WOODBRIDGE, N.J. — A former resident of Woodbridge Township has called for environmental action after he discovered several people who went to a local school all had rare brain tumors, .
CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to him and others on Wednesday.
“I started doing some research and the three became five, the five became seven, the seven became 15,” Al Lupiano said.
Lupiano, an environmental scientist, said he has confirmed 65 cases of people with rare brain tumors, adding the common denominator is they were all Colonia High School graduates or had worked there. Lupiano was diagnosed 20 years ago and said he still suffers lingering issues. He started researching a connection when other family members were diagnosed with the same extremely rare tumor on the left side of the brain.
“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 said.
After his sister sadly passed away less than a month ago, he posted on Facebook calling on all Colonia High School alumni to ask if others had brain tumors and the response was shocking.
“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 soil. It’s not something done to us due to bad habits,” Lupiano said.
The school was built in 1967. Lupiano is working with local officials.
“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 McCormick said.
The mayor has reached out to the state Department of Health, Department of Environmental Protection and the Federal Agency for Toxic Substance and Disease Registry.
“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,” McCormick said.
Dr. Joseph Massimino, the superintendent of schools, said he is waiting to hear from the environmental agencies what the next steps should be.
“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,” Massimino said.
The superintendent said he plans to send out a note to the school community to let them know where things stand regarding the unofficial research.
Officials warn this is all in the early stages and official research has not been conducted, but there may be reason to dig deeper.