Lou Gehrig's Disease and Lawn Guys

Discussion in 'Lawn Mowing' started by GardenTech, Oct 19, 2003.

  1. GardenTech

    GardenTech LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    Was recenty diagnose with ALS ( Lou Gehrig's Disease ) and after 30 yrs. in the Biz...I have some far reaching Theories on what triggered it...seems a little peculiar that Bruce Edwards ( Tom Watson's Caddy ) and numerous other athelets have come down with ALS...Has anyone else in the Lawncare Biz been diagnosed with this? Let me know...Thanks for reading...:(
  2. ElephantNest

    ElephantNest LawnSite Bronze Member
    from La.
    Posts: 1,878

    Sorry to hear that. Our thoughts and prayers go to you and your family.

  3. Doc Pete

    Doc Pete LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,469

    Very sorry to hear of your problem. I don't do any "chemical applications" on lawns/shrubs. I've been worried about the long terms effects of pesticides on us for some time. they've we doing wonders with staying off the effects of your Disease. Best of luck to you,
  4. GardenTech

    GardenTech LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    Thanks you guys...Obviously the handling of petrochemicals has us all a little fearful. I'm actually more conserned about the constant exposure to exhaust fumes, handling of gas/oil, etc. I've also recenty read a report about the gasses and odors associated with the actual mown grass smell ( I know I'm reaching, But Doctors don't know everything )....Check this out:http://www.ardmoreite.com/stories/040299/new_mow.shtml
  5. dfor

    dfor LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 821

    Sorry to hear about the ALS diagnosis. I too have been a little concerned about the fumes we breathe in while mowing. I hope everything turns out OK for you.
  6. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    I'll second that. Otherwise I don't know what else to say other than I think it's extremely noble of you to be conserned with identifing possible causes. Plus you are coming on here and raising awareness.

    If it were me, I'd probably be buried so deep in every ALS website and eating so many Q10 and vitamin E pills that I wouldn't have much time left to think of anyone but myself and very immediate family.

    Being in the lawn care business could very well be risky for some. Here is what I found on http://www.lougehrigsdisease.net

    Is ALS caused by environmental factors?

    The cause of ALS in most cases is unknown, although environmental factors are strongly suspected. A higher incidence of ALS is correlated with exposure to agricultural chemicals and solvents. For more information on theories of ALS causation, please go to the Cause of ALS page.

    On the cause page....

    What About Environmental Toxins?

    Exposure to environmental toxins is believed by many to be a contributing factor to the onset of ALS. Numerous studies of environmental and occupational exposure have shown a relationship to ALS. The problem is many of these studies have shown conflicting results and have not been reproducible in subsequent studies. Below is a list of environmental factors which have shown a relationship to ALS. Note: just because there is a relationship to ALS, it does not mean these factors caused ALS.

    exposure to agricultural chemical

    environmental lead and manganese

    brain, spinal cord, and peripheral trauma

    the use of pneumatic tools

    dietary deficiencies or excess

    exposure to animals or their hides

    selenium in drinking water

    damage to DNA

    exposure to electric shocks

    The incidence of ALS has also been found to be higher among airline pilots and electric utility workers.
  7. Green in Idaho

    Green in Idaho LawnSite Senior Member
    from Idaho
    Posts: 833

    Sorry to read that.

    My dad had ALS as well. From my reading of it to get a grasp on the genetics of it, one opinion is that a person is basically predisposed to have it at some point. But that person's lifestyle that can accelerate it. For some that means a life hard strenous work. Consider how many days you have awaken with sore joints & muscles from the previous day. Lawn/landscaping is obviously a lot of STRESS on muscles, joints and most importantly the nerves. Hanging on to a vibrating mower for 10 hours a day...??? Also applies to athletes. A body is not meant to carry a 50lb golf bag every day while walking and add to it back in the days bags were not designed for balanced weight distribution.

    Another point to the opinion is that some exposures may accelerate the progress too. Exposures to things such as pesticides. Keep in mind pesticides are nerve agents on a micro scale, and ALS, parkinsons, and a few other diseases are all nerve system related.

    Another point is things such as alchohol may accelerate it. The liver produces an enzyme used in the nervous system and it is theorized the liver damage from alchohol affects the production/make-up of that enzyme thereby affecting the nervous system in its ability to complete the 'connections'.

    You are right doctors do NOT know everything. A positive attitude and something other than their piles of prescriptions are worth a ton of medicine IMO.

    Did you ever see that 60 Minutes episode about the youngsters with seizures (I forget the diagnosis) and after years of doctors and medicines the problem was SOLVED by changing their kids diet? I would urge you to seek Eastern medicine, and alternative medicines and see if what you find makes sense for you.

    I'd be interested in your findings of any research. As above, I have a personal interest in it from the genetics/heredity aspect.

    Best wishes,
  8. rodfather

    rodfather LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 9,501

    My prayers go out to you. I don't think I could handle something like that right now in my life since I've already had laryngeal cancer (vocal chords were removed completely) and now have to contend with psoratic arthritis in my hands and knees.

    Suggest you just take it one day at a time...
  9. Envy Lawn Service

    Envy Lawn Service LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 11,062

    As far as your therory about exhaust fumes and such, I am very curious if you used 2-stroke equipment a great deal? I would also like to know if you came home very often with your clothes just wreeking of exhaust fumes?

    I'm wondering this becase in years past, before becoming full time I used to experience this daily and on the long days I would have like to change shirts mid-day. It only took a little while to smell like I had been standing near a tailpipe in a closed garage.

    However, this year, after changing a lot of the equipment, adjusting some air/fuel mixtures and switching to Opti-2 mix oil I don't come home smelling so much like exhaust.
  10. Darryl G

    Darryl G LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 8,064

    LawnTech - I'm really sorry to hear about your diagnosis. My Mom died almost 2 years after a long battle with ALS. Terrible disease...

    I always suspected the cause for my Mom was all pesticides whe applied in the garden and around the foundation. Lots of Chlordane and other neurotoxins. I remember she used to complain of the taste of them when she was applying them...usuallly the powder form...so I know she was getting exposed to them.

    Feel free to e-mail me if you want to chat.


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