Veterans share thoughts on new study showing the cancer risks linked to Camp Lejeune water contamination

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (WITN) -Veterans are reacting to a new cancer study done on contaminated drinking water at a military base in the east.

Federal health officials may’ve just cracked a code in helping to solve the Camp Lejeune water contamination.

“Was asking for this study to come out months long, but the Department of Justice said it wasn’t ready and hasn’t been peer-reviewed,” said Camp Lejeune advocate, Jason Johns. “Clearly it has as it is showing the right data and enforcing what many people have known for decades.”

A new cancer study released Wednesday, says that military personnel stationed at Camp Lejeune from 1975 to 1985 had at least a 20% higher risk for a range of cancers compared to those stationed elsewhere with uncontaminated water.

“The benzene and fuel contamination were the boogie man,” said Former Camp Lejeune Marine, Jerry Ensminger. “That was what they didn’t want anybody to know about and now we’re starting to see why.”

For years, Ensminger and advocate Johns have been fighting for Lejeune victims and their families.

Ensminger’s daughter Janey, was one of those many victims as she died from leukemia believed to be linked to Lejeune’s contaminated water.

“Leadership of the United States Marine Corps failed miserably,” Ensminger said. “They’ve never come out and said we’re sorry for what happened back then, it was wrong.”

Many federal health experts consider the study to be a positive development but like Ensminger, Johns believes the Marine Corps’ lack of urgency led to years of family heartache.

“I don’t know why there continues to be the denial,” Johns said. “They need to embrace us. I think a lot of Marines and their families would be willing to forgive if they could just get that accountability from them saying we apologize.”

The study also found that civilians who worked at the base were also at a higher risk for a shorter list of cancers.