An environmental scientist Al Lupiano, found the answer to a medical mystery which links him and 100 other people who have been diagnosed with rare cancers and went to the same New Jersey high school.
A single New Jersey man has solved a medical puzzle that appears to link 100 people with rare cancers to a Woodbridge high school.
Al Lupiano was diagnosed with Acoustic Neuroma (AN), a “very rare” and excessively large brain tumour for someone his age, when he was just 27 years old .Lupiano’s wife and sister, who is now deceased, were both diagnosed with uncommon kinds of brain cancer on the same day last summer. Lupiano revealed in a Facebook post that he has been updating since March 7 that his wife was diagnosed with an abnormally large AN tumour and that his sister was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM), which has an occurrence rate of 30 individuals per million.
“Their neurologist, who has been recognized as a global leader in neurosurgery by the World Federation of Neurological Societies, has treated and been involved with tens of thousands of brain tumors in his career. It is his belief my wife and I may be the first documented case of spouses having an AN, both roughly the same size and on the same side of the head…according to him, the odds are maybe 1 in a BILLION,” Lupiano said.
“To say he was concerned when he discovered all three of us grew up in the same neighborhood is an understatement. Why? There is one well documented cause of brain tumors – radiation exposure,” he continued.
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Lupiano soon discovered a common factor between himself, his wife, and his sister: they all went to Woodbridge’s Colonia High School in the 1990s. Lupiano, on the other hand, was not convinced that the high school was linked to the similar but rare brain cancer cases until he sent out a Facebook request for anyone who attended Colonia to contact him personally.
He had heard from over 100 former Colonia High School students who had been diagnosed with rare cancers by April 11.
“[A]s of midnight Sunday 4/10, I recorded the 100th case of someone having a primary brain tumor,” Luapiano said in a Facebook update. “I never in my worst nightmare envisioned ever hitting this milestone. That’s 100 people with their life forever changed. 100 families having to be told the terrible news. 100 stories of shock and disbelief with the diagnosis. I pray we find answers… (as of 18:00 4/11, the list stands at 102 individuals).”
Many of people who contacted Lupiano about their brain cancer cases were “former CHS teachers and staff members who didn’t live in Colonia, they just worked in the school,” according to an earlier update.
According to NJ Spotlight News, Lupiano is an environmental scientist who has examined ground samples for toxins throughout his career and has warned that the school’s grounds may be poisoned.
According to the outlet, Woodbridge Mayor John McCormack’s office began discussions with the Woodbridge Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Environmental Protection, and the Agency for Toxic Substance Disease Registry about conducting investigations into possible radiation exposure on the high school’s campus. According to McCormack, the municipality wants both local and federal authorities involved in the inquiry.
In his interview with NJ Spotlight, Lupiano also hinted to a possible relationship between Colonia High School and a Middlesex, New Jersey, sample plant.
The Middlesex Sampling Plant, which has now closed, is located on 9.6 acres near Colonia, about a 30-minute drive away.
According to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New York Division, it “was an entry point for African uranium ores known as pitchblende” that were “imported for use in the nation’s early atomic energy program, were assayed at the Middlesex Sampling Plant, and then shipped to other sites for processing.”
Between the 1940s until 1967, when Colonia High School was established, the factory received uranium, thorium, and beryllium ores.
The plant was then “decontaminated to the standards in effect at the time,” yet “overlooked during decontamination were traces of radioactive materials that had been carried offsite over the years by wind and rain to yards of neighboring homes,” according to the USACE New York Division’s website.
“Also, records later revealed that in 1948, some radioactively contaminated materials had been trucked from the plant to the Middlesex Municipal Landfill (MML), one-half mile away. In the 1980’s, the contaminated residential properties were cleaned up, and the excavated soil was stored at the site in a specially constructed pile, known as the Vicinity Properties (VP) pile,” says the USACE New York Division’s website.
According to NJ Spotlight, soil from the factory may have been trucked to Colonia High School during its construction in 1967.