Cloud of Smoke Could Put Soldiers' Lives at Risk
Christopher Sweet blames his wife's leukemia on the burn pits she was exposed to in Afghanistan.
Diagnosed in September 2008, Jessica Sweet died five months later. (CBS)
Special Report: Afghanistan
When soldiers go into war zones, they expect certain hazards on the battlefield but not necessarily on base, yet that's where hundreds of soldiers say they were exposed to toxic fumes, CBS News Correspondent Jeff Glor reports.
This week, the American Lung Association issued a strong recommendation for the military to discontinue the use of open-air trash burn pits in Iraq and Afghanistan because they are a dangerous health risk. Hundreds of soldiers who've been exposed to the burn pits say inhaling the toxic smoke has inflicted them with severe breathing problems and even cancer.
Michele Pearce is a fighter. She battled stomach cancer in 2008. Then doctors discovered another tumor in her lung.
"I literally just said, 'Wow I could die,'" Pearce said.
Pearce - now in remission - was deployed to Iraq in 2006. She believes her cancer is connected to the months she spent inhaling smoke from base burn pits.