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Tom Andaloro has a terrible story to tell. He tells it to me with strength and determination to bring out the Truth about how occupational exposure to incinerator ash ruined his health. Tom worked five years for Jamaica Ash and Rubbish Removal Company. He drove a truck hauling ash produced by the Covanta Energy Corp. municipal solid waste incinerator known as Covanta Babylon. A conveyor dropped ash into a pit in the ash storage building. A payloader bucketed up the ash and loaded his truck. The ash coated his skin, hair, clothing and shoes.
During the course of working this job he developed a very bad cough. The first doctor he went to suspected an occupational problem, but changed his mind and diagnosed allergies on Tom's second visit. No testing had been done to detect allergies. Tom found a new doctor in New Jersey. This doctor quickly assessed Tom's condition and diagnosed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). The new doctor attributed these health damages to on the job exposure to incinerator ash.
Jamaica Ash fired Tom when the company was notified that he was under the care of a doctor suffering from COPD. He lost his health insurance and union membership. Tom gave up on his Workers Compensation claim when the judge overseeing the proceeding allowed the employer to file false information about his medical history.
With all of the scientific knowledge that exists on the composition of incinerator ash, no one should be doing the work that Tom was doing without sophisticated health protective gear and clothing. Tom tried wearing a paper dust mask, but the ash went right through it. Jamaica
Ash should equip all employees who work in the ash storage building with respirators and protective clothing. The protective clothing should be washed at the end of each shift and not brought home. Boots should be provided to cover the workers' shoes so no ash was being
tracked into their vehicles and homes.
Incinerator ash has been found to contain many toxic chemicals: dioxins, PCBs, arsenic, lead, cadmium, chromium, mercury and nickel. All of these chemicals are carcinogens. These substances are endocrine disruptors. They cause harm to many organ systems. Exposure to dioxins and PCBs has been associated with increased risk of cancer, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, autoimmune diseases, autism, ADHD, cognitive
impairment, reproductive problems and immune system dysfunction.
Mr. Andaloro hopes to find justice. So far he has been unable to find anything close to justice. He believes that the government entities responsible for protecting workers and assisting with job related health problems are broken and not functioning.