"Claims of a Mysterious Illness Investigated" with Earnest Perry, Raleigh, NC.
RALEIGH -- Ernest Perry worked for nearly 20 years at the Raleigh mail processing center. He says he sorted mail using giant machines that spewed dust until he started getting sick.
"You see dust, flying," said Perry. "It's constant mail movement, constant mail all around you," he continued.
He says when he started having shortness of breath he thought it was allergies or the flu until it became so bad that he went to the hospital.
"I went to the emergency room and the doctors were just mesmerized looking at my lungs, and, of course that feeling of, "Oh, no, what is it?'" said Perry.
Perry says the doctors told him it was sarcoidosis: scarring of the lungs. Normally, lungs show up black on x-rays. But, his x-rays reveal white clouds. He says over the years, it got much worse.
"It's tough to do anything," explained Perry. "It's tough to just wake up in the morning and take a deep, you can't do that. You wake up in the morning, or if you don't, you're not waking during the night trying to catch a breath."
In 2006, Perry needed a lung transplant. Perry's one of 450 postal workers all over the country who've signed a petition asking the federal government to study the impact of postal dust on their health.
"It's terrible, it's scary not being able to breathe," said Perry.
Postal workers in Chicago with similar health problems have filters that they say are from sorting machines. Perry's wondering if all that dust had something to do with his lung disease.
Posted December 29, 2010 at 4:47 PM