Report: Cancer cluster investigated at New Jersey high school after 100+ diagnosed with brain tumors

‘We have a lot of theories’

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COLONIA, N.J. – Radiation tests are being done at Colonia High School in New Jersey after more than 100 people were diagnosed with rare brain tumors.

Dozens of former teachers and students have reported being diagnosed with brain tumors over the last 30 years. Al Lupiano, his wife and his sister all developed brain tumors. They all graduated from the high school.

Lupiano was diagnosed in 1999 when he was 27 years old. His sister and wife were diagnosed in August of 2021. When they were diagnosed is when Lupiano started to wonder if the link was the high school.

He believes there’s a link between the school and brain tumors diagnosed in people over three decades, ending in the early 2000s, according to NBC New York.

“I never envisioned we’d get to the numbers we have today. When I went live on Facebook we had 15 individuals. Thanks to the help of media getting the message out and the benefits of social media, I’m up to 117 individuals now,” Lupiano told CNN. “We still have no direct links. We have a lot of theories. And I’m going to explore every theory until we turn up either the cause or we’ve eliminated possibilities. Right now we’re still investigating it from a radiological standpoint to see if there’s a radiation or radon involvement. But if that does not prove fruitful then we’ll move on to the next layer which is air, water and soil samples.”

Lupiano’s sister died in February at the age of 44.

“For the first six or seven months, it was spending time with my sister, making sure she was comfortable and had her needs met as well as doing investigations by word of mouth and digging on the internet for obituaries and any clues of individuals like me, my wife and my sister with brain tumors. it wasn’t until I went public on Facebook that I asked for assistance from the mayor and from that point on we’ve been escalating the situation to the state, the county and the federal authorities,” Lupiano said.

The school will remain open while testing is completed. The test results could take a few weeks. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Environmental Protection Agency are waiting for those tests to be complete, according to NBC New York.

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Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.