A cluster of brain tumors and cancer in people associated with a single New Jersey high school is causing concern. Colonia High School is now the subject of radiation detecting research.
Three of the victims are Al Lupiano, his wife Michelle, and his sister Angele Decillis. All of them graduated from Colonia High School, and they all have brain tumors, ABC7 reported. Angela died from it. Lupiano started the quest for answers, using Facebook to compile similar cases of people who worked or were students at Colonia High School. His most recent Facebook update, as of April 17, 2022, says that he has identified 102 cases.
It was Lupiano, who is an environmental scientist and industrial engineer, who started connecting the dots.
“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,” said Lupiano to ABC 7.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Lupiano Took to Facebook to Seek Other Victims, Declaring, ‘I Am in Urgent Need of Your Help’
Lupiano’s Facebook post initially read, “Calling all Colonia High School (CHS) alumni…I am in urgent need of your help!”
For those who don’t know me, my name is Al Lupiano and I graduated CHS class of ’89. My three siblings graduated class of ’91, ’95, and ’98. My wife Michele – class of ’91.
A few weeks ago, we very suddenly and tragically lost my 44-year-old sister Angela (CHS-95) to a very rare and highly aggressive malignant glioma brain tumor (Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM)) discovered on her left side. The incident rate for GBM is approximately 30 out of 1,000,000 people.
The same day my sister was diagnosed (August 2021), I received the devastating news my wife Michele (nee Zawada) also has a very large (3.0 cm), very rare brain tumor called an Acoustic Neuroma (aka Vestibular Schwannoma) on her left side.
While generally only life threatening if left untreated, radiation and surgical removal typically leaves individuals with numerous debilitations including chronic headaches, balance issues, fatigue, deafness, slurred speech, inability to blink, and facial paralysis (to name only a few), and that assumes it doesn’t begin to regrow in the future. These tumors are even more rare occurring in 10 out of 1,000,000 individuals.
Why is this alarming? In 1999, I too was diagnosed with a very rare brain tumor on my left side. This now makes three of us in one family with primary brain tumors – all on the left side. At the time I was seeking treatment, my oncologist/neurosurgeon was astounded that someone my age (I was 27) had a tumor so large. These tumors usually grow at 1 mm per year…At 3.6 cm, my AN tumor appeared to have grown at an unprecedented rate (I had an MRI of the neck and brain a few years earlier for an unrelated issue and the tumor was not present).
As luck would have it, my wife and sister where both assigned the same doctor to handle their treatment. 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. 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.
So, why am I asking for help? As previously stated, there is basically one medically proven cause of rare brain tumors like ours – radiation. But where did the exposure come from? Since discovering three individuals in my family were diagnosed with very rare brain tumors, and all about the same size and on the same side of our head, I needed to find a link. My wife and I have known each other since meeting in grade school (Lynn Crest). After 2nd grade, my wife attended parochial school until high school, where she attended CHS. My sister and siblings attended Lynn Crest, Colonia Middle, and Colonia High School. We all grew up in Woodbridge Township, but I lived in Iselin miles away from where she grew up in Colonia. So, if not the neighborhood, what was the link? And suddenly, it hit me! We all of us attended Colonia High School. Could that be the link? I needed more data.
For the past six months, I’ve spent hundreds of hours scouring the internet and speaking to people about brain tumors. During my research, I uncovered a shocking number of our Woodbridge Township friends and family have also been diagnosed with primary brain tumors. When I analyzed the numbers – I wasn’t prepared to see the results! I discovered 15 people from our circle of friends and their family members and friends had been diagnosed with brain tumors! (two newly discovered cases are pending further investigation)
Sadly, several have already died. How was this possible? Was it the street or neighborhood where we grew up linking us? I don’t believe so as we all came from different parts of the Township. So, if not localized exposure, and not something we inhaled or drank, what could be the link? Over and over, the facts spoke for themselves – all were alumni of CHS from approximately 1975 – 1995.
Assuming we follow the same statistical analysis as stated previously, over a 20-year period from 1975 – 1995, I estimate approximately 5,000 individuals have passed thru the hallowed halls of CHS. That means we have an incident rate of 15 cases out of 5,000 people. Since the previously stated incident rate of GBM and AN is 10-30 out of 1,000,000, the rate of CHS brain tumors is 30,000 out of 1,000,000. This is alarming if true! Even more troubling? Is the exposure ongoing?
I am currently organizing data to formulate my next steps. I am asking for your help! If you are or know of a friend, family member, or teacher that was diagnosed with a PRIMARY brain tumor, please contact me. ou can send me a private message using FB Messenger or call/text me at (732)718-4753. This is an urgent call for action…I have two leads I am exploring on what may have caused this, but I need your help!
Three weeks ago, I made a promise to my beloved sister on her deathbed – I will uncover the truth! I will not rest until I find the answer! I have made this shareable from my personal page if you would like to share…thank you for your assistance!
On April 15, 2022, Lupiano wrote on Facebook,
I need your help Facebook. If you were affected or have a tumor or rare cancer, I need your assistance. If you are willing, please record a short video on your phone of yourself talking about your ‘issue.’ Keep it to 30 seconds or less. State your name, what you were diagnosed with, when, and what year you graduated CHS or worked there. Hold the phone in landscape mode. Send to me ASAP by PM (FB Messenger)…we would like to put this on NBC Nightly News with Lester Holt TONIGHT!
Lupiano has been posting lengthy updates to his Facebook page:
4/11 UPDATE: 100…as of midnight Sunday 4/10, I recorded the 100th case of someone having a primary brain tumor. 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…😢)
4/5 UPDATE: There has been quite a lot of news coverage now…Katie Tur of MSNBC, NJ Spotlight, Tap Into, Infolad, etc. I’m working on a big piece for Vice News which will air on their network in a week or two, and the Star Ledger is running a multipage story which should drop this Sunday. Tonight I will be sitting down with The Garden State Podcast, which airs on various podcast services and Tik Tok. The numbers of primary brain tumors continues (unfortunate) to rise as the story has gone national. My list currently stands at 90 cases. I’m optimistic we may see action in the next few days. Keeping my fingers crossed!! 🤞
3/31 UPDATE: Thanks to all of you, the post has gone viral. After the CBS Channel 2 News airing, the summarized radio broadcast on CBS 880, and the NJ 101.5 coverage, my phone has not stopped ringing. While I am thrilled to have the information coming in again, it’s also very troubling to see the numbers continue to grow. As of right now (I need a break…have to put this down for the night), the list has swelled to 80 cases! That’s not body cancers and general tumors…that’s 80 “rare” primary brain tumors! Never did I think when I started this post I would hit this number! 😢
3/29 UPATE: The list has continued to grow, and now stands at 65 individuals. Several news agencies have reached out to me and I anticipate the completed articles and interviews will be released shortly. Our meetings with the State and Feds. is continuing. We are optimistic we will see some ‘action’ soon.
3/25 UPDATE: The meetings with County, State, and Federal agencies are going well. Taking the next steps to begin the investigation.
3/21 UPDATE: I am scheduled to present my data to local, County, and State officials. Wish me luck!
3/16 UPDATE: Since I created this post a week ago, the most frequent question I am asked is, ‘Is there something I can do and do you need my help?’
The answer? Yes…there is. And, YES…I most definitely DO!
While I have spent countless hours gathering data, I simply haven’t had enough time to get others involved. I’ve reached out to both the news and local newspapers, but have not received any interest. I don’t know if it’s because they have deemed this to not be ‘news worthy’ or simply because my requests for help have fallen on deaf ears. But, in order for me to take the next steps, I need the help of others.
If you would like to help, please contact the news and media agencies as well as your local, County, and State officials and get them involved. I’ve done the leg work for them and gathered the data for the last 6 months. We need them to investigate the issue and if possible, deal with the cause.
So, if you wish to help, please help me “get the word out”. We need action! We need an investigation! We need answers!
Before the case number grew, he wrote,
Since posting this a few days ago, the current number of confirmed (as of 1900 hours, 3/14) has now grown to 61 individuals. Of special note: many are former CHS teachers and staff members who didn’t live in Colonia, they just worked in the school.
I’ve also started a sublist of what I am classifying as “cases of interest” due to several anomalies. This list too has grown quickly and is now 24 individuals. While I don’t know for sure if they are related, being graduates of the High School, living next to the HS, and/or having rare cancers is something I feel needs to be explored further.
I’ve requested a few pieces of historical data, trying to determine the history of the site prior to the construction of the HS. I have requested a discussion with the Department of Health, and if need be, we can involve the Federal agencies. My main focus is still on determining if ionizing radiation is the cause of these tumor and other rare cancers.
To summarize, primary brain tumors of this type have an incidence rate of between 10-30 out of 1,000,000 individuals. With confirmed cases now at 61 we have an incidence of 61 out of approximately 10,000 individuals. Keep the information coming! And once again…I couldn’t do this without your help!!
2. Other Victims Include Two Sisters
According to ABC7, one of the victims was a woman named Janice Wisinski, who died 10 years ago from an inoperable brain tumor while pregnant. Her sister Cheryl Black died of brain cancer in 2015.
“My wife fought like crazy. At the time, medium lifespan for her type of tumor was 18 months. She made it five years,” said Jason Wisinski to the television station.
“My wife was awesome, and I think about her every day – I talk to her all the time,” Wisinski said.
According to the television station, the sisters graduated from Colonia High School.
3. The Mayor Called the Cluster ‘Alarming’
“It’s alarming because there are just so many people with a tumor – malignant or benign, and it’s serious. We have to really take a look at it,” said Woodbridge Township Mayor John McCormac to ABC 7.
The television station reported that testing is ongoing.
“Two environmentalists are using a GPS to test for radiation” at the high school, which is still open, the television station reported.
According to My Central New Jersey, the township “has approved an emergency contract of $221,350 for an engineering firm to conduct radiological assessments at Colonia High School.”
Colonia High School is located in Colonia, New Jersey. The school’s social media accounts have been quiet about the brain tumors.
4. A Nearby Plant That Once Received Uranium Is Under Scrutiny
According to Fox News, getting scrutiny in the controversy is the now-closed Middlesex Sampling Plant, which is a half hour away from Colonia.
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,” according to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) New York Division.
Fox News reported that the plant “received uranium, thorium and beryllium ores between the 1940s and 1967, which is the same year Colonia High School was built.”
The Army Corps of Engineers has a lengthy fact sheet on that plant. It says,
The Middlesex Sampling Plant is located at 239 Mountain Avenue in Middlesex, New Jersey. The facility, which includes several buildings on 9.6 acres, was an entry point for African uranium ores known as pitchblende. These ores, 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. The site received uranium, thorium and beryllium ores from the 1940s until 1967, at which time the facility was decontaminated to the standards in effect at the time. However, 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. 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 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. Also in the 1980’s, the contaminated materials disposed of at the MML were excavated, brought back to the site and stored in a specially constructed pile, known as the MML pile. In 1997, the contaminated process building was demolished, and the steel stockpiled for recycling. In 1998 the Corps of Engineers recycled and disposed of the stockpiled steel. In addition the Corps disposed of 33,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil contained within the (MML) pile. In 1999, the Corps prepared an Engineering Evaluation/Cost Analysis (EE/CA) to address the Vicinity Property (VP) pile remaining at the site. Between August 1999 and November 1999, the Corps disposed of 35,000 cubic yards of contaminated soil contained within the VP pile. A Record of Decision (ROD) for Soils was signed September 2005. Remedial Action in accordance with this ROD was completed in FY08.
5. Colonia High School Was Built in 1967
According to Tapinto.net, Colonia High opened in 1967, “built on woodland property near the Garden State Parkway, in the community’s ‘estate section,’ surrounded by residential neighborhoods.”
The school “was one of the first buildings constructed there and has since been expanded. The township does not have records dating back to 55 years ago,” the site noted.
According to My Central New Jersey, the mayor said the school site “was vacant land until the school was built in 1967, so he believes there is little chance anything was in the ground before then, but if there is anything on site, it could have come from fill during the construction phase.”
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https://heavy.com/news/colonia-high-school-brain-tumors-cancers/ Colonia High School Brain Tumors: New Jersey Cancer Cluster