"We are looking at possible things that we can do between the town and school, and they said they will look at anything we come up with," shared the mayor.
After nearly 100 people from the same school developed brain tumors, alumni are demanding answers.
Among these students and staff is environmental scientist Al Lupiano. He was 27 years old when he was diagnosed with rare brain tumors in the late 1990s, reports PEOPLE. Last year, his wife and sister, both graduates from Colonia High School in Woodbridge, New Jersey, were diagnosed with brain tumors.
"Fast forward to August of last year. My sister received the news she had a primary brain tumor, herself. Unfortunately, it turned out to be stage 4 glioblastoma. Two hours later, we received information that my wife also had a primary brain tumor," Lupiano told CBS New York.
Lupiano's sister died in February 2022 from her brain tumor, which is what got him to wonder why he, his wife, and his sister had all developed these unusual tumors, so he formed a Facebook page to check if any other Colonia High School graduates had developed tumors or any related conditions. He said, "I started doing some research and the three became five, the five became seven, the seven became 15."
This is terrifying... 94 People from One New Jersey High School Developed Brain Tumors — and No One Knows Why https://t.co/BWm7tOPq4R— Amber Alexander (@ketchupsnowman) April 16, 2022
In no time, he had confirmed 65 cases of uncommon brain tumors, with the only common link between these cases being that they had all graduated or worked in the same high school. In total, he collected the names of 94 former students and staff who have developed brain tumors, according to the New York Post.
"What I find alarming is there's truly 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. It's not something done to us due to bad habits," he shared.
He is now working with city and local officials to identify the root cause of these linked life-threatening diseases. The school was built in 1967 and no cause has been identified yet.
"It was virgin land. It was woods. The high school was the first thing to be there, so there was probably nothing in the ground at that time. The only thing that could have happened, potentially, was fill that was brought in during construction. We have no records 55 years ago," Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac said.
Recent developments show that the mayor has reached out to the state Departments of Health and Environmental Protection as well as the Federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry.
By April 11, Al Lupiano had heard from more than 100 former Colonia High School attendees who had been diagnosed with rare cancers. https://t.co/ofv3DNMS5d— FOX 9 (@FOX9) April 18, 2022
"We are looking at possible things that we can do between the town and school, and they said they will look at anything we come up with," shared the mayor. The superintendent of schools, Dr. Joseph Massimino, said he is waiting to hear what the next actions should be from the environmental agencies. "I'm a lifelong resident here. I raised my family here. So the health and safety of our students is of paramount importance to me," added Massimino.
Massimino also plans to send out a note to the school community to let them know about the incident and added that they are taking all the necessary actions to look into the matter. Hopefully, they get to the root of this mystery.
Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Klaus Vedfelt