A postal worker in Florida says a mysterious leaking package coming from Yemen has caused him to be super sick, but the U.S. Postal Service says that package doesn’t even exist, and never has. The man has been to numerous doctors, and none have been able to diagnose his illness.
The Miami Herald has a story from the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, which says the man claims to have handled a leaking package on Feb. 4, 2011, and that he now suffers from extreme fatigue, tremors, and liver and neurological problems, symptoms consistent with toxic exposure.
However, the USPS says the man was never exposed to a potentially toxic package. It hasn’t offered a comment on the case but a lawyer did acknowledge that a “harmless spill” had happened on Feb. 2, 2011, but not Feb. 4.
“A review of Postal Service records and multiple inquiries at both the Area and District levels has confirmed — as we previously indicated — that there was no hazardous spill on February 4, 2011 at the Orlando” mail processing center, she wrote.
The man’s coworker says she smelled a noxious odor coming from a mailbag, and the man, who was the shift supervisor monitoring sorting from a platform, came over to investigate and said it was a strong chemical stench he couldn’t identify, coming from a bag wet with a brown substance. He says he remembers the return address as coming from Yemen, and in the bag were tubes and wires sticking out of a broken package.
Since two unsuccessful attempts had been made by al-Qaida months earlier to send bombs through the mail from Yemen, workers had been told to watch out for packages coming from there.
The man says he moved 40 postal employees out of the area and opened the large bay doors to ventilate the space, and moved the bag to a cart and pushed it out to a hazmat shed. He then radioed his manager to alert her of the suspicious spill, and she said the next person on duty would handle it.
He claims afterward that his throat burned and the fumes gave him a headache. The FCIR says the postal service didn’t investigate the package, nor report it to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as is the protocol.
Ill worker fights postal service over toxic mail [Miami Herald]