A portion of the United States Capitol, the House side, shut down early this morning after an accidental spill occurred during an ongoing asbestos removal project. A few hours later, however, the House side it re-opened its doors.
According to news reports, an industrial accident that happened at around 2:30 a.m. Thursday morning prompted officials to shut down entry to the House side of the Capitol on the 4th floor. Shortly after, the Architect of the Capitol’s office (ACO) released a statement, informing the public of the incident.
“During ongoing asbestos abatement work there was a potential release affecting the House side of the Capitol. Samples have been collected to determine whether there was potential exposure,” read the statement.
After maintenance and a cleaning crew mopped up the area affected by the asbestos spill, most people were allowed back in the building; aides, lawmakers, and other professionals returned for their workday and a scheduled debate was resumed. Visitor tours were not affected as they are conducted in an area that wasn’t affected by the accident. However, several samples were collected to determine if there is a risk for widespread exposure.
Along with the House side, other parts of the Capitol have been undergoing an asbestos abatement project. Although the House side opened back up at around 9:00 a.m. EST, a third-floor room and the East Grand Staircase are still closed for inspection.
“All other areas of the House side of the Capitol will return to normal operations, including tours,” the ACO stated.
An ABC news reporter who was at the Capitol used Twitter as means to reach out to employees and others.
“Red caution tape blocks access to the US House from Statuary Hall. Potential release of asbestos cited,” radio correspodent Steve Portnoy tweeted.
So far, there is no word as to the test results, but officials say it may take a while to determine if the problem is widespread. For now, however, most activities, although delayed, have resumed as normal at the Capitol.
Keep in mind that if you’re exposed to asbestos, the consequences can be devastating. Asbestos exposure has been linked to life-threatening diseases such as asbestosis and malignant mesothelioma. If you’ve developed an illness due to negligent exposure from a product, manufacturer, and/or while at work, you may be entitled to compensatory damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain, suffering, and much more. It’s imperative to retain legal representation as asbestos laws are quite intricate and detailed.
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