When a former student at Colonia High School in Woodbridge, New Jersey, realized that he, his wife, and his sister all had brain tumors, he wondered if something about their high school could have caused them. After doing some research, Al Lupiano said that he discovered 107 former students and teachers with brain tumors.
According to reports, these students may be the victims of contaminated soil that had been poisoned with uranium as part of the super-secret Manhattan Project, which developed the first atomic bombs.
Lupiano was diagnosed when he was 27 in the late 1990s, People reported. In 2021, his wife and his sister, also both alumni, were diagnosed with brain cancer hours apart.
“I had told my sister from the very beginning that there was too much of a coincidence that me, my wife, and her all have the same tumor,” Lupiano told WABC.
His sister died in February, and he began questioning if there was a link to the high school and created a Facebook group to see if other people tied to the school also developed tumors. He found close to 100.
“I will not rest until I have answers,” he said.
He’s working with local officials to figure out the cause.
“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,” he told CBS. “It’s not something done to us due to bad habits.”
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Nevertheless, Lupiano’s claims have caused the 1,300 students at the high school to become extremely “anxious” and worried that they could be next to a brain tumor.
Although Lupiano battled his tumor in 2002, he did not think it had anything to do with his former high school until his wife and sister also developed it. When his sister, Angela DeCillis, passed away this year, he vowed to figure out if there was a connection.
He told CBS News, “I started doing some research, and the three became five, the five became seven, the seven became 15. 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.”
Soon, Lupiano was flooded with messages from students and teachers who all said they were battling brain tumors just like his. Most of these people graduated between 1975 and 2000 – but one victim was as recent as 2014.
“What I find alarming is there’s truly only one environmental link to primary brain tumors, and that’s ionizing radiation,” he said. “It’s not contaminated water. It’s not air. It’s not something in the soil. It’s not something done to us due to bad habits.”
After some research, Lupiano learned that uranium ore might have been brought to the site where the high school was built. The soil was moved from the contaminated site when it was shut down in 1967 – the same year the high school was built.
In a statement to CBS News, Lupiano said he is “anxiously awaiting the results of the two-week-long radiological survey which concluded this weekend” and he anticipates he will receive the results in weeks. “However, I still think we need to expedite the next phase of testing including water, soil, and air, to determine if more than one contaminant is present,” he said.
“Both parents of children in school and current teachers and staff deserve answers. Asking them to be patient for several more weeks is unacceptable. Immediate action from our State and Federal agencies is warranted,” Lupiano said.
Watch the video report below for more details: