The "Mysterious Illness" of LeRoy or Chemical Exposure?

Source

Update: 7/16/2012

Cooper Anderson had two of the 20 girls on his show this morning (7/16/2012). As usual, the ideas of what may be causing the "illness" are still related to Conversion Disorder and a rare reaction caused by strep throat. The following written piece is a bit long and was written when public outcry was first made. However, there are some interesting and even shocking bits of information that have me leaning heavily toward the toxic poisoning associated with the 40 year old chemical spill in Le Roy. The chemicals involved are known to cause interference with certain brain chemicals in areas of the brain that affect those with Tourette's Syndrome. Read for yourself and come to your own conclusion. Comments are very welcome.

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Who doesn't remember seeing Julia Roberts playing the role of down and out Erin Brockovich turned environmentalist, in the 2000 movie of the same name? Well, while Julia has long since moved on to other roles and other movies, Erin is still at work, hunting down criminal corporations whose inaction in dealing with toxins, whether in error or by illicit choice, have brought harm to nearby residents. Today she finds herself launching her own investigation into the case of 15 high school students from LeRoy, New York, who have one by one fallen victim to a “mysterious” illness causing facial ticks, muscular twitching, and loud outbursts, much like those exhibited by sufferers of Tourette's Syndrome.

Katie Krautwurst, a 16 year old from LeRoy, was one of the first to come down with the illness in September of 2011 with tics and twitching severe enough to warrant a trip to the emergency room by ambulance. Not long after, her best friend 17 year old Thera Sanchez woke from a nap and began stuttering non-stop. Her symptoms swiftly turned to facial tics, uncontrollable muscle twitching in which her arms flailed about, and loud verbal outbursts resembling growling, all of which resembled the symptoms of Tourette's Sydrome. By late Fall, a total of twelve teenage girls, students of LeRoy Jr/Sr High School, were all suffering from identical symptoms of varying degrees. Some have also reported fainting and seizures. Recently, two more girls and one boy have brought the total to 15.

The illness has parents baffled, the teens frustrated, and celebrity “experts” vying for a chance at cracking the mystery. The school district issued a statement claiming, “...medical and environmental investigations have not uncovered any evidence that would link the neurological symptoms to anything in the environment or of an infectious nature.” Prominently posted on the school district's website is both an indoor air quality report and a mold report. School officials have assured the community that both the school environment and surrounding areas are not to blame in any way.

Officials at the state Department of Health has avoided speculation of the cause, noting that most of the girls didn't receive the HPV vaccine Gardasil. In addition, he sited the lack of symptoms in males and other staff members as being proof that the contaminant wasn't spread through the air.

Source

Psychosomatic? REALLY????

Several neurologists have come up with different theories. One neurologist appeared on several programs making the claim that the students could be suffering from a syndrome in which staphylococcus bacteria or another infectious germ has triggered the tic disorder. However, Buffalo Drs. Laszlo Mechtler and Jennifer McVige have made the diagnosis of conversion disorder and mass psychogenic illness. This type of diagnosis is one of exclusion where all other more tangible explanations are ruled out. Dr. Mechtler says that conversion disorder happens when there are high levels of stress or conflict which manifest as physical symptoms. In other words, it's psychosomatic.

As unbelievable as the idea of 15 different teenagers all exhibiting psychosomatic symptoms as a way of expressing extreme stress may be, the National Institute of Health has offered to provide a second opinion to the students, free of charge. What's interesting is that conversion disorder is the main area of research at the NIH. Even more interesting is the fact that leading US and overseas media have reported teens in other areas to also be stricken with the “mysterious illness”. So much so, that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has placed it on its cdc.gov “emerging infectious diseases” website pages.

Parents of the teens aren't satisfied with the doubtful diagnosis. During an appearance on NBC's Today Show, Katie, Thera and their mothers, claim that they have been told very little about the efforts made to determine the environmental safety of the school and its grounds. Melissa Phillips, Thera's mother, claims that she has never been shown any proof of any testing done to determine safety. “Where's the proof? Where's the data? Where's the testing? When has this been done?” she asked during the interview.

Katie's mom, Beth Miller, stated that she's put in a request for the reports and information collected, but to date she hasn't received any. Melissa also insists that officials have reported testing on the students that has not, in fact, been done, and that nothing has been done for them collectively, but rather on an individual basis. She maintains that officials are making statements with no truth to them at all.

Can You Say Chemical Spill ?

And then there is the environmental factor that is being ignored. One that is well documented and remembered by many. On December 6, 1971, just 3 miles from the three year old Jr/Sr high school, a train derailed spilling a ton of cyanide and 35,000 gallons of the industrial solvent chemical trichloroethene, also known as trichloroethylene (TCE).

In 1997, the New York State Department of Health and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) stated that people living next to the spill site “complained of solvent-like odors in their drinking water” in a written report. The only source of drinking water in the area were wells.

A 1999 EPA report describes the cleanup efforts. After the cyanide crystals were removed, “neutralizers were spread on the ground to counteract the effects of any remaining cyanide.” But what about the liquid TCE? It was absorbed into the ground and left. Not long after, residents reported smelling the sweet odor in their local well water. 50 contaminated area wells were discovered through testing between 1990 and 1994, says the EPA. As a result, water filtering systems were provided for the residents and the site was placed on the Superfund National Priorities List in 1999.

The National Academy of Sciences issued a report in 2006 describing the effects of exposure to trichloroethylene. They found that inhalation of TCE causes “neurotoxic effects in laboratory animals and humans.” One effect, in particular, is a change in the “masseter reflex latency” - - - the jaw jerk reflex. The NAC also reported that “drinking water contaminated with small amounts of TCE over a length of time may cause liver and kidney damage, impaired immune system function and the possibility of birth defects.” The EPA has concluded that TCE has a high probability of causing cancer in humans.

John Walkup, chair of the medical advisory board of the national Tourette Syndrome Association claims he has no knowledge of a known connection between Tourette's Syndrome and TCE. That's a curious statement to make, considering the areas of the brain to which Tourette's Syndrome is linked. Though the true cause of the syndrome is unknown, current research indicates abnormalities in specific regions of the brain (basal ganglia, frontal lobes, and cerebral cortex), the circuits connecting these regions, and the neurotransmitters responsible for communication between nerve cells (dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin), are involved.

TCE is a known endocrine disrupting chemical which has adverse effects on the central nervous system. It kills the brain cells which secrete dopamine, and interferes with serotonin and norepinephrine. A case study from the University of Barcelona shows that Myoclonic (sudden, brief, jerky, shock-like, involuntary movements) Encephalopathy can occur and linger due to extended exposure to TCE. It is known to cause nerve damage of the face, arms and legs, and has been linked to seizures.

Though there have been some studies done on the short term effects of exposure, most have been conducted on people who have worked in industries where manufacture or use of solvents is involved. There are no long term studies on such subjects due to the fact that it is difficult to find subjects who have not been exposed to any other possible contaminants during their lifetimes. Some studies have been done on animal models, and while these have shown significant links between TCE and the above mentioned symptoms, much more research is required to determine the effects of long term overexposure. To date, there are indications that frequent prolonged exposure to TCE can cause permanent damage and even death.

If this issue is important to you, please pass on the information by clicking on the Tweet, Like, or +1 buttons provided at the top of the page. We can make a difference one click at a time!

leaking barrels of hazardous contaminants at the LeRoy Superfund Site
leaking barrels of hazardous contaminants at the LeRoy Superfund Site | Source

Update:

Students from Corinth, New York are first cases: http://hudsonvalley.ynn.com/content/top_stories/571741/mystery-illness-gaining-national-attention/

Erin Brockovich's investigative team is blocked from taking soil samples on the school grounds.

http://thebatavian.com/


Update:

Recently, it has come to the public's attention that two of the five gas wells on school property underwent the controversial "fracking" (hydraulic fracturing) procedure in 2008, using only 20,000 to 30,000 gallons of water. Large volume wells use about a million gallons of water. No matter the amount of water used, it was laced with the usual toxic cocktail of dangerous chemicals. The New York Department of Environment Conservation has acknowledged that currently no investigation of these wells is underway.

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Comments 49 comments

Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Dear Terri ~ Excellent reporting and investigation into this particularly disturbing story. That so many girls in one area and clumps of areas exhibit the same symptoms should send up red flags and the EPA should have been on this case, not covering it up.

More young developing children can be affected and with the severe, long term and chronic organ disease, and potential for cancer, these families need immediate care and have the environment cleaned up. Although, I don't feel as if the properties effected can remove the toxins thoroughly, perhaps the families may have to relocate away from the spilled and leaked chemicals. What do you think?

Blessings, Debby


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Why thank you Debby! I have no doubt all the gov't agencies are quite aware of what's really going on. That's the why they're working so hard to pass it off as psychosomatic. Two more cases in Corinth, NY have turned up. These two young ladies stopped with their teammates to have dinner in LeRoy back in May and apparently, are actually the first two cases. LeRoy and Corinth are 250 miles apart.

As I stated in my hub, the CDC has placed this mystery disease on its "emerging infectious disease" website pages. That would indicate that they have seen this before...long before this past May. It certainly takes more than 2 or 12 or even 17 people from one state to get their attention in such a way, unless it's been going on for sometime in many areas. I've posted a link for an update on events that took place earlier this morning. Makes for some very interesting stuff.


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

I had not heard of this. It's such a shame the professionals are saying "psychosamatic." That seems to be their catch all term more and more. While I certainly agree chemicals most likely are to blame, the fact that it has shown up in other areas and other school age children makes me wonder if we should not be checking the food provided for school lunches. So much of this food all comes from the same source. Just my opinion there. It would be hard to do as it comes and is consumed so quickly. I got the impression from your article this is happening more to girls than boys. If that is the case, I would check the produce. High school age girls consume it more. The boys tend to go for more processed foods while the girls are forever on diets. Thank you for a most informative hub.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

When I first heard of the two girls from Corinth, I thought my chemicals idea was off target. But then I discovered that they were members of a traveling sports team who had stopped for dinner in LeRoy back in May. Their symptoms began to appear shortly thereafter. Believing the experts who told them the same story of Conversion Disorder, the parents didn't suspect anything until the story in LeRoy made it into the news. Read the article from the provided link. This really upsets me to have yet another "hint" that our government engages in coverups designed to protect corporations. Thanks for coming on by.


poetvix profile image

poetvix 4 years ago from Gone from Texas but still in the south. Surrounded by God's country.

I so hear you! The government is supposed to be to protect the populace not to sell it out to corporations. These are children! I so hope this article, the others, the news, and any other means possible drives this into the light of day finding out for sure the culprit and preventing it from happening to any more innocents. You are doing a real public service here.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thanks!


Debby Bruck profile image

Debby Bruck 4 years ago

Terri ~ I shared this with a larger audience [13,000 on Twitter] and want others to know we have yet another incident. Whether toxic oil or chemical spill, leakage and seepage of radiation, contamination of air or land, we do not seem to hear about it until it has affected too many lives. Blessings, Debby


Larry Wall 4 years ago

I have not researched this issue, so I am not offering a direct opinion at this time. I only want to say that there can be other explanations--sometimes. Again I am not commenting on this incident in particular.

About 1981 there was an outbreak of neuroblastoma in the Morgan City, LA area, where I was working as a newspaper reporter. The favorite cause was a facility called Marine Shale, which was built to handle oilfield waste, but when the EPA did not change the rules as the owner had expected, it became a disposal site for almost any waste. It was eventually closed down. However, there were only three to five (I cannot remember) cases of neuroblastoma in the area. If the facility was the caused and it operated for several years you would had expected more. There were also five cases of ALS in the area, which was high for the population. One of those cases was my mother, who developed the illness while living in Baton Rouge. I moved her to Morgan City to be in a nursing home that I was close to. I knew personally of two other cases where people have been moved to Morgan City after developing the disease to be with family members. One case was really too far away to be considered in the group and there was one documented case of a person developing the disease while living in Morgan City. Since no one knows the cause of the disease, there was no way to blame anyone and since three cases manifested themselves in other communities and one was really too far away (About 80 miles), that issue went away.

I am not saying this is the issue discussed in this obviously well-researched commentary. My only point is that there are almost always other possibilities.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

@Debbie: Thanks a whole bunch. The more people clamoring for a real investigation, the more people screaming for answers, the less likely officials will try to pass off mediocre attempts at whitewashing it. Let's hope the focus isn't taken from the real issue of finding answers for these kids and given to the celebrities.

@Larry: There certainly are many possibilities which could be the culprit, one of which is the fact that there are 5 gas wells on the school property, and they may very well have something to do with the illnesses. But there's a funny thing about illnesses caused by toxic chemicals known to be EDC's...they don't always affect every human as would be expected, because there are too many variables and too much still unknown due to corporate lobbying against long term testing.

The age, gender, weight of subjects are obvious variables, as are the amount of exposure, the length of exposures, and the genetic makeup of the subject. Sometimes it's a matter of a person already being laden with a gene that will mutate if a trigger is tripped. We're also dealing with a complex system of neurons and neurontransmitters whose messages can fail to be carried to the receptors depending on the interaction with the person's personal chemical levels. And sometimes, just one EDC alone may not have any traceable affect, but when combined with another, something completely unforeseen takes place. It goes on and on. We will never know everything there is to know about every EDC, every interaction, and every reaction.

This is why it's so important that we put a stop to polluting ourselves and our environment with so many toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, so long as we keep revering cash over health and well-being, stockholders will continue to demand top performance, corporate leaders will continue to strive to make top dollar at the expense of humanity, and our children will continue to suffer and die. Think of it this way...if we didn't allow and use these toxic substances, there would be none to spill, leak, or be ingested.

It would be a bit easier to rule out everything other than a natural virus, bacteria, or a genetic predisposition. Thank you so much for taking your time to make a well thought out comment. Hope to see you around some more! Say hello to Hannah, Annie, and Sam for me.


Larry Wall 4 years ago

Terri:

Thank you for your reply to comment. You write in a very professional manner and I appreciate that and everything you said.

I use to work for the oil and gas industry. There are going to be some pollutants. We will never know why some are affected and some are not, because as you pointed out there are so many variables.

At one point in our history, coal was a primary energy source. How many people died from black lung diseases, or were affected by poison gases in the mind shafts.

In the texile industry, people inhaled minute amounts of fibers everyday causing health problems. Train conducts in the old days lost fingers when rail cars were connected.

We will never be free of something that causes a problem for someone.

I heard a speech once, the person was a PhD in toxicology. It has been years and I cannot remember her name. I probably could track it down. Anyway she was giving a talk about the exposure threat of chemicals in general regarding cancer. She point out that if it has been determined that 3 parts per million (a made up number) would make 2 percent of the population vulnerable to cancer, then some would assume that 6 parts per million would make four percent vulnerable. She said that was wrong. If the 3 parts per million was the threshhold, you could not assume that doubling the exposure would double the risk.

I am not saying there is not a problem as you described in your post. As you noted there are a lot of variables. I am not sure we can identify all of those variables and make everything safe.

I am 60. My father died when he was 64, by brother at 62 and my grandfather also at 64. All of my father's brothers died in their 60s. From a hereditary standpoint, the odds do not look good for me. However, unlike my relatives, I have never smoked. Do not drink to excess, watch my diet and take medications, like statins, which did not exist when my father died of clogged arteries. Therefore my chances of living longer are better. That is assuming I am hot hit by a drunk driver,or exposed to some toxic substance.

Finally, a lot of the toxic substances you are making reference to end up making useful products. Chlorine is toxic as a gas. It is also used to purify most municipal system and it is a naturally occurring substance.

Some of the chemicals used in making plastics are toxic, but most of my computer is made from plastic. I think the answer we should be looking for is how to make the use of the chemicals and substances safer, because I do not think we are going to eliminate them. If we did not have herbicides, our food supply would shrink. If we did not have vaccines, many of us would die. I do not sleep well. I take a sedative every night. If I take too many, I would probably die. I am very careful. So, it all boils down to how we use these substances, what other factors would impact us and how can we productively use these chemicals while still maintaining a "strong" economy and providing the substances and services that we need, that now allow us to live longer.

When I was in grade school, the average life expectancy, according to my Golden Book Encyclopedia was 70 years. That life span is longer. We are making mistakes, but we are also doing some things right.


A Concerned Ex-LeRoyan 4 years ago

More disturbing: Go on YouTube and search for "LeRoy quarry" and you will find recent videos of kids jumping into the quarry that is 0.4 miles from the superfund site. I would bet there are signs saying "keep out" as one would expect for any quarry, but probably not signs that mention potential toxicity of the water.


Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

The effrontery of some is unbelievable, 15 young folks coming down with a psychosomatic illness more or less simultaneously...plueezze! Blocked from taking samples on the school grounds...double plueezze! Terri it doesn't take any extra intelligence to see the connection between the TCE and the illness does it.


Yoga_girl 4 years ago

I lived on a superfund site as a child and know the devastating effects of TCE and other chemicals. One thing that shouldn't be overlooked is heart disease. I believe my mother had chemical poisening and just before her death her masseter mucles would pulse and her teeth would clench. None of the specialists or emergency rooms could figure it out. A private forensic pathologist we hired to perform an autoposy said, "it could be her heart", when I was explaining her symptoms and what I wanted investigated. Sure enough...scarring on her heart and 90+ percent blockage.


Yoga_girl 4 years ago

TCE can damage the thyroid that can bring on heart disease.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

@Larry: I can't dispute that a lot of the conveniences we take for granted are made with the very same chemicals often labeled toxic. However, you and I both know, there have been instances where something less toxic is available, but manufacturers with an eye toward the bottom line, don't use them because of cost. There's also the fact that no one will bother to look for less toxic methods so long as there is permission and acceptance in regards to those already in use. I completely agree that we need to place focus on safety, but hasn't that been the argument since the 70's? 40 years later, our government and the manufacturers are still dragging their feet about the safety issue. All we receive is lip service and coverups. Recent pictures of the site in question will disabuse anyone of the notion that the government has done its job in the cleanup of the train derailment. It's a sad, disheartening moment when one realizes that our society has placed technology and money above the lives of our children and even ourselves. Why don't we just put a gun to our heads and eliminate the need for suffering before death?

@ concerned ex-LeRoyan: You can bet there won't be any kids swimming there this coming summer. This knowledge makes me wonder if some of the girls haven't been swimmers there, themselves. I wonder if that may not be the difference between those whose symptoms seem less severe than others. Drinking contaminated water does plenty of damage...imagine the extent of damage to be done by drinking it and submerging oneself in it, as well. Aside from the girls from Corinth, the cases I've heard about all began in late summer or shortly thereafter.

@Alastar: You said it, brother! People like you and me and all the others that make so much noise about these injustices must be a real pain for the officials trying to down-play events such as these.

@Yoga_girl: There are a multitude of symptoms and effects TCE, as well as other toxic chemicals, can have on our bodies. That's because EDC's do just what their name implies...disrupt the endocrine system. The thyroid is an organ in that system. Almost every EDC I know of, has the thyroid as one of its targets. Researchers have shown time and again that when an EDC is involved, heart conditions and Diabetes go hand in hand, and the list goes on.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 4 years ago from Tampa Bay

I heard about this while watching The Today Show and haven't followed up on the progress being made. Your hub certainly enlightens the public to the possibilities and effects of chemical exposure. It's infuriating that officials try to cover up this kind of news. I can't imagine being one of those parents. It's our children! We'll do whatever it takes to find the answers and so should the authorities. Psychosomatic? Not for one second should anyone accept that idiocy. Thank you for a well-researched article with additional links. You're a true writer, Terri. Very much appreciated.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Thanks rebekah, your compliments are very much appreciated. While there's certainly the possibility that I'm way off base regarding the 15 students, the fact remains that the derailment site has NOT been satisfactorily cleaned up. The fact remains that TCE is a very dangerous chemical with the effects I wrote about. The fact remains that the entire town is still in jeopardy until it's completely cleaned. The fact remains that those who have already been damaged, regardless of just how much damaged, may suffer for the rest of their lives.


Larry Wall 4 years ago

I have read some of the material about this issue and do not claim to have an answer. But I will offer a few observations. Some will offend some people. Others will just disagree.

First, Erin Brockovich is not a scientist. She is an activist and a very good one.

She attempted to collect soil samples from the school grounds on Saturday and was stopped. Had she not brought the camera crew with her, she probably could have gotten the samples. If a single company is being blamed, they should be told that samples are being taken. The company can then be present to collect samples from the same location. The results can be compared. If the company does not agree to release the results, it would give more cause for suspicion.

If the problem goes back to what took place 40 years ago, I am not sure it is fair to place blame today. In the 1970s we did not worry about cholesterol, overweight teens and use of illegal drugs were not as prevalent.

If I was still a reporter and covering this story I would try to do the following.

Talk to the victims and attempt to trace their activities for the past week or month. Also, I would ask if there were any relatives who did not live nearby that had similar problems.

I would research the records on how the land was used and what type of cleanup was instituted before the school was built. If the site was known to be a superfund site, I cannot imagine how a building permit was issued as well as an EPA permit.

I would look back to see if there had been any outbreaks in the past. Before the internet and 24 hour news things happened and they did not get a lot of attention.

I would approach the company and ask if they were taking any steps to clean up the area.

I would be calling state and federal agencies frequently to find out what they had learned.

I would check on the conditions of the victims--were they better or worse. Were there any test results that they were willing to release to the public?

I cannot tell you what kind of story I would have written, because I do not know the answers to the questions. As I noted in an earlier post, I did cover a story where clusters of two diseases, neurologist and ALS were being blamed on a waste disposal company that burned anything they could use as fuel in order to reduce to aggregate form other waste materials. The ALS cluster was explained--by me, since my mother had ALS and had been moved to the area so she would be in a nursing home near me. No other cases of neuroblastoma were reported, even though the facility operated for several years, until the EPA ultimately closed them on a technicality. The company was claiming an exemption from EPA jurisdiction because it was a recycler. The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, was intended to promote recycling. Like many good intentions, it was abused.

I hope the victims get better. I hope the cause is found through scientific means. Activists serve a purpose; they bring the issue to the forefront. They also make a lot of money in the process--if the Julia Roberts movie has any validity.

Finally, conditions change, they are changing constantly and we may never know the cause. The site may be cleaned up. The school may be demolished. The nearby gas wells may be shut in, but we may never know why these people were affected.

As I have noted in earlier posts, I have a speech impediment. Is it because of some medicine my mother took while pregnant with me? Was it something in the air, since we lived near a highly industrialized area--where my father happened to work. I do not know. I am not sure knowing at this point in my life would be of any use. Since the illness is apparently not spreading, at least based on what I have read, it has to be viewed as a cluster and tracking down the causes of such things can be next to impossible. I wish the girls and young man well. I hope they get financial assistance from the school district. Help from the company is unlikely, because it would be viewed as an admission of guilt and not goodwill, so the lawyers would stop it. There is no easy answer and it is going to take time to find the answer--if it can be found.


Bludwiczak profile image

Bludwiczak 4 years ago from Western New York

Terri,

I am so glad that you wrote this hub. I live in Buffalo, NY which is less than an hour away from LeRoy and was absolutely stunned when I first heard this on the news the other day. It is scary story because officials seem to have no idea what is going on with these students. Now reading that several doctors believe this to be psychosomatic gives me even less of a feeling that they will be able to find the problem, get the necessary help to those already affected and protect others in the area.

We have to remember that not too far of LeRoy, in fact just a few miles north of Buffalo is the site of Love Canal, the famous late 70s environmental disaster that caused complete havoc and severely affected many people's lives. Although it was 30 years ago the fear from this event will forever be present.

Thank you for writing this hub and bringing more attention to this issue in such informative detail. We can't let that another Love Canal type incident happen to this community again.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Bludwiczak: You are welcome! I remember Love Canal as I was a teenager when it dominated the news. That's one of the reasons I am so adamant about putting a halt on the uses of some of these toxins. We've seen ever rising incidents of birth defects, infertility, and a myriad of other serious illnesses. There are over 40,000 Superfund sites in the US. The potential number of people suffering the effects of exposure is staggering. Since our officials and those guilty of the dumping are so reluctant to willingly come forward in most of these cases, it is left to the public to question, investigate, and demand action. Were it not for these brave children and their parents coming forth, we might not have ever known about the issue. Area citizens should thank them for taking the steps that will save future generations.


Tom Kohler 4 years ago

Hi, saw it in German TV today, so thanks to Brockovic the news goes Europe. Think local authorities cannot draw the curtain over it anymore.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

So celebrities and the media they generate can actually be a good thing then?!!!


Yoga_girl 4 years ago

There is all this talk that environmental damage cannot be reversed. I disagree from personal experience. It's called detox and cleansing the body, circulation and strengthening, and removing yourself as much as you can from a toxic source or sources. Adding more chemicals makes it worse, as in pharmacuticals. There is treatment out there, but not in the Western/Pharma insurance world. Insurance companies will not even test nor treat heavy metal poisening over the age of a child. Everything that benefited my mother, (who had dual insurance coverage)..had to be paid out of pocket.


Yoga_girl 4 years ago

Just one more thing I wanted to mention...my sisters, neighborhood friends and I used to play and wade in, an area on military property in the woods close to the beach...a secret place we thought..the "rock formation pond" we used to call it...the imagination of a child. I then developed strange rashes, childhood RA, winded and couldn't participate in gym. The military doctors diagnosed me as having childhood RA and hypallergenic.

Decades later, having suspicious memories that my family and I were living on a toxic dump, googled "Whidbey/Toxic water" I found an ATSDR report....and found that the area we used to play, our "rock formation pond" was one of many drywell disposal areas...TCE and other toxic chemicals dumped there.

Although I have never had children by choice, ...I am the only sibling with my ovaries in tact. Knowing that I have been exposed to these chemicals and suffer from MCS, I have controlled it and detox myself daily...living a normal healthy life.


Diane Wester 4 years ago

Up until several years ago, I was drinking diet cokes with Aspartame. I drank 6-8 a day. Also, I drank Crystal light, and diet ice cream, cake, cookies, you name it, if it was diet, i was consumming it. One day I was watering my lawn, and all of a sudden, a word shouted out of my mouth. I don't know any other way to describe it. I was not even thinking anything near what I had shouted. Then several years later, while sitting on my patio with a friend, the wind blew aleaf across the patio. I tried to say something about the wind coming up, but the words would not come out. Then, words came out that made no since. I was so embarrased that I stopped talking for about 5 minutes. Then I was able to speak normal again. I stopped most of the Aspertame, but I know it's probably still out there in fountain cokes, etc, etc. Shasta does not have it.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

@Yoga_girl: Unfortunately, our society here in the west frowns on any treatment/cure that doesn't come from a corporate owned and operated laboratory. Take statin drugs...there are millions taking a prescription statin, believing the doctors who've told them it's needed to sustain life. Instead of working with the patients to change eating habits and lifestyle, they add another chemical to the mess. Right now we're dealing with a political body of corrupt idiots who are seriously considering halting our ability to grow our own food. The same monster corporations behind the food bills, are the ones who created the toxic waste surrounding us on all sides. They have gone so far as to include the idea of putting herbs and vitamins under the control of big pharma. This means we would need a prescription for taking a vitamin! It means doctors could keep us from healing ourselves by refusing prescriptions.

@Diane Wester: Aspartame is extremely dangerous. I knew about some of the information but wasn't fully aware of every thing until I researched it and wrote "Killer Coffee brought to you by Donald Rumsfeld". I'm not surprised that you have had occasion to exhibit those strange symptoms. I can't think of a single chemical we've found in toxic waste sites as well as the food we're fed, that isn't and endocrine disrupting chemical. EDC's do just what their name implies. When our brain chemicals are disrupted or tampered with, all manner of illness emerges. Stopping the intake of aspartame is a good start to returning to a healthy state, but don't forget plenty of exercise and sleep too. They help your brain to get its own chemical levels back to normal levels. There are sources who suggest adults take copious amounts of vitamin C because it's known for its healing properties.


Woody 4 years ago

Have any of you looked up the known side effects of TCE?

Nothing related to twitches of any sort.

In high doses it causes central nervous system depression, the same as alcohol.

Prolonged low dose exposure is suggested to cause liver/kidney cancer from filtering out TCE from the body.

If TCE was to have any effect on the area, it would be logical to see an increase of cancer in that area.

Even if there is, there's no physiological link between Trichloroethylene and twitching.

Chemicals don't just magically cause illnesses, each have their own properties. Do a bit of research outside of the article.


mandymoreno81 profile image

mandymoreno81 4 years ago

I think the parents and families are frustrated because they can't seem to find a cure and just blame the scientists for their findings. I think it's difficult to know exactly what is the issue, especially when not many others have come down with the same illness.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

@Woody: "TCE is a known endocrine disrupting chemical which has adverse effects on the central nervous system. It kills the brain cells which secrete dopamine, and interferes with serotonin and norepinephrine. A case study from the University of Barcelona shows that Myoclonic (sudden, brief, jerky, shock-like, involuntary movements) Encephalopathy can occur and linger due to extended exposure to TCE. It is known to cause nerve damage of the face, arms and legs, and has been linked to seizures." This is directly from the above article. It is what others might call research, and clearly, there have been links made between "twitching" and TCE. Perhaps it would be a good idea if you read some of the studies for which links have been provided. It's very easy to talk about the KNOWN side effects, but the LITTLE KNOWN side affects have been buried, that's why they are not known by many. However, they have been documented and are able to be found by anyone who digs deep enough. Do some serious research of your own and stop falling for canned explanations.

@Mandymoreno81: The parents are frustrated because they've been repeatedly kept out of the loop. They're angry because officials are giving out a cover story to mass news media which claims they are taking actions the parents know they have NOT taken. No one is blaming any scientists...they have absolutely nothing to do with any of this. Those being blamed are those who have been in a position to take action to clean up the spill long before any of these illnesses sprung up. The spill happened in 1971. Officials ignored the residents and didn't bother to put it on the National Priorities List until 1997. That's 26 years later! And for being a priority? It's now another 15 years after the NPL listing, and it's still not complete! TCE is an Endocrine disruptor. Get some education about what the endocrine system means to human beings as far as maintaining life. As far as "not many others have come down with the same illness"...so you don't think 12 girls in the very same small town, plus two more who only stopped to have a meal in town, and now a 36 year old resident aren't many? Amazing! If two people came down with food poisoning after eating at the same restaurant, the public would be screaming for the business to be shut down! But if 15 or 16 come down with a life altering illness, possibly life threatening, the public shrugs their shoulders and tells the parents they're making too much out of it! I can't help but believe those who make these kind of silly, selfish, inconsiderate statements must already be suffering the effects of brain damage by exposure to too many toxic chemicals in the environment.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

WOW! You can see how far behind on my reading that I am to just now be seeing this.

Glad to see that it's getting a lot of very thoroughly thought out attention!

No, I'd definitely not heard of this. Will share far and wide!


Julie 4 years ago

Have you come across any data suggesting fetal exposure to TCE contaminated drinking water could lead to myoclonic epileptic seizures?


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Hey Todd, This started around mid January or so. I've not heard much lately, but I'm keeping an eye on it. Thanks for sharing.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

No, Thanks For Publishing!!!!!!!!!!!!


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

There is lots of information out there regarding the developing fetus and TCE. In fact, TCE has very detrimental effects on developing babies. Do a search using keywards TCE, pregnancy, developing fetus, seizures.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Slightly off topic, but did you hear about this:

http://af.reuters.com/article/commoditiesNews/idAF...

France has actually CONVICTED Monsanto in their courts now! Hooh Rah!


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Yes, I read about it the day it hit the news, but I've been on borrowed computers for the last week. My laptop is sick and under a tech's care. I'm hoping to have it back relatively soon. I'm soooooo bummed not to be able to write and communicate with everyone online! Hope to be back soon.


Wesman Todd Shaw profile image

Wesman Todd Shaw 4 years ago from Kaufman, Texas

Don't worry about that none...but I well know the feeling. I've got one poor friend that has seen me disappear a dozen times over the years...like the cat, I always come back, and of course you will too :-)


Paul koksvik 4 years ago

test


Paul koksvik 4 years ago

Our daughter was one of the first ones affected 3 1/2 yrs ago. She was hospitalized for 3 months and 5 months she was so bad....we had filled our pool with this contaminated well water...fact is our whole family is affected as with just about everyone in both towns of Leroy and Caledonia... one of the mothers of the girls in Leroy has had 13 brain surgery's

If you want some pics pkoksvik75@gmail.com

not for the faint of heart

I was with Bob Bowcock (Erin's Brochovich's team) for two days this week showing him some things....did not show him everything...or even the half of it...and he said this is going down as the biggest environmental disaster ever...its going to change many things...

Erin and Bob's video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=kKj1ZYyR0H4&fe...


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

@Paul Kiksvik: I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter! The fact that no one has ever heard about your daughter before now is a very telling sign that much is being hidden from the public. Expect my email! I'd very much like to know more about your daughter and to see your pictures. I'll be contacting you! Keep pushing to keep this in front of the public. I fear that many people have already begun to forget it now that the initial sensationalism has been experienced.


Rae 4 years ago

Just thought I would update all of you and let you know that the two cases in Corinth were recently found out to be lyme disease. The girls are now being treated and will hopefully be able to recover and get get back to their normal lives.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

Hi Rae! Thanks for the update. It's good to know that at least two of the girls have something with a name. However, Lyme disease is not an easy illness to deal with. I hope they do well and are able to get back to their lives relatively quick.


4 years ago

Thanks for this article.

I think the reason "the public shrugs their shoulders and tells the parents they're making too much out of it" is that the authorities encourage that.

You make great points.

There is a historical

perspective (it isn't just LeRoy) at

http://thekafkapandemic.blogspot.com/2012/05/leroy...

(Hope that's within spec for your comments.)


4 years ago

I'd really like for the press (alternative press if necessary) to keep on this story CLOSELY.

Why would symptoms of Lyme occur at the same time (or did they?)? Weakened immune systems?


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

S: I agree about keeping a close watch on this event. However, there is very little new information coming in. It seems people have been shut up effectively or the press simply has taken the side of those who wish to keep a tight lid on the truth. I'd be more than happy to write about anything new if people would contact me. Thanks for your comments!


John Fryer 4 years ago

Hi Terri

The aspartame link is very important.

The school here has several gasfields on its site and the fracking chemicals used to get the gas up and away uses large amounts of METHANOL.

This is one of the breakdown products produced in our bodies when we eat or drink ASPARTAME.

It can cause every clinical sign seen in the Le Roy girls and boys.

Girls are much more sensitive to the methanol and also young people as they are not likely to contain the antidote in their blood ETHYL ALCOHOL.


Terri Meredith profile image

Terri Meredith 4 years ago from Pennsylvania Author

@John: no doubt aspartame is a killer, but there are many combinations of certain types of chemicals that can cause some or all of the symptoms. I think it's ridiculous how the officials keep trying to convince the world that the problems are psychosomatic. I can't even imagine anyone seriously considering that as a possibility. Thanks for the info.


liz york 3 years ago

In the uk several years ago some individuals developed serious neurological disease by eating infected beef . Sheep protein had been fed to cattle and the disease jumped the species barrier..and then into humans.. The neurological disorder the Le Roy girls are suffering from could be something they have eaten in common around the time they became ill..just a thought. Is there a a school kitchen?


Gary 2 years ago

Why only teenage girls of about the same age.

Why are there no boys affected ?

Why no younger children ?

Why no families that live closer to the spill. Why no adults ?

If you will notice in the photo of this article the girl has a whole bunch of prescription meds. in front of her and processed food products loaded with High Fructose Corn Syrup and Sugar, not to mention probably GMO corn products.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/magazine/teenage...

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