WOODBRIDGE, NJ — A former Woodbridge Township resident has called for environmental action after discovering that several people attending a local school all had rare brain tumors..
CBS2’s Meg Baker spoke to him and others on Wednesday.
“I started researching and three became five, five became seven, seven became 15,” Al Lupiano said.
Lupiano, an environmental scientist, said he has confirmed 65 cases of people with rare brain tumors, adding that they were all graduates of or had worked at Colonia High School. Lupiano was diagnosed 20 years ago and said he still suffers from ongoing problems. He began 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 that she had a primary brain tumor herself. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a 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 urging all Colonia High School alumni to ask if anyone else had brain cancer, and the response was shocking.
“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. There is nothing in the ground. It’s not something that’s done to us because of bad habits,” Lupiano said.
The school was built in 1967. Lupiano works with local officials.
“It was new territory. It was forest. High school was the first thing there, so probably nothing was in the ground at the time. The only thing that could possibly have happened was fill material brought in while we have no record from 55 years ago,” said Woodbridge Mayor John McCormick.
The mayor has contacted the state Department of Health, the Department of Environment and the federal agency for the Toxic Substances and Disease Registry.
“We’re looking at possible things we can do between the city and the school, and they said they’ll look at anything we can think of,” McCormick said.
dr Joseph Massimino, the schools’ superintendent, said he was waiting to hear from environmental officials what the next steps should be.
“I am a lifelong resident here. I raised my family here. As such, the health and safety of our students is of the utmost importance to me,” said Massimino.
The superintendent said he plans to send out a notice to the school community to update them on the state of affairs regarding the unofficial research.
Officials warn that this is all in the early stages and no official investigation has been conducted, but there may be reason to dig deeper.