More workers join gun range contamination lawsuit

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by JAKE WHITTENBERG / KING 5 NEWS

NWCN.com

Posted on February 27, 2013 at 8:06 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 27 at 12:20 PM

BELLEVUE, Wash. -- More workers of a local gun range are stepping forward, claiming they may have been exposed to dangerous amounts of lead.

At least two workers have joined a lawsuit claiming safety laws were violated at Wade's Eastside Guns, and that waste was washed down storm drains.

Roberto Sanchez was an employee at Wade's from 2000-2011.  He claims that in 2008,  he was told to help excavate the large dirt backstop in the range that was filled with spent bullets and lead. After three weeks of work, Sanchez says he had to go to the hospital.

"I had aches and started getting nauseous and headaches," he said. "The last major thing was that my kidneys hurt so bad, I couldn't get out of bed."

Medical records show Sanchez, an Army veteran, had blood lead levels eight times higher than what is considered safe by the Centers for Disease Control.

Sanchez went back to work in the showroom at Wade's after the contamination and said he still has full body aches, erectile dysfunction and requires medication.

Owner Wade Gaughran has not responded to Sanchez's claims. After a more recent remodel job, Gaughran said he supplies workers with the proper instruction and protective gear for the lead removal, but he said workers chose not to follow the rules.

 "If you can operate a shovel, you know, can you wear a dust mask? Can you wear a Tyvex suit?" Gaughran said "We were doing a pretty simple operation and we had them pretty well supervised, too."

Multiple government investigations are underway.

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