After nearly 100 people who attended the same school in New Jersey, in the United States, developed rare brain tumors, a former student and cancer survivor is demanding answers. Environmental scientist Al Lupiano is among 94 alumni and staff at Colonia High School in Woodbridge who have been diagnosed with rare brain tumors. He received his diagnosis in the late 1990s, when he was 27, but last year his wife and sister — alumni of the school — also developed brain tumors, as reported by CBS New York.
“Fast forward to August of last year,” Lupiano told CBS. My sister got the news that she had a primary brain tumor. Unfortunately, it turned out to be stage 4 glioblastoma. Two hours later, we received information that my wife also had a primary brain tumor,” he said. Lupiano’s sister died in February of this year, aged 44. Then he began to wonder why he and his wife and sister had these rare tumors, and created a Facebook group to see if any other alumni at the school had developed tumors or related illnesses. “I started doing some research and the three became five, the five became seven, the seven became fifteen”, he said.
In total, he gathered the names of 94 alumni and staff who developed brain tumors, according to the New York Post. Lupiano reported his findings to Colonia High School, which was built in 1967, and is now working with local officials to identify the root cause. “What I find alarming is that there’s really only one environmental link to primary brain tumors and that’s ionizing radiation. It’s not contaminated water. It’s not air. It’s not something in the soil,” he told CBS. “It’s not something done to us because of bad habits,” he continued.
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Joseph Massimino, Woodbridge Township School District superintendent, said officials are awaiting details on next steps from environmental agencies, while Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac has contacted the State Department of Health, Department of Environmental Protection. and the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases. Registry, the Woodbridge County Mayor’s Communications Office confirmed to PEOPLE on Friday. “We urge agencies to move quickly to carry out any necessary research and data verification so that we can effectively coordinate and facilitate any actions that assist in the assessment of information and the implementation of any environmental impact studies,” McCormac and Massimino said in a statement. a joint statement on health issues potentially linked to Colonia High School.
A radiological and environmental remediation company was contracted to start data collection at the school. Testing began on April 9. “Please know that the health and safety of our school community and the community of Colonia at large is paramount and we take the information shared very seriously,” the statement continued. “We will be in contact with any/all agencies now involved in reviewing the data and investigating issues of concern in order to keep our public informed of any findings.”
News of the alarming diagnoses recently went viral in a TikTok video by Joe Whittington, a California board-certified physician. In the video, which has been viewed more than three million times, Whittington speculated that the alumni developed glioblastoma multiforme, an aggressive, rapidly growing brain tumor that invades nearby brain tissue, according to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. As for Lupiano, he is committed to finding the root cause of what happened at school. “I won’t rest until I have answers. I’ll find out the truth,” he said.