A number of New Jersey residents are reporting that they are suffering from brain tumors and they have something in common: they all worked for or attended the same high school.

On Thursday, CBS News’ New York affiliate reported that a local activist in Woodbridge Township, a town about 25 miles from New York City, has discovered that a number of residents of the town suffered from a rare form of brain tumor. These residents suffered for years, but a link between the victims was not determined until local environmental scientist Al Lupiano determined the connection.

Lupiano said he learned 20 years ago that he suffered from a rare brain tumor and still suffers from lingering issues. Soon after his sister passed away from complications with a brain tumor, he began questioning friends and loved ones on whether they knew of similar cases.

"I started doing some research and the three became five, the five became seven, the seven became 15," Lupiano told CBS News.

Lupiano began reaching out to friends and family over social media to request they ask others if they knew of similar cases. In total, he said that he was able to identify at least 65 cases of brain tumors in the town.

What they had in common was that they all either worked or attended Colonia High School. It is unclear why exactly the school could be contributing to the development of tumors in former students and workers.

Lupiano said that the factor that could be responsible for the tumors is the presence of ionizing radiation. The school was built in 1967 on unused land, but no records from that time currently exist.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, ionizing radiation is strongly associated with the risk of developing tumors along the brain membranes. The chances of developing them were also found to be stronger in younger than older people.

Woodbridge Mayor John McCormick acknowledged Lupiano's findings and said that he reached out to the New Jersey Department of Health, Department of Environmental Protection and federal officials for assistance in investigating the cases.