MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - A grieving metro area family is teaming up with Senator Amy Klobuchar to bring attention to a potentially dangerous health risk facing some recent veterans.
They're concerned about exposure to massive burn pits the U.S. military used about a decade ago in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Amie Muller was an otherwise healthy woman when she returned home from serving her country overseas, but her health deteriorated with horrible skin rashes and other maladies before cancer took her life at 36.
Her loved ones and others are convinced Amie’s medical nightmare can be traced back to the toxic smoke of war-time burn pits.
Brian Muller and his children are still adjusting to a new normal after the death of their wife and mother earlier this year.
"They miss their mommy,” said Brian. “Every day, I have to wake up and have to find a way to spread joy in my kids life and try to be happy. We had lots of plans and dreams together, lots of hope."
As a member of the Minnesota National Guard she deployed to Iraq. She was exposed to a nasty burn pit located next to her housing unit.
At the time, the U.S. military was burning all kinds of things in burn pits because as U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar explained there wasn't the infrastructure in place for proper waste disposal.
"Everything from old batteries, aerosol cans, tires, dead animals and even human limbs got tossed into these pits and torched, sometimes with the help of jet fuel as an accelerant,” said Klobuchar.
Klobuchar has sponsored bipartisan legislation to examine potential links between the burn pits and recent veterans returning home with a myriad of health issues. She explained she's concerned burn pits could be a modern day Agent Orange, the chemical that eventually caused so many problems for those who served in Vietnam.
Klobuchar wants particular focus on treatment plans, something Amie’s family struggled with for years before the cancer diagnosis. Their goal now is to make sure other veterans are protected and that they get the help some so desperately need.
"To know that whatever comes out of this that my wife's life wasn't in vain,” said Brian.
Officially, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is skeptical of a connection between the burning of materials overseas and some of the illnesses and diseases being reported back at home. Klobuchar and those at Friday’s event are demanding more extensive research into the issue.