94 people from a New Jersey high school have developed brain tumors – and no one knows why
After nearly 100 people who attended the same New Jersey high school develop rare brain tumors, a former student and cancer survivor demands answers.
Environmental scientist Al Lupiano is among 94 former students and staff of Colonia High School in Woodbridge, New Jersey, who have been diagnosed with rare brain tumors. He was diagnosed in the late 90s, when he was 27, but last year his wife and sister – also former pupils of the school – also developed brain tumours, such as reported CBS New York.
“Fast forward to August of last year,” Lupiano told CBS. My sister found out 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.”
Never miss a story – subscribe to PEOPLEthe free daily newsletter of to stay up to date on the best that PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to gripping human interest stories.
Lupiano’s sister died in February at the age of 44. He began to wonder why he, his wife, and his sister all had these rare tumors, so he created a Facebook group to see if other Colonia High School alumni had developed tumors or related conditions.
“I started researching and three became five, five became seven, seven became 15,” Lupiano said of the alarming numbers. In total, he collected the names of 94 former students and staff members who developed brain tumors, according to the New York Post.
Lupiano reported his findings to Colonia High School, which was built in 1967, and he is currently working with local officials to identify the root cause.
“What I find alarming is that there is really only one environmental link to primary brain tumors and that is ionizing radiation. It is not contaminated water. It’s not air. It’s not something in the ground,” he told CBS. “It’s not something that’s done to us because of bad habits.”
Dr. Joseph Massimino, superintendent of the Woodbridge Township School District, said officials are awaiting details on next steps from environmental agencies, while Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac has contacted the Department of Health. State, Department of Environmental Protection and Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases. Registry, the communications office of the Mayor of the Township of Woodbridge confirmed to PEOPLE on Friday.
Want to get the biggest PEOPLE stories every day of the week? Subscribe to our new podcastPEOPLE Every Day, for essential news on celebrities, entertainment and human interests Monday through Friday.
“We have asked the agencies to move quickly to conduct any necessary research and data verification so that we can effectively coordinate and facilitate all actions that will assist in the assessment of information and the implementation of any impact assessment. environmental,” McCormac and Massimino said in a joint statement about health issues potentially linked to Colonia High School.
The city also said in its statement that a radiation and environmental remediation firm had been hired to begin collecting data at the school. Testing began on April 9.
“Please know that the health and safety of our school community, and the Colonia community as a whole, is paramount and we take the information shared very seriously,” the statement continued. “We will maintain contact with all agencies currently involved in reviewing the data and investigating issues of concern to keep our public informed of any findings.”
News of the alarming diagnoses recently went viral in a TikTok video by Dr. Joe Whittington, a board-certified physician in California.
In the video, which has been viewed more than three million times, Whittington speculated that the former students had developed glioblastoma multiforme, a fast-growing and aggressive 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 will find out the truth,” Lupiano told NJ.com last week.