Board of Directors



Dr Gary Solomon

Gary Solomon MD, FACS

62 year old clinical surgeon. Graduate in Biochemistry UCLA, medical school Tulane, board certified general surgery University of Colorado, and board certified in plastic surgery Johns Hopkins. Founder and director of Long Beach Memorial wound healing center and chief of surgery at same hospital. Retired from practice 2012 secondary to CFS/ME.Developed CFS/ME 2003 after a prolonged upper respiratory illness. Treated by Dr Jose Montoya since 2007. I have two brothers, one recently had died from complication of MS and the other has CFS/ME. My mother recently died from complications from Takayasu Arteritis and carried a diagnosis of fibromyalgia.I’m married for the past 33 years and have 3 children and one grandchild, soon to become two. My interest with Phoenix Rising is strictly trying to give something back for the great work this site has provided over the years.


Secretary, Treasurer and Acting CEO


Mark Berry

Mark Berry

BSc Mathematics (University of Manchester), MSc Computer Science (University of Birmingham). Mark has had ME/CFS – diagnosed as “Multiple Chemical Sensitivity” and an “Idiopathic Immune Disorder” – for over 15 years. He has managed to work part-time from home as a software engineer for most of that time, and now works part-time as a Developer at the University of Nottingham. Mark is a moderator on the Phoenix Rising forums, and is excited about the potential for the software projects that Phoenix Rising plans to develop to enable ME/CFS patients – as well as their organisations, charities, advocates, supporters, physicians and researchers – to meet, share, collaborate, communicate, document their illness and experience, and to campaign and work together for a better understanding of ME/CFS, fair treatment by medical and statutory authorities, and a huge increase in biomedical research funding for ME/CFS and other severe and idiopathic neuroimmune diseases.

Board Members


Professor Jonathan Edwards

Jonathan Edwards MD FRCP, Professor Emeritus in Connective Tissue Medicine, University College London

Jonathan became interested in ME after being asked to advise on research strategy in ME by Invest in M.E. in 2013 following a suggestion by Dr Oystein Fluge. As a rheumatologist/immunologist he was responsible for introducing rituximab as a therapy for rheumatoid arthritis in 1998 and subsequently in other autoimmune rheumatic disorders. He has also worked on general mechanisms of autoimmunity. Although now in retirement and not personally involved in research he has become interested in the challenge of finding the biological mechanisms that underlie the CFS syndrome – in other words ‘ME’ or perhaps more likely several different MEs, maybe some immunological and some not. He hopes to be actively involved in promoting collaboration between scientists of different disciplines. He is also interested in interacting with PWME directly through PR to make full use of the rich resource of personal experience, scientific knowledge and original ideas the ME community has to offer.


 Adin BurroughsAdin Burroughs

Adin came down with ME/CFS (PostViral Encephalitis with autonomic neuropathies) and Fibromyalgia in 2003 while on active duty with the USAF as a reservist (individual mobilization augmentee/IMA). Adin began volunteering with Phoenix Rising in 2009 in a technical role and has helped Phoenix Rising through multiple hardware and software platform changes through the ensuing years. Adin has a BSc in Computer Science (University of Central Florida) with professional experience in systems engineering, software and hardware development, and distributed realtime simulations.





{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Michele Dubow July 17, 2012 at 1:15 am

Cort, I was diagnosed with CFS in 2008 and this is the first time I’ve gotten on the web and searched around for CFS support information from organizations and blogs. (Can you believe it?) I’m generally pleased with what I’m finding and feel the real potential to connect with others on this, perhaps because I have more space in my life to move into another phase of “coping” and acceptance. I do pretty well a good part of the time, but the recent heat and other factors triggered a setback, so I’m reconsidering what I need to do to get back to first principles of management. And I’m looking for more comaraderie and opportunities to make a difference for others. I’m considering starting my own blog or other writing/teaching/producing projects, which would be unique, for sure.

Anyway, I’m writing because I serendipitously found your site and read your bio and I MUST share that I also have a BA in Philosophy and a Masters in (in my case) Environmental Management and Policy from the UNC School of Public Health. And I live in Durham, NC! So I felt immediately compelled to make a connection. My background a long time ago included, among other things, a series of jobs in basic science research (molecular biology) and then almost 20 years at the EPA (in Durham and RTP) before resigning from employment for medical reasons. I’m a young, vibrant (much of the time), creative person who is determined to live a healthy, active life into way old age, current conditions notwithstanding.

Given how close you are, it would be meaningful for me to get to know you and your organization. I notice that the CFIDS organization is in Charlotte. Are we in a CFS hub? I have felt for a while that my life work may be in educating and inspiring people to prevent and cope with chronic degenerative illnesses — mainly Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s — and that expanded to perhaps include other autoimmune illnesses and now I’m realizing — duh! — I have personal qualifications to add CFS as well. (I’ve been a family caregiver for relatives with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and serious cardiovascular disease for about 13 years, I’m sure a major stressor that contributed to my CFS.) I am finally touching a toe in the water of what’s happening in the outside world on all this to see how I will connect. The last few years have been about taking care of family and myself, and opening my creative channels.

Enough for now. I have a feeling there’s much more to say. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you.

Michele Dubow (don’t be scared off by the SPAM filter)


C. Downey March 30, 2013 at 11:22 am

I have been looking into connections between ME/CFS, hypercoaguable blood, and Antiphosphplipid Syndrome. Studies by the Hemex Lab propose that ME/CFS is a type of autoimmune reaction to specific proteins, which falls under the umbrella disease Antiphosphlipid Syndrome. People with this syndrome have hypercoaguable blood. It has been acknowledged by ME/CFS experts that ME/CFS people have hypercoaguable blood. ME/CFS people can have POTS; people with the autoimmune disease Lupus can have POTS; Lupus is linked to Antiphospholipid Syndrome. A Mayo Clinic study has indicated many cases of POTS may be autoimmune. Perhaps ME/CFS is autoimmune, and also falls under the Antiphospholipid Syndrome heading. The Hemex Lab has found that heparin may improve ME/CFS symptoms. This lab first discovered this effect on ME/CFS symptoms when treating women with multiple miscarriages with heparin; some of these women had ME/CFS-like symptoms that improved with the heparin treatment. I would welcome comments on this topic.
C. Downey


Mary Silvey, RN May 16, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Very encouraging to see, and finally feel that M.E. is going to be addressed and appropriately recognized. I do not understand how this issue fell out of the many recognized needs that have circulated the web. Perhaps all the pseudonyms caused more confusion for the newer patients? I saw no mention of CFIDS, and was curious why. There is record stating that M.E. actually was in the U.S. in 1935, where 198 patients fell at Los Angeles County Hospital, which no longer exists. Both the ICC and CCC will need revision, as there will be studies that will possibly need inclusion. I have had all these diagnosis, and fought for the recognition of M.E. since 1994, but we all were trying to stay within diagnosic parameters in the 90′s. Don’t forget fibro!! Mary Silvey, RN (Many thanks to Dr. Leonard Jason, for his continued work and open ear.)


Dave Pollock November 5, 2014 at 2:29 pm

Solving the 1984 Tahoe and Subsequent Yerington
Chronic Fatigue Epidemics
Because so much time has passed since these two epidemics put chronic fatigue on the medical map, I provide the following overview. The Tahoe epidemic began on the North Shore in 1984 and ended about a year later. During this time about 150 residents with an average age of forty experienced a vast array of inexplicable health problems in addition to chronic fatigue. Although the North Shore epidemic lasted for a year, tourists were not affected. Most relevantly, not even one resident of the more populous South Shore experienced any abnormal health problems.
Because the health problems experienced by the Tahoe victims did not respond to antibiotics and so many victims also exhibited antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus, the medical experts then believed that a more virulent form of this normally innocuous virus was the culprit. But this was never validated. The medical experts since have continued to be seduced by a viral cause even though no expert has been able to isolate any other specific virus that unequivocally causes chronic fatigue. A current viral suspect is the retrovirus XMRV.
After the Tahoe epidemic just as mysteriously ended as it had begun, another multi-faceted, fatigue-based epidemic inexplicably began at Yerington, Nevada. This location is an isolated farming community some 50 miles to the southeast of Tahoe. 105 cases of chronic fatigue, generally less severe, developed at Yerington over a period of four months.
Completing the mystery, after the Yerington fatigue epidemic enigmatically ended, neither location again experienced unusual amounts of chronic fatigue or any other unexplainable health problem.
If you believe in science, then these two epidemics must have had a natural cause that logically would appear to be intimately related.
The advantages I uniquely bring to solving these two cold case medical mysteries are, first, my wife began experiencing chronic fatigue in 1988 owing to the toxic environmental pollution produced by two point sources in Central Coastal California where we then lived. These were a highly polluting Union Oil coke-cracking refinery and, especially, a class one, worst poisons, toxic dump named Casmalia Resources. Today my wife is still chemically sensitive such that contacts with simple household chemicals, such as bleach and Pine Sol, produce fatigue. Worse yet, she is also now experiencing the other mystery syndrome afflicting mostly women: fibromyalgia.
Second, my wife and I had gone to South Lake Tahoe in late December 1984 on an extended work-ski vacation. The North Shore epidemic was then in full bloom. Because the media reported that it was confined to just the North Shore, we weren’t particularly concerned.
The third advantage would turn out to be the most important. The work part of the Tahoe vacation involved using my first generation and very expensive personal computer. Because it was susceptible to data loss if power was interrupted and damage if high voltage spikes accompanied the power loss (which is typical), I was very concerned when the media also told about the chronic problems the local power company, Sierra Pacific, had been experiencing and was still experiencing. The media related that power had been lost in some areas for weeks and Sierra Pacific was frantically upgrading their whole grid. Their efforts were successful because we experienced just a few token power interrupts during our brief stay. Notice I said “brief stay.” We cut our vacation short because in early January 1985, Tahoe experienced a heat wave that turned winter into a virtual summer and thus destroyed winter skiing. Because long range weather forecasts did not indicate any relief in sight, we packed up and went home. Before we left, we saw snow melt water en mass running down all the streets into the lake. Thus, all the creeks feeding water in the lake also had to be flowing profusely.
The all-important question to answer is what price Sierra Pacific had to pay for their successful upgrade of the Tahoe grid. Before I answer this question, I identify why Sierra Pacific’s power problems and grid upgrade in 1984 is germane to explaining the 1984 Tahoe fatigue epidemic. Readers will have experienced power interrupts and most will know that they are typically caused by transformer failures. Transformers are used to step down the high voltage carried by the wires to the relatively safe levels used by consumers. The easiest way to add capacity to any electrical grid is to just step up the power line voltage and then replace existing transformers with new ones that can step down the higher voltages and handle the larger currents needed by the customer.
Some readers will further know that transformers are cooled using liquids and that if a transformer is overloaded or encounters a short, it can explode and spew cooling oil into the immediate environment.
Extremely toxic PCBs were used to cool electrical transformers “well into the 1970s” and were banned in 1979 owing to the severe health affects PCBs cause. Specifically, PCBs are not water soluble and they bio-accumulate in the body’s fatty tissue where they could remain virtually indefinitely to continually produce health problems. And PCBs produce systemic health problems in the immune, endocrine, and neurological systems. They are also potent carcinogens.
When the government bans something, normally you don’t have to replace items using the banned substance when the cost to do this is prohibitive. Manufacturers just can’t continue to make the item using the banned substance. Thus, products using the banned substance are normally grandfathered in and, as such, can be used until they fail or wear out. Accordingly, it is at least possible that some or even virtually all of the transformers used by Sierra Pacific in 1984 prior their grid upgrade were older ones cooled by toxic, health-affecting PCBs.
Recall that power had been lost in some areas at Tahoe in 1984 for weeks. Because it takes a small crew only a few hours to replace a failed transformer, such long power outages can only make sense if Sierra’s power grid upgrade involved replacing all or many of the existing transformers with news ones that could handle the higher voltages and larger currents needed by customers. Casinos in particular use copious amounts of electrical power.
But what would Sierra Pacific do with a glut of old transformers containing highly toxic PCBs while frantically upgrading the whole Tahoe grid? Temporarily store them at the operations yard seems obvious.
Because I don’t have any formal credentials in medicine, toxicology, or epidemiology, I need to identify the scientific credentials I do have so readers will have confidence that I could solve the two epidemics. I am a retired aerospace systems engineer with a university degree in engineering physics. I have had to understand much complex physics, engineering, and aerospace technology. Accordingly, I am capable of researching and then adequately understanding pollution and its affect on health. Furthermore, I have also solved many complicated engineering problems—and, of course, everyday problems too. Typically for even everyday problems, initially nothing seems to make any sense, but once the problem is correctly solved, everything makes complete sense. This truism is going to apply to solving the Tahoe and Yerington fatigue epidemics.
I didn’t give a second thought to our abbreviated Tahoe work-ski vacation until the late 1980s when my wife began experiencing chronic fatigue and we correlated its cause to environmental pollution. I then returned to Tahoe in 1988 convinced that some sort of toxic pollution somewhere on the North Shore had somehow produced the chronic fatigue epidemic. As you will see, I was not to be disappointed.
Before I continue, the following map of Tahoe’s North Shore is most relevant.

Incline Village is where doctors first started treating fatigue patients. Four fatigue clusters developed during the epidemic but they weren’t conventionally human-to-human contagious as are most illnesses produced by germs. The medical experts have never been able to account for these clusters in any way because they totally ignore an environmental pollution explanation. One cluster involved five players on a twelve girl basketball team at Incline Village High School. The second cluster involved employees at the Hyatt Casino and Hotel also located at Incline. A third cluster developed at Tahoe City, which is located some fourteen road miles from Incline. Although some 60 creeks feed water into Lake Tahoe, it has only one exit: the Truckee River, which exits the lake close to Tahoe City. The fourth cluster involved teachers at the Truckee High School.
The most important locations on the above map will turn out to be Tahoe Vista and Crystal Bay.
When I returned to Tahoe in 1988 looking for environmental pollution that could have caused the 1984 epidemic, I merely visited the office of the local newspaper, the Bonanza. After telling the editor why I was at Tahoe, he, of course, thought I was crazy. He told me that Tahoe was one of the most environmentally regulated areas in the U.S. Even the conventional garbage was trucked out. But I merely stood my ground lamenting that “there had to be some sort of pollution then.” My persistence paid off. The light bulb turned on in the editor’s head and he retrieved two articles that he copied and gave me (along with all the articles the newspaper had previously also written about both fatigue epidemics).
I will shortly duplicate these articles. As you will discover, they tell about toxic heavy metal pollution being found at Sierra Pacific’s operations yard at Tahoe Vista, at the exact time when the fatigue epidemic peaked and then began to diminish. Once the pollution was identified in the newspaper, it makes sense that Sierra Pacific would remove all the pollutants then at the yard post haste, so potentially explaining the timing of the eventual demise of the Tahoe epidemic in December. I emphasized “all the pollutants” because a glut of very toxic PCB-cooled transformers could also have been stored at the yard, as I earlier surmised. Lastly, if Sierra Pacific wanted to get rid of their toxic pollution on the cheap, since Yerington is close and lightly populated, this out-of-sight and out-of-mind location would be ever so convenient.
Because the web and its vast source of information did not exist in 1988 and Hillary Johnson’s Osler’s Web was not yet written, all I could do was just speculate that this pollution had caused the Tahoe epidemic. (Note: Osler’s Web was first published in the mid 1990s and tracks the evolution of chronic fatigue beginning with the two pioneering Tahoe and Yerington epidemics.) But after the Freedom Industries pollution fiasco happened in January 2014, whereby liquid poisons polluted Charleston’s drinking water, this incident motivated me to use the web to try to circumstantially prove my earlier seat-of-the-pants speculation that extremely toxic PCBs used to cool electrical transformers randomly contaminated North Shore drinking water.
The first relevant fact I most recently discovered was that in 1984 all North Shore drinking water was sucked directly from the lake without any filtering and only treated with chlorine to kill common pathogens.
I recognize that readers first encountering my premise that PCBs caused the Tahoe epidemic by contaminating North Shore drinking water will find it incredulous. But if you just continue to read content without prejudging my explanation, you will find enough circumstantial evidence that will leave no doubt that this explanation is the only one that can logically account for all the facts about the Tahoe epidemic. Although the evidence is circumstantial, it could be proven if just one person was found who worked for Sierra Pacific in 1984 and knew what actual pollution existed at the yard and, especially, how it was disposed once the newspaper identified it.
Before I identify all the relevant Tahoe facts, it is important to understand that chronic fatigue was just the primary health problem Tahoe victims experienced. Many other conventionally inexplicable ones—all known to be produced by PCBs—also developed for the Tahoe victims. The most incongruent was pencil-like brain lesions. Strange cancers also later developed.
Osler’s Web elaborates:
“Clinically, the malady was a hydra-headed monster. … Physical signs and symptoms associated with the malady accrued seemingly without end. Patients described bouts of dizziness, mysterious rashes, abdominal pain and diarrhea, rapid pounding heartbeat and chest pain, shortness of breath, blurred vision. People complained that their hair was falling out [identical to what so often happens to cancer patients treated with potent medical poisons] A third of the patients said their joints ached as if they had arthritis. Two thirds had become highly sensitive to light; some were unable to leave their house or sit near a window without wearing sunglasses; others reported they could no longer drive after dark because the headlights from oncoming cars blinded them.
Still other patients complained their peripheral vision was lost to them. More than half described a ringing sensation in their ears, or tinnitus. [which both my wife and I were plagued with in the late 1980s but disappeared when we moved away from the pollution we had been experiencing] …”
Hillary’s listing of totally incongruent health problems continues, but I will spare the reader and not provide any more. The relevant point is that although Johnson stresses that a virus causing all these health problems doesn’t make an ounce of sense, she uses the words environmental toxins just once. This happened when she attempts to account for the strange cancers that ultimately also afflicted some Tahoe chronic fatigue victims.
Recall that many Tahoe victims also exhibited antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus. I ask the reader if the following additional fact about PCBs is merely coincidental. PCBs inherently reduce the human immune system’s ability to contain the Epstein-Barr virus.
I provide my analysis for why the medical experts were and continue to be seduced by a virus causing chronic fatigue. It is derived from my hands on experience of being a toxic pollution guinea pig and then making sense out of the health problems in addition to chronic fatigue that I observed. In my analysis, a toxic-compromised immune system can no longer hold in check previous pathogens it had previously encountered. Because the Epstein-Barr virus has infected so many people, a toxic-compromised immune system will put out antibodies to this virus. However, every human immune system will have previously encountered many other viruses, which will differ in amounts and types from person to person. Thus, a toxic-compromised immune system will create antibodies to those unique viruses it had previously encountered and had successfully suppressed prior to encountering the environmental chemicals that were now causing the fatigue. Thus, when an individual with chronic fatigue and a toxic-compromised immune system visits a doctor who runs a lab test looking for a specific virus that could be causing the chronic fatigue, the lab test will reveal antibodies to the viruses that this individual had in the past. But in reiteration, no two people will have previously experienced the identical viruses. Thus, the antibodies produced by individual chronic fatigue patients will be different and, most relevantly, have nothing to do with the actual cause of the chronic fatigue. In conclusion, it is to be expected that even though decades of effort have passed, medical science has not been able to unequivocally identify any one virus that causes chronic fatigue simply because viruses are not a primary cause. When the experts look for antibodies in a person with a toxic-compromised immune system, they find a spectrum of different antibodies that don’t seem to make any sense whatsoever.
I emphasized “primary” because if the immune system had to fight a pathogen it had never encountered before, the immune system also might produce chronic fatigue. But today so many more manmade environmental toxins exist in comparison to new human-affecting germs evolving. I emphasized “in comparison” because seemingly inconsequential and microscopic amounts of environmental toxins are not just mutating human genes to initiate, and years later, cause cancers; they are equally mutating the simple genomes of pathogens such as viruses to: 1. Allow germs to make existing hosts sicker; 2. Provide germs an ability to resist our medicines and; 3. Produce specie-jumping pathogens (formally called zoonotic) such as viruses like HIV and the current scourge, Ebola. That environmental toxins are also producing the glut of new diseases and syndromes uniquely afflicting humanity today is totally unrecognized by anyone. But further exploring this fact is best left to another paper I have written and will send to any interested person or organization.
Obviously if someone is poisoned by toxic chemicals, not just antibiotics, but also all other conventional medicines would not alleviate symptoms.
I now duplicate the two newspaper articles. The forthcoming words in bold reflect my emphasis. I will comment along the way. After providing both articles, I will analyze the content even more thoroughly. To make sense out of the content, I can’t stress enough that anytime water quality experts are involved with pollution, this means that the pollution is potentially contaminating either drinking water or water used to irrigate the crops we eat.
The initial newspaper article is dated Dec. 4, 1985 and is titled: Tahoe Vista Contaminates Might Be From ‘Urban Runoff’ Deposits.’ Notice how the title doesn’t motivate readers to explore content. It also just nebulously identifies the location as being Tahoe Vista and not Sierra Pacific’s operation yard. Also, it uses “contaminates,” which implies nothing toxic and thus health-affecting. Accordingly, right off in my analysis, the title is trying to discourage someone suffering from chronic fatigue to critically read the article. But if you do this, you discover that the “contaminates” are toxic heavy metals and they were found at Sierra Pacific’s operations yard. As you will see, though, every means is employed to account for the toxic heavy metals as being inconsequential and not produced by the power company.
Jeff Delong, who did not work directly for the newspaper, wrote both articles. The first begins with:
High concentrations of heavy metals recently discovered on the North Shore may have originated from a source as simple as drainage from nearby roads, environmental officials say.
Notice that the heavy metals are not yet identified as being toxic and thus health-affecting.
Dennis Althayde, an official with the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington D.C., said traces of copper [which is copiously contained in electrical transformers] and chromium discovered at a Sierra Pacific Power Co. operations center near Tahoe Vista may have been deposited due to “urban runoff,” a source of pollution gaining increasing attention nationwide.
“As a general statement, they could have come from that,” Althayde said. “Those particular types of heavy metals are quite prevalent in urban runoff.”
Why would a high-powered EPA official in the nation’s capital be accounting for inconsequential urban runoff in Lake Tahoe producing equally inconsequential pollution, other than to pacify readers?
“It is possible that motor vehicles were the source of that pollution up there,” said David Zeigler, chief of long-range planning for the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. “It turns out all those materials can be associated with automobile use.”
This conclusion will soon turn out to be wishful thinking.
The possibility is one avenue that the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Board is following in its investigation of the matter, according to Eric Hong, state water quality engineer.
The involvement of a water quality board and, especially, a state water quality engineer can mean only one thing: big time concern about drinking water contamination!
The area was also a former trap and skeet club and is adjacent to the site of an old landfill and some sewage treatment ponds. All are being considered as potential sources of the contamination.
It doesn’t make any sense that these long-abandoned areas would magically start contaminating the environment with toxic heavy metals.
Officials with both the Lahontan board and TRPA have long considered urban runoff—ordinary drainage from streets and storm drains—as a major source of sediment-loading of Lake Tahoe and resulting blooms in algae growth.
Indeed sediment-loading is relevant but not because of any summer algae growth. Lake-bottom sediment would also harbor pollutants like heavy metals indefinitely such that they would be stirred up into the water when surface waves are large. Lake Tahoe, which doesn’t freeze other than a little around the edges because it is so large and deep, however, does experiences many windy, sediment-stirring storms during the winter and spring
Like environmental specialists from around the nation, local officials are eyeing urban runoff as a possible source of toxic pollutants as well.
Studies conducted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency indicate that in some places the problem has reached awesome proportions.
Using “awesome” is ridiculous. Compared to all the other sources of environmental pollution, urban runoff is insignificant.
By one EPA estimate, 670 pounds of lead and 380 pounds of zinc, both toxic heavy metals, are washed off the streets of Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Hampton Roads, Va., into Chesapeake Bay each day.
Although the North Shore at Tahoe does have a lot of traffic, it is much less than the South Shore has thanks to its many more casinos and larger Heavenly Valley ski resort. But the South Shore did not experience even one incident of any inexplicable health problem. Also, the road through the North Shore is just one lane. Thus, the traffic on this one single road cannot even begin to compare to the traffic in the big cities referenced above. Why is such exaggeration being used? In my analysis, only for one reason: to mislead readers.
While efforts to reduce toxins entering San Francisco Bay from municipal and industrial discharges have been largely successful, EPA officials are increasingly looking toward urban runoff as a source of pollution.
“Largely successful,” in just a few years, will turn out to be the joke of the century. In 1988, I encountered a newspaper article telling about Union Oil receiving the largest pollution fine ever handed out in California. The San Francisco refinery, for years, had clandestinely and right under the noses of regulators like the EPA pumped all of its toxic waste directly into the Bay in total distain of the law and poisoning ocean life in the Bay. The article further stated that whereas Union Oil could have (and should have ala BP) been fined billions, they just had to pay some fifty odd million dollars—a mere inconsequential financial slap-on-the-hand, easily absorbed as just another incidental cost of doing business.
‘Urban runoff has become a much more important source of contaminants,’ said Dick Whitsel, chief of planning for EPA’s Oakland office.
Whitsel cited one recent study in which high concentrations of lead were discovered in a marsh near the Bay Shore Highway.
Whitsel said the lead likely was from gasoline washed off the highway.
Since the Union Oil refinery was then dumping all its toxic wastes directly in the Bay, a much more plausible explanation for the marsh lead is the yet-to-be found years of toxic pollution coming from this refinery.
Wendy Meglin, TRPA hydrologist, said the lead found at the Tahoe Vista property could also have originated from gasoline while the chromium and copper could have come from car bumpers and the zinc from automobile and roadway paint.
All these pollutants could have also come from outer space, but they were found at the power company yard.
Notice that an esoteric specialist in the form of a hydrologist (they are experts who find solutions to water problems) is now involved in perpetrating the charade. Again this can only mean that everyone is concerned that the pollution existing at the power company yard—which could be much more toxic and thus health-affecting than heavy metals—are potentially contaminating drinking water.
Ziegler said the massive numbers of vehicles driving in the Tahoe Basin [again, using massive is a gross—and totally ridiculous—exaggeration] coupled with the high precipitation in the area could make urban runoff a particularly significant source of local pollution. ‘By and large we think we don’t have any toxic problems here because we have no industry,’ Zeigler said. ‘That isn’t necessarily so. It’s something we have to start looking at’.”
Indeed, a lack of conventional industry does not also guarantee a lack of potential environmental pollution from a local power company that, as I had discovered when I was at the South Shore of Lake Tahoe in 1984 when the epidemic was raging, just happened to be upgrading the whole Tahoe electric grid during this exact time.
Whereas “runoff” could indeed be a relevant factor in transporting the toxins found at the Sierra Pacific yard into the lake, the runoff existing in January 1985 was not caused by normal precipitation. As earlier noted, Tahoe experienced a heat wave in early January that turned winter into a virtual summer and also produced much abnormal snow melt runoff. Whereas this copious snow melt water could have also run through the Sierra Pacific yard to naturally transport whatever pollution that lay on the ground into the lake, recall that the epidemic began in November when precipitation at Tahoe turns to snow. Accordingly, whereas the intense runoff in January might have naturally taken more pollution at the yard into the lake, the pollution had to have started getting into the lake much earlier if it had indeed caused the fatigue epidemic. This implies to me that if the pollution caused the epidemic, it did not get into the lake naturally.
The second article, written by the same person, is dated Jan. 8, 1986 and in larger typeface headlines: Tahoe Vista’s Toxin Mystery. It states:
“KINGS BEACH – A highly toxic element used in the manufacture of nuclear reactors and as an additive to rocket fuel has been discovered in the soil of a Tahoe Vista area mysteriously contaminated with heavy metals.
Notice that this new title continues to just nebulously identify the pollution as being discovered at the “Tahoe Vista area.” You must read the article to discover the location is actually Sierra Pacific’s operation yard. Because Sierra Pacific was not operating a nuclear reactor or producing rocket fuel additives, these sources are referenced, in my analysis, to again motivate any chronic fatigue victim to not bother reading further.
The article next identifies the specific mystery toxic metal:
Although state environmental officials and specialists with the Sierra Pacific Power Co. cannot explain how high concentrations of beryllium got into the soil along Snow Creek off National Avenue, they hope it may provide the clue needed to identify the source of the toxic contamination discovered there last summer.
Most relevantly, “last summer” was also when the chronic fatigue epidemic peaked and then began to decrease.
Also notice that “high concentrations” of beryllium were in the soil along “Snow Creek” and recall that all creeks feed water—and thus any pollutants in the water—into the lake.
Whereas all the experts cannot explain where the beryllium could have come from, I identify what I found using the web: this toxic heavy metal is used in electrical contacts. Obviously this expensive heavy metal toxin wouldn’t be used in household devices using electrical contacts, but the electrical switches used in power companies must be able to transfer extremely large amounts of electric current and, I would bet money, contain beryllium. Furthermore, when power outages develop, there is a lot of high current electrical switching taking place that inherently tend to damage electrical contacts. Indeed when major power outages happen, the media often reports that it was caused by a switch being damaged or failing. Accordingly, many failed electrical switches containing beryllium contacts could have been stored at Sierra’s yard. Also, since Sierra was upgrading their whole grid, possibly they were also replacing many older switches containing beryllium with ones having more capacity. Someone alive today who worked at Sierra Pacific would know all the specifics.
Although I couldn’t find using the web if high power switches used by power companies in the 1980s used beryllium, I did readily locate the specific affect on health that beryllium produces : it “is one of the most toxic chemicals we know. … The symptoms are weakness, tiredness [i.e., fatigue] and breathing problems.”
Also, only animals drink from creeks. Thus, the concern that these heavy metals exceed state water quality guidelines can only mean that the actual concern is for these metals contaminating the local drinking water.
Soil samples taken by Sierra Pacific at and surrounding the utility’s operations center also indicate concentrations of lead, chromium and cadmium that were substantially in excess of state water quality guidelines.
Very large nickel cadmium batteries are used by power companies for power backup purposes and, as is the case for all batteries, they ultimately wear out and need to be replaced. Furthermore, it is plausible that power interrupts and high voltage spikes would also damage these batteries. Also according to the web, very large capacity NiCad batteries are normally vented. Thus, if worn out or damaged NiCad batteries were being hastily stored at the Sierra Pacific yard as the power company upgraded their whole grid, the cadmium in these batteries could plausibly have spilled from the batteries to contaminate the local area.
Searching the web to determine how cadmium affects health revealed a paper recently published whose hypothesis was that cadmium could be a culprit causing ME/CFS.
Officials stressed the contamination poses no immediate health threat. ‘None of these are in levels that are considered toxic,’ said Eric Hong, water quality engineer with the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board. ‘I wouldn’t say there’s any immediate threat. There may be some kind of cumulative threat.’ [You bet there could be; just ask those Tahoe chronic fatigue sufferers who were flat on their back years later and, especially, those victims who ultimately contracted a strange cancer].
Lahontan officials met Monday with representatives of Sierra Pacific, the North Tahoe Public Utility District, and all landowners of property contaminated with toxic materials.
Notice that the article doesn’t identify who these other landowners were. Why wasn’t this done when they could be the actual source of the heavy metals? Obviously, the experts knew that the pollution didn’t originate anywhere else but at the Sierra Pacific yard even though they were also found on adjacent property owned by others. I would further bet that adjacent landowners were involved simply because Sierra Pacific didn’t want the owners to sue Sierra and thus bring even more public attention to their pollution.
Assuming the heavy metals originated at the power company yard, how did they migrate off site? Whereas the unusual levels of runoff in January might have moved toxic metals from the yard, heavy metals would resist being moved very far by any natural means. Plus even if heavy metals at the yard naturally moved far enough to enter a creek, you would further think that most of the heavy metals would just sink to the bottom of the creek upstream of the lake and remain there. Granted that some might reach the lake, but they would quickly settle out in the sediment. Accordingly, heavy metals grossly contaminating drinking water for the whole year that the Tahoe fatigue epidemic lasted simply doesn’t logically hold water. But glut of liquid PCBs continually getting into creeks to contaminate all North Shore drinking water logically hold enough water to fill Lake Tahoe many times over.
William Ryan, chief of the regulation and enforcement for Lahontan, gave the landowners until Jan. 24 to develop a historical land-use map of the area already known to be contaminated as well as a schedule of future testing to determine if the problem is more widespread than already thought.
Notice that the “chief of regulation” for the Lahontan water district is now entering the fray. This individual is personally responsible for the region’s drinking water and his district would be facing enormous liability if it was poisoning residents. Also, I would bet my last dollar that no such determination was ever made. The editor of the Bonanza could only provide the two articles I am duplicating here.
The presence of beryllium, a rare and highly toxic element commonly used by the aerospace industry due to its light weight and high melting point, is particularly puzzling to specialists studying the contamination.
Again the experts only implicate aerospace industries as using beryllium even though its high melting point makes it ideal for use in power company switches that must transfer very large currents.
Frank Luchetti, supervisor of environmental affairs for Sierra Pacific, said the other major contaminants found at Tahoe Vista can be associated with runoff from streets and parking lots or with sewage, but such is not the case with beryllium.
‘It’s not really natural,’ Luchetti said. ‘It shouldn’t be there.’
Finally, some honesty!
Also notice that a Sierra Pacific supervisor for “environmental affairs” is now attempting to rationalize away the pollution existing at the power company yard. This can only mean that Sierra Pacific and just Sierra Pacific is the source of the heavy metal pollution.
Chet Auckly, a chemist for Sierra Pacific, said officials should make sure an old dump once located in the contaminated area was never used for the disposal of industrial waste, which could explain the presence of beryllium. Lahontan officials said [again with some honesty] this was unlikely.
Notice that the article now introduces yet another specialist in the form of a Sierra Pacific “chemist.” The only reason that this kind of specialized expert would be at a meeting representing the power company is because the pollution at the yard was extremely toxic and as such capable of causing the fatigue epidemic.
Auckly said beryllium is also sometimes used as an additive to ceramics and could have been introduced to soil in the contaminated area from clay pigeons lying at the site of a trap and skeet range operated from 1946 to 1965. But the high price of beryllium makes it unlikely it was used in the manufacture of clay pigeons, Auckly said. The chemist added it is even more doubtful the element, which is most commonly found in southern Africa, South America and India, is deposited naturally at Tahoe Vista, though there are some locations the element is found naturally in the United States.
Luchetti said that if specialists can determine how beryllium came to be deposited in the soil, explanations regarding the presence of the other Tahoe Vista contaminants should follow.
‘Right now, it’s just a big mystery,’ he said.”
Notice how the two articles fail to identify who first discovered the toxins at the Sierra Pacific yard and at the adjacent properties and how this discovery specifically happened. But somebody still alive today could enlighten us not just here, but more importantly identify what additional pollution might have existed at the yard, such as very toxic PCBs used to cool electrical transformers, and most importantly identify how whatever toxins existed at the yard were disposed.
I next even more so critically examine the Bonanza newspaper articles. Undeniably the articles leave no doubt that toxic environmental pollution at least existed at and around Tahoe Vista on the North Shore and at the exact time the chronic fatigue epidemic was manifesting only on the North Shore.
The first question to answer is whether this particular pollution was toxic enough to produce debilitating fatigue (and ideally all the other health problems so many victims also experienced). First reconsider what state water engineer, Hong, provides in the second article. He initially notes that concentrations of the heavy metal pollutants “were substantial¬ly in excess of guidelines” and then logically contradicts himself with: “None of these are in levels that are consid¬ered toxic.”
To show that Hong’s conclusion is indeed false, I note that the 2/16/91 issue of Science News related that the EPA listed 17 chemicals “posing the greatest threats to human health.” Cadmium is # 2 in toxicity; followed by chromium at #4; and lead, at #8. Whereas chromium and lead are specifically identified as Tahoe pollutants in the first article, the second article adds cadmium and beryllium.
Perhaps Hong did not know in 1984 that the heavy metals at the yard could severely affect health. But if Hong didn’t know, I don’t believe he would have at least somewhat covered his butt by tacitly qualifying with: “There may be some kind of cumulative [toxic] threat.”
In conclusion and in my analysis, a blatant cover up was operating here. First consider the vague way the newspaper articles handled the actual timing. Recall that the publication date of the first article is Dec 4, 1985 and that the Tahoe epidemic had peaked back in June of 1985. Thus, the epidemic would have had at least somewhat receded into the background by December 1985 when the first article about pollution appeared in the newspaper. Notice how the article vaguely begins with: “High concentrations of heavy metals recently discovered [my bold]…” Wouldn’t you interpret “recently discovered” as being days, or at most, weeks?
You would have to critically read the second article, published thirty five long days after the first, to discover that the pollution at Tahoe Vista was actually discovered months prior—denoted in the article innocuously as “last summer,” which, though and as previously stressed, reflects the exact time when the chronic fatigue epidemic peaked and then began to decrease.
I reiterate, wouldn’t Sierra Pacific immediately begin cleaning up the toxins at their yard right after they were discovered there in the summer? But removing the toxins from the yard would not affect the toxins pre-existing in the lake-bottom sediment and being randomly and to a lesser extent sucked into the local drinking water by surface waves stirring up the sediment.
Next and most relevantly, if the pollution was only “discovered” in summer 1985, wouldn’t the pollution have also existed for some time prior—in particular before and after the epidemic began in November of 1984?
I suggest that the articles just vaguely dated the toxic pollution using the nebulous words “recently discovered” and “last summer” simply because if actual dates were given, a chronic fatigue victim then might have recognized that the toxic pollution was possibly causing the fatigue epidemic as I was doing four years later simply because I believed that environmental toxins had to exist to somehow create the epidemic. Even one chronic fatigue victim then making this correlation to local toxic pollution would surely have resulted in all fatigue sufferers binding together and hiring lawyers. The dominoes would then have begun falling. A real investi¬gation of the pollution would have been demanded. If the Tahoe Vista toxins were found to be causing the chronic fatigue, then all the culprits would have been sued for hundreds of millions: Sierra Pacific, water treatment districts, and especially derelict government regulators who should have been critically monitoring Sierra’s grid revamp when it was frantically happening.
After reading these two articles at the Bonanza’s office in 1988 and encountering the final words “Right now, it’s just a big mystery,” I asked the editor what had ever happened to resolve the Tahoe Vista toxic mystery. He said that nothing happened; the whole incident was born and died in just those two articles. If this isn’t pure toxic pollution cover up only rivaled by Watergate’s failed political cover up, then what is?
Having discovered the two newspaper articles in 1988 just a few years after the Tahoe epidemic ended, why didn’t I then use this information to attempt to account for the Tahoe epidemic as I’m now doing some twenty-five years later?
Well, it wasn’t because I didn’t try.
As a first example of my efforts then, while at Tahoe I visited Dr Peterson. He was one of the Incline Village doctors who had treated many of the Tahoe fatigue victims and was then treating other fatigue patients because of his previous experience. He has remained active in treating chronic fatigue patients while also still attempting to identify a magic bullet viral cause for all cases of chronic fatigue.
He first politely listened to me tell about my wife’s fatigue and my contention it was caused by an acquired chemical sensitivity that was initially caused by a toxic dump and oil refinery creating toxic genocide where we lived. I then related my contention that environmental toxins found at the power company yard could have also caused the Tahoe epidemic. But Dr. Peterson obviously did not take anything I said seriously because I never heard back from him after I left his office.
However, something relevant did happen immediately after leaving his office. We serendipitously met a chronic fatigue patient Peterson was treating and we began talking with her about my wife’s fatigue attacks being caused by environmental chemicals.
I next attempted to determine if the fatigue Peterson’s patient was experiencing was also caused by a similar chemical sensitivity. The first thing I discovered was that she and her husband had moved from San Francisco to acreage in Idaho because they thought (just as I believed when we moved from smoggy L.A. to Central Coastal California in 1976) a rural area was more environmentally pure and as such might alleviate her chronic fatigue. But as I had discovered, less congested does not necessarily also mean less polluted. Typically the exact opposite exists because polluters don’t want to poison the environment where many people live and could be made sick to ultimately contact Erin Brokovich.
The next thing I discovered was that they, though, brought their urban habits with them to Idaho. Specifically, they regularly had their lawn treated with herbicides to kill weeds and pesticides to kill bugs and she could readily correlate her fatigue attacks to visits from the local exterminator.
Next, knowing that Idaho is famous for commercial potato growing, I asked for details. They told me that before a new crop was planted, airplanes copiously sprayed the harvested old potato vines with potent herbicides to economically prepare the soil for new plantings. She then confirmed that she always experienced especially severe fatigue in direct correlation to this activity.
After I told her bleach caused my wife to instantly experience fatigue, the lady then recalled that after using a hot tub in a hotel, she experienced fatigue so bad that it ruined their vacation. Of course hot tubs used by the public use extra high dosages of chlorine to make sure all pathogens in the water are killed. Even today my wife cannot swim in even a mildly chlorinated conventional swimming pool without experiencing tangible fatigue.
Lastly, this lady told me that during a visit to the Four Corners area in New Mexico she ended in the hospital with the worst fatigue attack she ever experienced. I asked if she knew what incident distinguished this locale. After she said no, I told her that it had previously gained much notoriety when government chemical warfare experiments supposedly accidentally killed many local sheep.
I further note that the Four Corners area again made headline news in the 1990s when local Native Americans were being killed by a species-jumping hanta virus whose parent host was the deer mice indigenous to this area. Where is the pollution correlation? Because it so secluded and primarily populated by Native Americans, this location contains a glut of conventional coal-fired power plants that especially pollute the local environment. Coincidence? Not if you believe that we live in a rational world that ultimately always makes sense when you understand something. I reiterate that microscopic amounts of toxic chemicals are known to mutate genes, which can then produce specie-jumping pathogens (and uniquely today there is a glut of them) along with initiating cancers.
Granted that my wife’s chronic fatigue and this additional one anecdote don’t prove that chronic fatigue is universally caused by an acquired sensitivity to selective environmental chemicals. But I have recently made contact with two other victims of the Tahoe fatigue epidemic and both unequivocally confirmed that they have always experienced recurring fatigue attacks and they are caused by environmental chemicals. Indeed, if chronic fatigue sufferers knew that their come and go fatigue attacks could be caused by random contacts with selective environmental chemicals, then they could confirm or negate that this was causing their fatigue. I believe that the majority of fatigue victims would discovery a chemical sensitivity correlation. This is the case even though the CDC and most all other medical experts are, I contend, not seeing the forest because of all the trees.
Returning to our visit to Tahoe in 1988, we just spent one day there and when we returned home our life soon turned into chaos because we shortly decided to move lock, stock, and barrel to Mt Shasta as a means to escape the toxic genocide we had been experiencing for years. We made this decision after I tracked down a young Santa Maria physician who had motivated the other local physicians in 1984 to take out full page ads in the newspaper telling people that their health was being grossly compromised by the Casmalia toxic dump. It was then force-evaporating its liquid poisons to accommodate a glut coming from Los Angeles owing to the state cleaning up the existing toxic dumps in LA. that were then affecting the health of all those voters.
Ultimate irony operated for this physician’s health: he became a toxic crusader as a disastrous consequence of trying to stay healthy by regularly jogging in the early morning before going to work. While jogging he first became aware of the existence of the Casmalia toxic dump when he saw the fleet of trucks daily taking the L. A. poisons to Casmalia. Because Casmalia was then also force-evaporating their ponds to accommodate the millions of gallons of poisons arriving from L.A, and doing this when government regulators were not monitoring air pollution, the health-affecting toxins in the early morning Santa Maria air were especially concentrated. Worse yet for this doctor, Santa Maria is typically foggy in the early morning, so even more so concentrating Casmalia’s poisons in the air this doctor was profusely breathing. After the doctor became ill, he realized that he couldn’t adequately treat all the never-ending health problems being experienced by his patients because they were being caused by Casmalia’s pollution follies.
In what way was the doctor made sick? It should be no surprise that he began experiencing chronic fatigue so severely that he could no longer practice medicine or even function in any respect. To alleviate his fatigue he walked away from his Santa Maria practice and moved to the relative purity of Northern California where he ultimately recovered enough to again practice medicine. But he remained acutely sensitive to environmental toxins. When we visited him in 1988 shortly after we visited Tahoe, he said that he was not surprised to discover that Casmalia was again making people very sick. We also took his advice to move from Central Coastal California to a less polluted area if we expected to alleviate my wife’s chronic fatigue. Owing to the effort required to do this, I had to set aside doing anything with the information that I had acquired at Tahoe, other than let it ferment.
Ultimately a few years later, I wrote a paper detailing my findings and speculations and sent it to the CDC in Atlanta. The response I obtained was no surprise. It stated that the Tahoe and Yerington epidemics were old hat such that they weren’t interested in reopening any effort. The letter ended by further noting that the agency was also busy investigating a current fatigue outbreak in Atlanta apparently caused by (ironically) heavy metals running down their streets.
Although I only vaguely recall sending my initial analysis to Peterson, I definitely recall that he never even acknowledged receiving it.
Owing to a lack of interest from those who should have been interested, I did nothing further until, as noted previously, I resurrected my efforts after encountering the January 2014 Freedom Industries pollution fiasco. Specifically, a storage tank containing 7500 gallons of a toxic chemical used to rinse coal leaked into the ground. The toxins soon migrated to the adjacent Elk River upstream of the Charleston West Virginia water treatment plant. Because this plant did not filter its intake water, the Freedom toxin polluted the water supply to nine counties. The net result was that some 300,000 people could not use tap water for days until the toxic chemical naturally dissipated enough. Although this contamination produced much media fodder and inconvenience and anger for those affected, because the contamination was so readily detectable and the flowing water in a river inherently dilutes contaminates and moves them away downstream once the contamination ceases, fortunately no one ingested the Freedom toxin to the extent of getting seriously ill.
However, consider liquid contaminates getting into lakes. Because lake water does not constantly flow and thus self clean itself as rivers accomplish, non water soluble liquid contaminates entering a lake would first float about in the water before they eventually would settle into the lake bottom sediment where they, like heavy metals, would reside permanently. However, large storm-driven waves on the surface would more easily stir up any liquid poisons in the sediment to again locally pollute the water near the lake bottom.
Also, while non water soluble contaminates were floating in the water, some would drift to where water exited the lake. Recall that although 60 odd creeks feed Lake Tahoe, it has only one exit, which is the Truckee River. Further recall that the Truckee River leaves the lake near Tahoe City, which is just a few miles from Tahoe Vista and the power company yard and its pollution. Because the more populous South Shore is so far away from where all water leaves the lake, the water at the more populous South Shore would not be expected to contain any pollutants present in North Shore water. Lastly recall that the power company yard was located near “Snow Creek” where the soil there was also contaminated
If toxic pollution from Sierra Pacific’s operation yard was producing the chronic fatigue epidemic by contaminating North Shore drinking water, it would be expected that the two clusters at Incline Village would develop first and the Truckee cluster would be the last because this location is so far away from where Sierra’s pollution had to be first entering the lake.
After discovering on the web that multiple water districts supply water to North Shore residents, I began by calling the Tahoe City water quality engineer. To encourage him to talk freely to me, I told him that I was taking a course in environmental engineering and, owing to the Freedom Industries pollution, was writing a paper on water treatment plants that use surface water. The engineer first told me that in 1984 all drinking water on the North Shore was obtained by just sucking it directly out of the lake and just treating it with chlorine to kill common pathogens. He further told me that the only difference today is that additional means, such as using ozone, are now used to kill germs not affected by chlorine. He noted that even today North Shore water treatment plants have an exemption to not also filter the water because normally Lake Tahoe water is so pure. I emphasized “normally” because normally also doesn’t mean “always,” and, especially, “never.”
I note that filtration is not normally used by water treatment plants because doing this is costly and inefficient and normally only pathogens are present at the deep locations that water treatment plants locate their intake pipes.
I next asked the Tahoe City water quality engineer where North Shore water intake pipes are placed in the lake. He told me that “as a rule of thumb” they must be 20 feet below the surface to preclude surface contaminates from boats, such as small oil and gasoline spills, from meaningfully contaminating drinking water. The engineer also told me that turbidity is also a potential problem for water treatment plants. When storm-driven surface waves stir up lake-bottom sediment too much, plants are not supposed to process water from the lake. But this requires that districts have groundwater wells or large storage tanks to supply water when not processing lake water.
Although I neglected to also ask the engineer how far above the lake bottom the intake pipes are, logically they would have to be not be too close to the lake bottom and its sediment.
Confident that the puzzle pieces were flawlessly fitting together, I was ready to contact the water quality engineer at the Incline Village district. Recall that doctors at Incline Village first began treating fatigue victims; thus if indeed drinking water contamination was causing the epidemic, it came from whatever treatment plant or plants were located at Incline or nearby. Before calling the Incline water district, I used the web to try to get some background facts.
I discovered that the Incline district has been in existence since the early 1960s. Their site extolled their state-of-the art water treatment plant that further uses ozone and ultraviolet radiation to kill pathogens not affected by chlorine. This plant went online in the early 1990s and is located at Burnt Cedar Creek, which is just to the left of Incline Village and in the direction of Tahoe Vista. Notice that this plant is located at Burnt Cedar Creek which, like Snow Creek, is relatively close to Tahoe Vista and thus Sierra’s operation yard.
The Incline district’s web site also has an historical section and when I explored the information there, I discovered yet another major piece of the puzzle. It noted that a water district had previously existed at Crystal Bay but was absorbed by the Incline district in 1991 (and thus long after the Tahoe epidemic) when it was brought up to the Incline district’s more stringent requirements. Because Tahoe Vista and Sierra Pacific’s polluted operations yard sat right above Crystal Bay, I eagerly called the Incline district’s water engineer to try to find out more about the Crystal Bay district.
Although I asked this engineer exactly how the water treatment plant at Crystal Bay was substandard, he wouldn’t tell me; perhaps because he didn’t know. Or perhaps the Incline district also got its water from the Crystal Bay’s water treatment plant before its own plant went online in the early 1990s. But it is easy to deduce how the Crystal Bay treatment plant had to be substandard. Because only chlorine was used in 1984 to treat the water in all districts, the Crystal Bay water treatment plant was surely not substandard in how it used chlorine because doing this is so simple. First, this district’s water intake pipe could have been substandard in some way, such as lying too close to the lake bottom, not being twenty feet deep, or even both. Second, the plant could have not adequately handled turbidity problems.
To appreciate how costly building adequate intake pipes are, the Incline district engineer also lamented to me that the government was thinking about making the district extend their existing pipe, which was already 700 feet long. He didn’t want to do this because of the costs involved. Thus it is plausible that the Crystal Bay district didn’t want to spend the required money to construct an adequate intake pipe or adequately deal with turbidity by drilling groundwater wells or purchasing large storage tanks.
It would be easy for an organization with capabilities I don’t have as a mere individual to find out all the relevant missing facts I can’t, such as specifics about the substandard water treatment plant at Crystal Bay, where Incline got its drinking water before its plant began operating, what pollution actually existed at Sierra Pacific’s operation yard and, most relevantly, where the pollution was taken after the two newspaper articles identified it.
Most relevantly for the substandard Crystal Bay water treatment plant, it was located directly below the power company’s Tahoe Vista yard and thus ideally situated to process the first batch of any pollutants (and all subsequent ones) migrating from the yard into the lake. Recall that the Sierra Pacific pollutants were contaminating the soil adjacent to Snow Creek, so you know some of the pollutants got into the creek to end near Crystal Bay’s water intake pipe. The pipe would still suck in contaminates even if it wasn’t substandard.
Before I ended my conversation with the Incline water quality engineer I hit a metaphorical jackpot. This happened when he casually mentioned that the substandard Crystal Bay water district supplied water to the Hyatt casino, which recall was where one of the four fatigue clusters developed. Coincidence? Because employees would have free access to coffee and bar drinks chilled with ice, they had to be ingesting a lot of tap water.
Although a few blown PCB cooled transformers could have been stored at Sierra’s operation yard and leaked toxins that ultimately got into the lake to contaminate drinking water, this possibility could not explain the Tahoe fatigue epidemic lasting a whole year and contaminating drinking water as far away as Truckee. Even if many PCB-cooled transformers were being temporarily stored at the yard, they wouldn’t leak PCBs unless they were also damaged.
But Sierra had to be spending a lot of money upgrading their whole grid and disposing of toxic wastes legally at a toxic dump also costs a ton of money. Although I have no proof and I am not accusing Sierra Pacific or any of its employees of doing this, I will relate what I would do if I was tasked to dispose of a yard full of PCB-cooled transformers on the cheap and do this by dumping the liquid poisons into the local environment—actions that large good old-fashioned capitalistic corporations such as Union Oil so often actually do to get rid of toxic wastes.
First, I wouldn’t dump them too close to the yard; nor would I dump a lot of PCBs at any one time because someone might easily detect this. Instead, I would start regularly dumping small amounts into a creek or creeks conveniently near the yard. When the creeks were overflowing in January owing to winter turning into a virtual summer and melting the snow pack en masse, this would be an ideal time to start dumping in earnest because the PCBs would be quickly diluted and rapidly taken away from where they were dumped into creeks. A rapidly flowing creek with copious amounts of water would ideally take the PCBs far away from the shore where they could be detected but ideally close to where water treatment intake pipes are located.
Recall that heavy metals were found in “the soil” near Snow Creek. Although the heavy metals at the operations yard could have naturally migrated there owing to runoff passing through the yard, recall that the fatigue epidemic began in November and thus when precipitation is snow and not rain. Thus, if soil near Snow Creek was contaminated, it makes sense that the contamination was brought there by humans dumping toxic waste into the creek.
Also I would not dump toxic wastes into creeks in broad daylight; instead I would do this either in the very early morning or late in the evening when there wasn’t much light to expose the activity. At these times, you also wouldn’t encounter any hikers in the area. But dumping wastes in hurry in poor light would be sloppy, so contaminating the soil by the creek.
Assuming Sierra Pacific had a lot of obsolete PCB-cooled transformers owing to revamping their whole grid, it would take months to drain all the PCBs clandestinely at a small rate. During this time, the PCBs entering the lake most closely to the water intake pipes of the water treatments plants close to the creeks containing the PCBs would first make people using this water sick, just as what happened. The PCBs not immediately sucked into the intake pipes would also merely settle into and so contaminate the lake bottom sediment close to where they entered the lake. Wave action on the lake would then produce turbidity problems that would put lesser amounts of PCBs into the drinking water intake pipes located close to the contaminated sediment long after any PCBs stopped flowing into the lake.
A lesser amount of PCBs would also migrate towards the Truckee river exit while first contaminating the Tahoe City drinking water along the way. The toxins would end at Truckee, the last area getting drinking water from lake water. The web relates that the Truckee river is some 120 miles long and is used for agricultural irrigation (and not drinking water) before it ends as an input to Pyramid Lake.
Thus, even if PCBs were no longer dumped into possibly both Snow and Burnt Cedar creeks (recall the latter is where the current state-of-the-art Incline district’s water treatment plant is located and I assume was also located in 1984), the fatigue epidemic wouldn’t end until all PCB-contaminated water in the water distribution pipes was purged and, especially, until the lake bottom sediment naturally cleansed itself by, say, adding more sediment to the bottom or spreading out what existed to greatly dilute the PCBs. But it would take some time for the lake bottom to naturally cleanse itself. As the Freedom Industry fiasco revealed, it takes much time for liquid toxins in the water to be purged even when the water is flowing in a river.
Recall that PCBs are not water soluble and that they bio-accumulate in the body’s fatty tissues where they could remain indefinitely. How persistent was just the fatigue experienced by Tahoe chronic fatigue victims? According to the data package provided to me in 1988 by the editor of the Bonanza, two years after the epidemic ended only 25% of the Tahoe victims felt that they had recovered; 60% had cyclic symptoms to various degrees of severity; and a large remaining 15% were still very sick—some flat on their back! The two Tahoe chronic fatigue victims I recently talked to also have never recovered from their original fatigue. One victim who contracted fatigue in Tahoe was in her early twenties and she contracted breast cancer when she was just twenty-nine. A women’s breast is a storehouse of fatty tissue. Most recently a Yerington victim contacted me and she too has never gotten over the chronic fatigue she experienced.
It’s a shame that toxicology tests looking for PCBs were not accomplished when the epidemic first began or even accomplished four years later when I first speculated that these toxins had been ingested in the drinking water to cause the epidemic. If indeed PCBs stay in fatty tissues forever, locating a Tahoe victim that is still suffering tangibly from fatigue and performing a toxicology test would provide a metaphorical smoking gun if PCBs were detected in abnormal amounts. All that needs to be done is locate the right person and perform the test. One of the two 1984 victims I have located is too old and too sick to have this done and I’m trying to convince the other to do this.
I next provide additional facts about the Tahoe epidemic that ideally support PCB-contaminated drinking water as causing the Tahoe epidemic. Before I do thi


CAWS January 19, 2015 at 9:28 am

Good detective work sir. I have often wondered if there was any resolution to these two outbreaks. I am in agreement with you because of my own experience with environmental exposures and their coverups. I lived in the Phoenix valley for 25 years and was constantly crop dusted because of the cotton/ potato/grapes everywhere which use over 300 chemicals. As a child I lived on Cape Cod and in the early 50s they were trying to eradicate the gypsy moth which was eating the trees, by spraying lead arsenate! When they killed all the birds too was when Rachel Carson published Silent Spring. Her Institute in Woods Hole, MA is conducting a cancer cluster study [mostly prostate & breast] in partnership with the Dana Farber cancer hospital. After they stopped the lead arsenate [mid 50s] they switched to DDT which I was exposed to till I left the state at 18. Most heavily targeted on the Cape were State Park, cranberry bogs & golf courses. Lead arsenate was only banned on golf courses in 2013; but they are allowed to use up reserves which most stockpiled. It is still used on cotton fields along with many pesticides & herbicides.This is why even organic rice grown in the southern USA is contaminated with arsenic because it is grown on old cotton fields.
As a child I was born mercury poisoned [my mother handled it daily for 3 dentists using only cheesecloth & no gloves or ventilation system]. I screamed with colic for 6 weeks till I was taken of the breast because her milk was full of Hg. [We did not figure this out till 60 years later]During the time they were spraying the lead arsenate I developed horizontal white lines on all my fingernails. Doctor opined that I was drinking too much milk! This is a CLEAR symptom of arsenic poisoning. Despite a tough puberty [periods from hell] & a lot of upper respiratory infections w/chronic tonsilitis [two parents smoking in the house & cars], I manage to become an equestrian athlete even after moving to AZ and being exposed to the cotton fields as I grew my own food, did not smoke, drink, party & got plenty of sleep & exercise.
It was not until I was given Cipro for a sinus infection at age 38 that it all went to hell. I recovered after about a year because of my determination , healthy habits and youth but was re-exposed to the fluoroquinolone “trigger” many subsequent time over the next 15 years. Not until I turned PURPLE from head to toe for a MONTH immediately after taking Factive 7 did I put it all together with the help of the internet.These drugs now have serious black box warnings on them; which most doctors are still unaware of as they are still prescribing them as a first line drug even to children.
I have to wonder since the FDA allowed over 360 drugs to be fluorinated in the mid 80s and many desperate doctors were handing out antibiotics and antidepressants during the Tahoe breakout; how many of the worst affected got these drugs or are still taking them. Go to and click on the FTRC link for the only list on the internet of drugs to avoid esp if you have CFS/FM. This includes most of your common anesthesias, antidepressants,many antihistamines,anti pyschotics, anti cholesterol meds and antibiotics. All have safer cheaper alternatives. By the way I can’t go near a chlorinated pool either because I am halogen poisoned. For more details on where fluorine lurks check out and don’t forget about the bromine in most bread flour.

Piper October 9, 2013 at 10:52 pm

My partner and I stumbled over here different page and
thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you.
Look forward to going over your web page yet again.


Max Banfield October 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Chronic fatigue syndrome has been a topic of heated arguments for over 100 years long before it was called CFS.
Until 1975 it was regarded as a mental illness, and since I started doing my own research it has become known as a physical disorder of some sort.
The process has involved many problems, but 2 in particular.
Firstly some of the people who previously argued that it was a mental disorder are hostile critics of my ideas
Secondly I have not been qualified in medicine, and my ideas have not been published in medical journals, so the publications in nurses journals, natural health magazines or my own books and website have been described as “not the real literature”, and that has given copyright thieves the opportunity to steal my ideas and methods and claim then to be their own.
My ideas and methods now dominate discussions about this topic.
Do you want me to send you any items.
P.S. When I walked into a meeting with Tony Sedgewick, head of the South Ausgtralian Institute for Fitness Research and Training in 1982, he knew within a half an hour that I could produce a world first study, and then I did.
Best regards
Max Banfield


Glenda October 21, 2014 at 5:48 pm

In the late 1990′s I took a treatment from Dr. Bruce Shelton, Phoenix AZ. Over 16 years I endured my diagnosis of Lupus, CFS, Fibromyalgia and unbearable all over pain, ADD, and unable to sleep well. I had gone to every seminar/doctor/treatment I could find until I heard parasite infections can cause those same symptoms. Dr Shelton found intestinal parasites and in 2 weeks of doing his treatment protocol I became pain and fatigue free. My GP doctor refused to check for parasites, he stated, “I do not believe in it! Parasites are rare, I do not and will not test for or treat parasite infections!” He said it as if it were his ‘religious conviction.’


Diana January 26, 2015 at 3:35 pm

Thank you for your site. It has been helpful. If anyone knows of a doctor in St. Louis Mo that help me identify if have ME or a methylation pathway problem please email me thanks, put phoenix rising in subject so I know not spam.



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