“Poisoned!” my friend said emphatically.

“Wha-what are you talking about?” I said.

“You were poisoned!  That’s how you got MS!”


magnifying lass


OK, he had my attention.

Over the years, I (like you) have scratched my noggin wondering how I (you) was invited to this tea party known as multiple sclerosis.  (I’m sure the thought has crossed your mind a time or two…or a hundred!)



And now I was about to get my answer.


But before My Odd Sock spins the tale, let me give you some background info.  I grew up in a small town (population 8,000) in N.W. Ohio.  It is a farming community interspersed with some small industrial factories.

Nothing out of the ordinary, right?

The kicker is the fact that in this small community of 8,000 folks–I know of at least eight people who have been dx’d with MS.  That is an unusually high occurrence.  It is also strange that most of us lived in the same area of town.

The plot thickens like stew on a stove.


My friend?  He’s no slouching, conspiracy theorist.  Probably the smartest chap I know.  (Why he hangs with me–I have no clue!)  He is an environmental engineer with a Master’s degree in environmental stuff, backed by 25 years experience dealing with landfills, run-offs, ground water and all things icky in the dirt.


Now back to my story…


“Poisoned, how?”

“In the water supply” he said.


Years before, he became curious upon hearing of so many MS cases in the area.

By studying the sample analysis of the water from one particular well system (the one serving my side of town, he determined the water was “sick”, testing high in PCE, Benzene & the byproduct Vinyl Chloride.


Water or Vodka?
Water or Vodka?



Now I’m no scientist–but I look like one when wearing a lab coat–so his words flew over my receding hairline like a Ryan Howard home run.




Perchloroethylene or Tetrachloroethylene (don’t bother spell checking or your computer may implode!), better known as PCE, is a chlorinated solvent used commercially as industrial degreasers, spot removers and in dry cleaning.

PCE gets into drinking water aquifers when it is improperly disposed of and is able to leach into ground water.



My friend told me the factory located next to the water treatment center, would bury their metal grindings & byproducts in the area of the water system.




Apparently, chronic PCE exposure can cause damage to the liver, the kidneys and the central nervous system. 

It also leads to increased risk of cancer.  (Doesn’t everything!)


Ohio EPAWhen my friend informed the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency of his findings, he was told to remain silent.  Or as my friend put it…”I was told to shut the F$%# up!”



Have you ever wondered how YOU developed MS?

Do you have any possible explanations?

Please share your thoughts–I’d love to hear them!


So now, what do I do with my new information?  I dunno.  Nothing I suppose.  The damage has been done.  And the well was closed in 1992.

It’s just food for thought…even though I don’t feel so hungry right now.

How ’bout you?




6 Replies to “Eureka!”

  1. Interesting. It’s known that SOMETHING has to set off the autoimmune response. Virus, bacteria, chemical pollutants…and the list goes on. I haven’t really ever wondered how I developed MS or Lupus. I just hope I don’t develop anything else!

  2. I’m in a higher risk group by virtue of the my place of birth – Scotland – and the time of year. Apparently, being born in April/May means your mother was deficient in Vitamin D over the previous winter, due to the lack of sunshine, making you more likely to develop MS. Unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, of course.

    So, that’s two factors, but as for a trigger, it’s hard to tell. In 1995 I worked in an office, and I remember one of my colleagues was off with “yuppie flu” – and so I may have been exposed to Epstein-Barr virus then. I do remember feeling overworked and tired the next year, even falling off a chair at one point and eventually resigning to “get my life back”. Not much happened till 2005, and I was diagnosed in Jan 2006.

  3. I too have often wondered if I contacted my MS from something in the water. In 1995 I stopped at my Mom’s house after my doctor visit to tell her I was officially diagnosed with MS. She mentioned to me our next door neighbor, and the lady behind her, both had MS. Also the neighbor across the street had rheumatoid arthritis, and their next door neighbor had lupus. Fast forward several years, we find out the neighbor behind our house had MS. These neighbors had either moved or passed away (not from MS), so no one was available to discuss this. I mentioned this to my Neurologist and anyone else I thought could benefit from this info. I live in Jacksonville, Florida. To my knowledge no studies have been done here to support any suspicions of water contamination. I agree with Mr. Sock, the damage is already done. But I will always wonder, was I part of a cluster, or just a strange coincidence.

  4. Brian,

    It’s a real head-scratcher isn’t it?

    I have never heard of the “birth-month” theory–interesting thought! Wouldn’t be true in my case, as my birfday is in August (though I no longer celebrate birthdays!).

    Thanks for your comment.

  5. Re the birth month theory – it was put forward in 2004, and is backed by some fairly solid statistics. There’s a summary at the BBC ( and the research was published in the British Medical Journal (

    If you’ve been following the news, there’s been a lot of interesting stuff coming out on the genetic front: 29 new genetic markers for MS. (

  6. I also come from a neighborhood where three of us in a row of houses developed auto- immune diseases. Two of us with M.S. and one with lupus. There also was a high percentage of persons diagnosed with cancer. We had an arsenal close by and I remember people talking and wondering if it was the polluted water supply. To me it sounds probable. But what are you going to do the damage is done. Very interesting though, I am so glad I live in the country now and raising my son on well water.