Location sought for brain scans in wake of alleged cancer cluster tied to Colonia High School

WOODBRIDGE — Al Lupiano has a list of 121 people linked to Colonia High School who have apparently developed brain tumors and another 91 with rare cancers that he believes could stem from possible contaminated soil at the school.

As the wait continues for results of environmental tests at the school last month, Lupiano said dozens of people with apparent signs and symptoms of possible brain tumors, but lack insurance or the ability to afford the deductible to be tested, have reached out to him for help getting a brain scan.

Lupiano announced on his Facebook page Thursday that he has been working with the Brain Tumor Foundation in New York City and has reached an agreement with the organization to provide the scans at no cost.

But an appropriate location to conduct the scans hasn’t been found.

A message left Friday with the Brain Tumor Foundation has not yet been returned.

In his Facebook post Lupiano said the Brain Tumor Foundation reached out to township officials for assistance in finding a location to set up a portable MRI machine for the scans, but the request was denied, a decision Lupiano described as “saddening and disappointing.”

“We tried to help and thought we could but our attorneys advised us that it would be risky for the town to be involved,” said Mayor John McCormac, adding it’s a medical procedure for which the town has no experience.

The “data” and/or “list” compiled and posted to social media by Lupiano has never been evaluated and/or verified by any federal, state, county or municipal agency with competent jurisdiction to fully vet and verify his research, according to town officials.

Earlier this month the township announced work was underway to create a portal for people with ties to Colonia High School who have developed brain tumors to share information about their illness with the New Jersey Department of Health where that information could be further evaluated.

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Township officials added throughout this entire process that federal, state, county and local government agencies have not indicated any immediate or discernable health or wellness threat to the staff, students or visitors at Colonia High School or suggested that the school building or the outside grounds are not safe.

“Now we are left with finding alternative locations to host this event with only a few weeks to go before they arrive,” said Lupiano.

The post indicates the MRI scans are being planned for a week or two in June.

Lupiano’s Thursday post asked anyone with connections to a local business that would offer a room in an area with a parking lot where a large box truck would be parked to scan people for potential brain tumors, to contact him.

Lupiano said the mobile MRI machine is compact but heavy so he’s looking for a place with an ADA compliant ramp and a room large enough for the machine to be set up along with an exam table and a place for a technician to work. He said a small conference room would be ideal, but the crew could operate out of the 25-foot box truck if an indoor space is not available.

A message left for Lupiano Friday asking whether a location has been secured has not yet been returned.

Lupiano, a 1989 Colonia High School graduate who now lives in Jamesburg, began compiling a list of people with brain tumors after his sister died from a malignant brain tumor earlier this year. Lupiano, his sister and his wife had all been diagnosed with brain tumors and all were graduates of Colonia High School.

Before his sister died Lupiano promised her he would find out why they developed brain tumors. His research led to creating a list of people with brain tumors who had ties to the school.

He also notified the community about his research in March, which prompted the township to authorize an emergency contract of more than $200,000 to conduct a radiological assessment of the East Street school and grounds. The results of that assessment are expected soon.

Email: srussell@gannettnj.com

Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.

This article originally appeared on MyCentralJersey.com: Brain scans location sought in wake of alleged Colonia HS cancer cluster