Sandy-Soaked Lottery Tickets Are Sickening: Worker

David L. Stoddard, of Villas, N.J., tries his luck with a scratch-off lottery ticket outside Blitz's Market in Villas, N.J., Saturday, Sept. 1, 2007. Authorities say that a winning Mega Millions lottery ticket was sold at the store. (AP Photo/M.J. Schear) AP

New Jersey lottery tickets, soaked when Superstorm Sandy tore through our area last year, are still sitting inside the lottery warehouse.

The unsold scratch-off tickets were given back to the lottery by store owners because they were unusable after being damaged by water.

Bill Quinn, a spokesman for the New Jersey Treasury Department, says the tickets were placed in the warehouse so they could be counted and credited to the accounts of retailers who returned them.

But workers say the tickets are moldy and making people sick. One warehouse employee spoke anonymously with The Trentonian, saying that workers are experiencing respiratory problems and headaches and that even with protective gear, they can still smell the mold.

Quinn says proactive steps were taken to make sure employees were protected, including "full-body suits, booties, masks and gloves to workers handling boxes containing the water-damaged tickets along with training from a health and safety expert on how to safely seal those boxes with shrink wrap."

The lottery worker tells The Trentonian that some of the workers have hired an attorney.

The boxes are scheduled to be removed from the warehouse and destroyed on May 9, according to Quinn.