Asbestos Discovered at Local Hospital

Administrators want to inform folks the asbestos poses no threat. Asbestos was the building material of choice back in the mid 40's, but since then folks have learned it can cause some serious problems.

Officials don't deny the asbestos is there. In fact, they say they're working to remove the material. Madison County Memorial Hospital was built in 1954 and during that time asbestos was the material used as insulation. It can be found in the ceiling throughout the entire facility.

James Gary, an administrator at Madison County Hospital, says, "It's in the piping located in the ceiling above the ceiling. The pipes were wrapped in asbestos, and as long as you don't go up there hit the pipes and knock it loose there's no problem, it's contained."

Though the word, asbestos can illicit fear in folks. Hospital officials say the material poses no threat to either patients or employees.

Bob Pugh, Madison Hospital Board Chairman, says, "If we felt there was any danger whatsoever we would take action immediately, but we've passed our quality test and feel no danger."

The bulk of the material is located in the broiler room where the majority of the pipes are wrapped in the asbestos material. To quell fears hospital officials have a posted a danger sign on the door preventing folks other than employees from entering the room.

Hospital administrators have contacted the EPA and were told if the asbestos is not tampered with it's considered safe. For the time being, administrators say the room where the bulk of the asbestos is located is under lock and key, and right now they're getting quotes from several folks and will be removing the asbestos from the hospital as soon as they can. Extended Web Coverage

Asbestos Facts

  • Asbestos is the name of a group of minerals that occur naturally in the environment.

  • Asbestos deposits are mined in Australia, Canada, South Africa and the former Soviet Union.

  • Asbestos differs from other minerals in its crystal development, which are long, thin fibers that are very strong and resistant to heat and chemicals.

  • Asbestos was added to many older building materials including floor tiles, ceiling tiles, insulation on pipes and ducts, acoustical and decorative coatings and roofing materials.

  • Many buildings with have asbestos, in those materials (mentioned above) if installed before 1980.

  • When left intact and undisturbed, these materials do not pose a health risk to building occupants.

  • Adverse health effect from asbestos are the result of long-term exposure to high concentration of airborne fibers.

  • People who have been exposed to asbestos and are also exposed to cigarette smoke, have a greater risk of developing lung cancer than someone who does not smoke.

  • It is not necessary to remove all asbestos containing materials from a building to assure a safe workplace. The EPA recommends a practical approach that protects the health of building occupants, which includes locating and identifying hazardous asbestos materials in buildings and plan for proper removal of the material.

Source: University of Louisville Department of Environmental Health and Safety contributed to this report.