A third softball pitcher in upstate New York has now suddenly been stricken with seizures and tics, bringing the total number of victims in the Leroy and Corinth areas to 20. An investigation this week by Canary Party Chairman, Mark Blaxill, and Age of Autism journalist, Dan Olmsted, revealed that three out of the four Corinth softball pitchers have now developed similar symptoms. The Canary Party calls for New York officials to stop dismissing this disorder as “mass hysteria” and start looking into physical causes such as environmental toxins.
Starting a year ago, 20 teenagers from the areas around LeRoy and Corinth, New York have been suffering a sudden onset of unexplained seizures, blackouts, motor problems and difficulty breathing. According to Olmsted and Blaxill the latest victim, a Corinth 9th grader, collapsed into unconsciousness a week ago. Like the other victims, she and her family were told her disorder is psychological rather than medical. The girl’s mother, Shannon Matuszak, a psychiatric nurse, says her daughter is on antibiotics and staying home, missing the classes and sports she enjoys. The girl is still suffering three to four seizures a day.
In July, Blaxill and Olmsted reported that an agricultural field adjacent to the LeRoy, N.Y. school playing fields had recently been aerially sprayed with the pesticide Bifenthrin, a.k.a. Tundra, which paralyzes the nervous system of insects. The National Pesticide Information Center says clinical studies on rats given high doses of Bifenthrin showed development of “tremors, clonic [rapid muscle contraction/relaxation] convulsions, twitching, incoordination, staggered gait, splayed hind limbs, atypical posture.”
Blaxill and Olmsted stated in their latest article at the Age of Autism website, “We noted the odd fact that Lori and Alycia were both pitchers, who touch the ball -- which touches the ground -- on every play; pitchers sometimes rub their hands in the dirt and lick their fingers to get a better grip on the ball. We investigated the pesticides that the school’s landscaper told us are "spot-sprayed" on the softball infields to control crabgrass (the boys' baseball infield is grass). Safety data sheets for those pesticides describe symptoms similar to those the three pitchers have exhibited.” Blaxill and Olmsted obtained documents under the state Freedom of Information Law showing that the Corinth school district continues to use pesticides, though officially the chemicals are banned except for emergencies.
Because the number of victims with neurological disorders is still increasing in the upstate New York clusters, The Canary Party calls on state and local officials to swiftly move forward with comprehensive medical investigations of the symptoms suffered by the 20 young people there.
Ginger Taylor, Executive Director of the Canary Party, believes that the treatment of the New York tic victims has been a travesty of science and lacks common sense. “For psychologists to write off the neurological disorders of 20 people with tics, seizures and unconsciousness as simply conversion disorder is illogical and irresponsible. Health officials should be testing these victims for environmental toxins like Bifenthrin, and not pretending the problem will just go away.”