Orchitt; and The State of Alaska, Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Workers’ Compensation, the state high court upheld the Alaska Workers’ Compensation Board decision awarding an AT&T equipment installer 100 percent disability due to his exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RF) at levels slightly above the FCC RF safety limit. The award is based on psychological and cognitive effects of RF over-exposure.

EMR said the decision is significant because the FCC RF limit protects only against heating and ignores other adverse biological effects at much lower levels. “The RF exposure level in question was well below FCC’s recognized level of ‘thermal’ harm,” EMR said in a statement. “FCC contends there are no scientifically established harmful health effects below the thermal threshold. The Board decision concurs with medical experts who found adverse RF health effects from exposure occurring above the FCC safety limit but below the thermal threshold.”

According to the court, substantial evidence supported the board’s findings. Furthermore, the court said the board’s procedural decisions did not deprive AT&T of due process,thus it affirmed the superior court’s judgment that affirmed the board’s ruling.

To view the court opinion, visit

Source: , Alaska Supreme Court, EMR Policy Institute

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