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Saturday, September 20, 2014

Part 2: Asbestos at VA Medical Center

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Part 2: Asbestos at VA Medical Center story image
Part 2: Asbestos at VA Medical Center story image

A News 13 investigation of asbestos at Asheville's  VA Medical Center uncovers critical information left out of reports to federal safety inspectors.

Workers at the VA along with an expert say the problem could put public health at risk. News 13's Mike Mason has part two of our special investigation into “Hidden Hazards”.

One current maintenance worker at the Asheville VA hospital fears retaliation so he agreed to speak with us only if we concealed his identity. We'll call him "Bill". Bill says photos taken this past May show there is still damaged asbestos piping and debris in the sub-basement and sections of the crawlspace where most people can't see. Bill tells us, “The old pipe insulation literally coming unraveled and falling apart. It was told to us 2 to 3 times it has all been abated but everything is as it was."

Photos show many crumbling pipes clearly tagged as containing asbestos, others have been duct-taped together instead of being replaced. Workers provided us with additional photos containing captions to describe how broken pipe insulation has been dangling above air handler access doors and the door seal outside of an A/C filter room has been ripped. Workers say the old A/C air handlers are not air tight and they suspect they're sucking in clouds of dust and debris.

Bill tells us, "They move a lot of air into areas of the hospital and they're in these dirty areas."

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