On December 27, 2023, a French court ruled in favor of a man from Saint-André-le-Puy, Loire, who experienced severe headaches, which he attributed to the Linky electricity meter installed in his home. Joseph Cascina claimed that the meter caused a constant whistling sound in his head, leading to disrupted sleep and a decline in his quality of life. His symptoms reportedly ceased when he was away from home, particularly in environments without a Linky meter.
I was leaving home, after an hour, the whistling stopped. I went to my in-laws who don’t have a Linky meter, it didn’t whistle at me there. As soon as I returned home, after a quarter of an hour, the whistling sound was starting again. – Joseph Cascina, electrosensitive
After his request for removal was denied by Enedis, the utility company, Cascina took legal action in January 2023. The Saint-Etienne court, acknowledging his suffering, ordered the meter’s removal based on the European Court of Justice’s ‘Principle of Precaution.’ This principle advocates for protective measures in cases of uncertain risk to individuals.
Despite Enedis’ appeal, the Lyon Court of Appeal upheld the decision on November 28. The Stop Linky 5G collective, an organization opposing mandatory Linky meter installations, lauded the verdict. Denis Nicolier, the group’s spokesperson, emphasized the court’s recognition of Cascina’s symptoms as justifiable under the precautionary principle.
Linky meters, introduced in 2018, are prevalent in over 90% of French households. Those opting out are typically subject to a surcharge, but the court’s decision exempts Cascina from this fee on health grounds.
The case highlights the controversy surrounding electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS), a condition recognized as a disability in France since 2015. Symptoms include headaches, chronic fatigue, rashes, and concentration problems. However, the World Health Organization, in a 2005 report, noted the lack of scientific evidence linking EHS symptoms to electromagnetic field exposure. Despite this, an estimated 3.5 million people in France, or about 5% of the population, might experience EHS, according to a 2018 report by ANSES, France’s National Social Security Administration.
The Stop Linky 5G collective hopes this court decision will raise awareness about EHS and promote further investigation into the condition.