Erin Brockovich on the case of NY mystery illness
Erin Brockovich is back in action, though this time she's far from PG&E in California. The woman who was played by Julia Roberts in 2000 now smells something fishy happening in New York.
Erin Brockovich is bringing her world-famous investigative skills to New York. The environmental activist is looking to figure out what is causing teens to fall mysteriously ill.
ABC News reports 15 teens in the New York area are suffering from facial tics and verbal outbursts. Many of the teens in the group have "been diagnosed with conversion disorder -- a psychological condition that causes physical symptoms like jerky tics, convulsions and even paralysis" but Erin Brockovich thinks there may be more to the story.
The 51-year-old, who famously was instrumental in constructing a case against Pacific Gas & Electric Company (PG&E) in 1994, suspects contaminated groundwater from a chemical spill from more than four decades ago may be behind the troubling symptoms.
"They have not ruled everything out yet," Erin Brockovich told USA Today. "The community asked us to help, and this is what we do."
All 15 of the affected teens attended Le Roy High School when they started showing symptoms last fall. In 1970 a derailed train spilled cyanide and trichloroethene within three miles of that same school.
"We're just trying to eliminate everything, and she wants to eliminate that it's the environment," said Don Miller, father of one of the teens. "It's a possibility and she wants to either prove it is or it isn't something in the environment."
The New York Department of Health investigated the matter and found "no evidence of environmental or infection as the cause of the girls' illness," according to department spokesman Jeffrey Hammond. "The school is served by a public water system. ... An environmental exposure would affect many people."