I personally don't know any of Wolk's wannabe EI victims: the EI patients I know desperately want their lives and work and livelihoods and social lives and mobility back. There is, for example, a friend of mine from high school, whose lifelong dream was to be a geologist. Which she became, and as a groundwater hydrologist, was one of the first people sent to inspect the wells contaminated by IBM's manufacture of semiconductors in Silicon Valley. Within the year, she had to give up her job, sell her wonderful California bungalow in Oakland, and move to the Mother Lode country of the Sierra foothills. This was not her idea of a hobby, of a good time. Then there's the favorite chemistry TA of another childhood friend. She ended up at Cal Tech for graduate school, where this same smart good guy had become a young professor with a promising career. He too was stricken by EI, had to give up his career as an academic, and move to rural Idaho, nothing that had been on his life's gameplan, no twisted kicks there. And my friend, herself later tenured as a physical chemistry professor by the time she was 30—a logical positivist of the first rank—has no trouble believing in her former colleague's or my disability. She herself notices increasing reactivities with age—and in part gave up being a lab bench chemist because she did not like how prolonged exposures left her feeling.

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