Updating previous articles about the group of mysterious neurological symptoms in LeRoy (NY, outside of Rochester) High School students along with a few non-students, the EPA has tested the groundwater around the high school, and it shows no contaminants including tricholoroethylene (TCE) that was spilled from a 1970’s train derailment nearby. Whatever the cause of the symptoms are, it is probably not pollutants. And the mystery continues.
Erin Brockovich is really getting involved with the cluster of alleged neurological issues in teenagers in the Leroy, NY area. The article describes the symptoms as “Tourette’s-like”, but I’m troubled by the lack of a definitive description (let alone diagnosis). Brockovich, as discussed previously, is still focused on the 1970’s train derailment which spilled arsenic and tricholorethylene. The speculation about what is causing these issues run from mass hysteria, even outright feigned behavior, to something environmental, such as vaccines or chemicals.
It’s hard to tell what’s going on. I am almost certain that during the next few days or weeks, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will get involved, interviewing and testing the students, and trying to determine if there is some correlation and possible causal factor. We probably should wait until the real scientists get involved and provide some real analysis with evidence.
I keep running into this story in various locations on the internet. During the past few months, 15 teenagers, mostly students at LeRoy (NY) High School just outside of Rochester, NY, reported neurological symptoms that resemble Tourette’s Syndrome.
Erin Brockovich, namesake of the Julia Robert’s movie, is investigating whether a train wreck in 1970 that spilled 35,000 gallons of cyanide and trichloroeythylene (TCE) near the high school caused or partially caused the symptoms. Then we have anti-vaccination blogs that blames it on the HPV vaccine, Gardasil, of course, without one tiny little bit of evidence.
The school district has reported that there are no known environmental issues in the air and water. Given very strict privacy laws, we don’t know if there’s some other medical link (like HPV vaccine). Of course, if HPV vaccine or some other pharmaceutical were involved, it would be very curious that only a small, rural, upstate New York town would be involved.
TCE is a well known contaminant of groundwater all over the world. There is some evidence that TCE may be involved with Parkinson’s Disease, though the effects usually take many years.
Right now, there is no evidence that points in any direction. If you hear that it’s vaccines, you may as well blame alien abduction, because there’s no evidence for that either. Everything is just speculation.