An investigation into a possible brain cancer cluster found no evidence a New Jersey school was the cause of tumors diagnosed in former students, officials declared Thursday.
During a press conference, local and state officials said a probe into Colonia High School, located in Woodbridge, found “there was no cause and effect relationship between those illnesses and the building and grounds at Colonia High School.”
“Today we are very happy to announce that our extensive testing for both radon and radiation in the interior and exterior of the school building produced no evidence of cancer-causing hazards that warrant further investigation,” said Woodbridge Mayor John McCormac during the press conference posted on the township’s Youtube page.
“This is terrific news for the current students of Colonia High School and their parents, who worried about their safety, along with current staff members, and is also great news for all former students who attended and staff who worked at Colonia High School.”
The investigation was jumpstarted after it was discovered more 122 people once connected to the school had a primary brain tumor and another 75 were diagnosed with other rare forms of cancer, according to NJ.com.
The state’s Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Shawn LaTourette backed up the mayor’s declaration the school was safe.
“Make no mistake when the department… believes that people are at risk we act and immediately so,” he told media members.
But some parents didn’t seem convinced, according to NJ.com.
One parent told the outlet she doesn’t think the probe did enough testing because it didn’t take water or soil samples.
Parent Edyta Komorek said she and other parents are thinking about transferring their kids to another district.
“I still don’t know what I’m going to do with my kids,” Komorek told NJ.com. “Because I don’t think it’s right to say there’s no threat to teachers and students if you didn’t take a single soil or groundwater sample.”
LaTourette said during the press conference every possible link to cancer was tested.
“We do not believe that there is cause for any further testing,” he said. “And that the children of this school, the faculty of this school and the parents and caregivers of these children and the people in and around this community they can have confidence, they can have confidence that this is a safe place.”
State Department of Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli said during the press conference a review of the cancer registry by health officials determined the expected number of primary brain tumors for Colonia students from 1968 to 2021 were 98 to 105 and among staff for that same timeframe were 13 to 14.
Back in March, Colonia High graduate Al Lupiano posted his theory about possible links between brain tumors diagnoses among 1990s and early 2000s graduates of Colonia High and since then, he gathered the names of at least 110 grads with brain tumors, according to Fox News Digital.
He, his wife and sister were among those who were diagnosed with brain tumors. His sister had recently died of cancer.
“It’s overwhelming. … I’m doing this not only for my wife, my sister — my nieces are currently in the school — but this deserves further understanding. Further explanation of what occurred at that high school over these decades of people being in the building,” Lupiano told Fox News Digital.
“I don’t think this is the end of the story. I have a really bad feeling we’re going to find contamination beyond the high school. There’s lots and lots of people calling me, saying, ‘Look, I didn’t go to the high school, but I live a mile away, and we call our block cancer alley,’” said Lupiano.