Parkinsons classified as workplace injury

Three workers thought to have contracted Parkinsons while working at Vargön papermill have had their illness classified as a workplace injury. Gothenburg's Court of Administrative Appeal overruled a previous county court decision.

The three workers in the small western Swedish town became ill after several years of exposure to the aromatic hydrocarbon biphenyl. The substance was used until 1970 for waterproofing the paper used to wrap oranges as a means of preventing the onset of mould.

The Swedish Social Insurance Agency in Vänersborg first approved the categorization of Parkinsons as a workplace injury in 2003. The county court however later overturned the agency’s ruling on the grounds that there was insufficient proof that biphenyl could cause Parkinsons.

But on Wednesday the Court of Administrative Appeal lent its support to the agency’s original decision.

“It is very satisfactory that the Court of Administrative Appeal has now decreed that the workers’ illness stemmed from their work environment,” said Jörgen Nilsson, who works as a lawyer for the trade union legal firm LO-TCO Rättsskydd AB.

“This means that they will be fully reimbursed for the loss of income, giving them the opportunity to lead a more economically tolerable life,” he added.