Union: Police Officers on Capitol Hill Endangered by Recent Asbestos Abatement

Asbestos Exposure & Bans
Reading Time: 3 mins
Publication Date: 04/24/2012
Fact Checked
Our fact-checking process begins with a thorough review of all sources to ensure they are high quality. Then we cross-check the facts with original medical or scientific reports published by those sources, or we validate the facts with reputable news organizations, medical and scientific experts and other health experts. Each page includes all sources for full transparency.

Asbestos.com is the nation’s most trusted mesothelioma resource

The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com has provided patients and their loved ones the most updated and reliable information on mesothelioma and asbestos exposure since 2006.

Our team of Patient Advocates includes a medical doctor, a registered nurse, health services administrators, veterans, VA-accredited Claims Agents, an oncology patient navigator and hospice care expert. Their combined expertise means we help any mesothelioma patient or loved one through every step of their cancer journey.

More than 30 contributors, including mesothelioma doctors, survivors, health care professionals and other experts, have peer-reviewed our website and written unique research-driven articles to ensure you get the highest-quality medical and health information.

About The Mesothelioma Center at Asbestos.com

  • Assisting mesothelioma patients and their loved ones since 2006.
  • Helps more than 50% of mesothelioma patients diagnosed annually in the U.S.
  • A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
  • 5-star reviewed mesothelioma and support organization.
Learn More About Us


"My family has only the highest compliment for the assistance and support that we received from The Mesothelioma Center. This is a staff of compassionate and knowledgeable individuals who respect what your family is experiencing and who go the extra mile to make an unfortunate diagnosis less stressful. Information and assistance were provided by The Mesothelioma Center at no cost to our family."
Mesothelioma patient’s daughter
  • Google Review Rating
  • BBB Review Rating

How to Cite Asbestos.com’s Article


Povtak, T. (2020, October 16). Union: Police Officers on Capitol Hill Endangered by Recent Asbestos Abatement. Asbestos.com. Retrieved February 4, 2023, from https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/04/24/police-endangered-by-asbestos/


Povtak, Tim. "Union: Police Officers on Capitol Hill Endangered by Recent Asbestos Abatement." Asbestos.com, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/04/24/police-endangered-by-asbestos/.


Povtak, Tim. "Union: Police Officers on Capitol Hill Endangered by Recent Asbestos Abatement." Asbestos.com. Last modified October 16, 2020. https://www.asbestos.com/news/2012/04/24/police-endangered-by-asbestos/.

Even under the nose of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) headquarters, unnecessary and dangerous exposure to asbestos still is occurring, leading directly to long-term health concerns now in Washington, D.C.

The union representing Capitol police force filed an official complaint with the Office of Compliance for failing to warn or protect its officers from exposure during the three-month, asbestos abatement project in the Senate subway tunnels.

According to a copy of the complaint obtained by The Hill, police officers were stationed in the subway tunnels without the proper safety equipment while the removal of asbestos was being done under the watch of the EPA. The abatement was being performed as part of a project to install a new sprinkler system in the tunnels.

An exposure to the tiny asbestos fibers can lead to a number of serious health problems, included mesothelioma, which could mask itself for decades during a lengthy latency period. Experts have concurred that no amount of asbestos exposure is considered safe.

US Capitol Has History of Asbestos Issues

This not the first time that asbestos exposure has been a concern at the Capitol. Members of the Capitol Power Plant tunnel crew raised the issue in 2006 when a local environmental laboratory found asbestos in the air at dangerous levels.

Police officer normally is considered an high risk occupation for asbestos exposure. Officers, like firefighters often are first-responders to emergency situations, moving into areas unprotected against environmental hazards like asbestos.

As a glaring example, many New York City police officers have experienced respiratory issues stemming from exposure from the 9/11 terrorist attack at the World Trade Center more than a decade ago.

The asbestos removal at the Capitol was done during the weekends. A notice in advance was sent to all building occupants, including Senators and their staffs and the Capitol police.

Senate superintendent Robin Morey detailed many of the precautions in the memo back in January:

“Employees conducting the abatement have current EPA certifications, personal protective equipment and necessary training…The work will be supervised by an EPA accredited supervisor…Areas  where the abatement of ACM [asbestos containing material] is taking place will be fully enclosed with a sealed containment…We are taking all necessary precautions to ensure public and Senate staff safety.”

The union’s complaint, according to The Hill reporter, alleges that the officers on duty nearby were not notified by management of the asbestos hazards, and requests to reassign officers in the area were ignored.

Part of the complaint alleges that there were no posted signs in the immediate area of asbestos removal.

A Capitol police spokesperson, though, told The Hill that all necessary precautions were taken.

Asbestos has been a priority for years with the EPA, which his charged with enforcing regulations to protect human health and the environment. It was listed as one of the top seven priorities for 2012 by EPA administrator Lisa Jackson.

paper with magnifying glass
Free Mesothelioma Resources
Get Access to Free Resources for Patients & Loved Ones