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Why nearly 100 people at NJ school got brain tumors


A cancer survivor promises to unravel the twisted mystery of why nearly 100 people associated with a New Jersey high school developed “extremely” rare malignant brain tumors.

Al Lupiano is among 94 former staff and students at Colonia High School in the Woodbridge Township School District who have been hit by devastating diagnoses in recent years.

“I won’t rest until I have answers,” Lupiano, 50, said in an interview with NJ.com and the Star Ledger on Thursday. “I will find out the truth.”

Among the others diagnosed with brain cancer was Lupiano’s younger sister, who died of the disease in February at the age of 44.

The devoted brother promised his sister on her deathbed that he would get to the bottom of what was causing the apparent cancer cluster at Colonia High. On Tuesday – after a public push from Lupiano – local officials approved an emergency inquiry into the school.

Al Lupiano and his wife Michelle. Last year his wife – who also attended Colonia – was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. That same day, Lupiano’s younger sister, Angela DeCillis, another Colonia alumnus, learned that she too had brain cancer.
Al Lupiano

“There could be a real problem here, and our residents deserve to know if there are any dangers,” Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac said in a statement. “We are all concerned and we all want to get to the bottom of things. It’s definitely not normal.”

Starting this weekend, various radiological assessments will be conducted on the school’s 28-acre campus, including testing indoor air samples for radon.

Lupiano was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the late 1990s when he was 27. He then recovered from the illness.

Last year his wife – who also attended Colonia – was diagnosed with a rare brain tumour. That same day, Lupiano’s younger sister, Angela DeCillis, another Colonia alumnus, learned that she too had brain cancer.

Al Lupiano's sister, Angela DeCillis - A cancer survivor promises to find out why nearly 100 people associated with a New Jersey high school have developed rare brain tumors.
Lupiano promised his sister, Angela DeCillis, on her deathbed that he would get to the bottom of what was causing the cluster of apparent cancer at Colonia High.
Al Lupiano

After his sister’s death in February, Lupiano became convinced of a link between the Colonia campus and the brain cancers he, his wife, and his sister had developed. Last month, he started a Facebook group asking locals if they knew of anyone else associated with the school who had been struck down with similar diagnoses.

Why nearly 100 people at NJ school got brain tumors
The school was built in 1967. Today it hosts around 1,300 students, many of whom are said to be concerned and anxious about the investigation. Lupiano has contacted the state Department of Health, Department of Environmental Protection and the Federal Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Agency for help – believed to be still in “early stages.” “.
Colonia High School

In less than six weeks, Lupiano says he collected the names of 94 people linked to the school who developed brain tumors.

The disturbing development made headlines this week after CBS News took it nationally. A subsequent TikTok video discussing the medical mystery also racked up more than 2.2 million viral views in just 24 hours.

The vast majority of those who developed brain tumors “graduated between 1975 and 2000, although outliers came as recently as a 2014 graduate,” according to the Star Ledger.

Diagnoses include “several types of primary brain tumors, including cancerous forms like glioblastoma and noncancerous but debilitating masses such as acoustic neuromas, hemangioblastomas, and meningiomas.”

“Finding something like this…is a significant finding,” Dr. Sumul Raval, one of New Jersey’s top neuro-oncologists, told the outlet. “Normally, you don’t get radiation in a high school. . . unless something is happening in this area that we don’t know about,” Raval added, calling for an immediate investigation.

The viral TikTok video discussing the alleged cancer cluster was posted on Wednesday by popular personality Dr Joe Whittington.

Whittington — a board-certified physician in California — claimed that several of the brain tumors developed by former staff and students at Colonia High are glioblastoma multiforme — an aggressive cancer that spreads to brain tissue.

Although the exact number of former faculty and staff members diagnosed with glioblastoma is not precisely known, the cancer is extremely rare. According to the American Association of Neurological Surgeons, glioblastoma has an incidence of 3.21 per 100,000.

Meanwhile, the TikTok video sparked panic and a series of conspiracy theory-style comments, with people claiming mold, toxic waste, asbestos and nearby cellphone towers could all be there. origin of the cluster.

Lupiano also spoke to CBS News on Thursday, saying he now believes ionizing radiation must be responsible for the health issues.

“What I find alarming is that there’s really only one environmental link to primary brain tumors, and that’s ionizing radiation,” he said. “It’s not contaminated water. It’s not aerial. It’s not something in the ground. It is not something that is done to us because of bad habits.

The school was built in 1967 on acres of empty land, with Mayor McCormac telling the news network he was puzzled as to what could be causing the cancers.

Al Lupiano - A cancer survivor promises to find out why nearly 100 people associated with a New Jersey high school developed rare brain tumors.
Lupiano alleges that some of the contaminated soil was removed from the site when it closed in 1967 – the same year Colonia High School was built. He now wonders if some of that soil ended up on the school grounds.
CBS2

He contacted the state Department of Health, the Department of Environmental Protection and the Federal Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry for help – which is still said to be “in the first stages”. steps,” according to the CBS News report.

Lupiano told NJ Spotlight News that the school is located less than 12 miles from the Middlesex Sampling Plant – a site that was used, under the direction of the Manhattan Project, to crush, dry, store, package and ship uranium ore for the development of the atomic bomb.

He alleges that some of the contaminated soil was removed from the site when it closed in 1967 – the same year Colonia High School was built. Lupiano now wonders if any of that soil ended up on the school grounds.

Today, Colonia has around 1,300 students, many of whom are said to be “worried” about a possible cluster of cancers.

“We’re looking at things we can do between the city and the school, and they said they’ll look at anything we come up with,” Mayor McCormac said.

New York Post

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