Wigan dad launches legal action against mobile phone giant Nokia

Neil Whitfield
Neil Whitfield

A former salesman from Wigan is behind a landmark legal action against a mobile phone giant - claiming heavy usage caused his brain tumour.

Neil Whitfield, 60, of Beech Hill, has been a long-time campaigner over the health risks he says are associated with mobile phones after he developed an acoustic neuroma tumour in one ear while working as a salesman.

He became deaf in one ear and was forced to switch careers after a nine-hour operation to remove a golf ball sized tumour in 2001.

His civil case against Nokia, which has been taken out with London Corporate Legal, is believed to be one of the first to be lodged in the UK.

He is adamant that this working regimen caused his tumour - though this has been firmly denied by the telecoms outfit.

Mr Whitfield has estimated he used to be on his mobile for up to four hours per day when he worked for a building firm. He later went on to become a lecturer at Wigan and Leigh College.

He is reported to be seeking up to £1m in damages after he had to take a substantial pay cut and lost out on pension payments.

Ever since his condition was diagnosed he has been an outspoken critic of mobile phones and lobbied on behalf of children’s charities, encouraging parents to be more aware of excessive usage.

He previously told the Post: “Despite trying so many times to get firms to tell me that their phones are 100 per cent safe, they have refused to answer me.

“You wouldn’t give your children a packet of cigarettes, or tell them to go and play on the motorway. But parents are happy to give them something that could damage their brain.

“If people have the right information they can make a valued judgment not only for their own health but also for the health of their children.”

He has campaigned for public health warnings to be placed on mobile phones, similar to those used for tobacco products.

His solicitor, Katrina Pope, has acknowledged his claim falls outside the usual three year legal limit. But she will argue the technology only now exists to conduct the required radiation tests.

A Nokia spokesman said: “All products comply with ­international exposure guidelines and limits set by public health ­authorities.

“The World Health ­Organisation factsheet states ‘A large number of studies have been performed over the last two decades to assess whether mobile phones pose a potential health risk. To date, no adverse health effects have been ­established for mobile phone use’.”