EXIDE VERNON: Former Exide worker dies of cancer he feared came about from working at plant; In Memory of Salvador Andrade
March 29, 2016 6:14 PM
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com)Â â€”Â Salvador Andrade always believed in the value of a hard dayâ€™s work.
But Andrade also worried that his years ofÂ laborÂ at the Exide battery-recycling plant in VernonÂ took a massive toll on his health. He died this week of cancer.
In October, followingÂ hisÂ diagnosis, Andrade told CBS2â€™s Randy Paige of his concerns.
â€œDoÂ you think that your work there has affected your health?â€ Paige asked.
â€œOh yeah,â€ he said.Â â€œBut right nowÂ IÂ canâ€™t do nothing.â€
For most of his 25 years at Exide, Andrade operated a piece of machinery called the hammer, which was capable of recycling hundreds of batteries a minute.
The plant was shuttered last year in a deal with theÂ U.S. attorneyâ€™s office to avoid criminal charges for illegally storing and transporting hazardous waste.
Andradeâ€™sÂ work environment smelled of â€œsmoke, acids and plastics,â€ he told Paige.
His battle with terminal cancer came asÂ thousands of residents in the area voicedÂ growing concerns of lead contamination at their homes.
Last monthÂ Gov. Jerry BrownÂ proposed spending $176.6 millionÂ to expedite and expand the testing and cleanup of homes, schools and parks near the former plant.
At the request of Andradeâ€™s family, hisÂ interview with Paige was not aired until his death. Andradeâ€™s attorney wasÂ concernedÂ AndradeÂ could lose his health insurance ifÂ the details of his health problemsÂ became public while he was still alive.
Per his request, Andrade was buried in his work clothes.
â€œHeÂ always said to be humble,â€ Andradeâ€™s daughter Margie Flores said.
Andradeâ€™s family is suing Exide, along with other former employees, alleging unsafe work conditions.