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Charles George VA Medical Center - Asheville, NC


Asheville VA Addresses asbestos questions

September 16, 2014

CHARLES GEORGE VA MEDICAL CENTER, Asheville — Recently, there have been questions raised about the presence of asbestos at the Asheville facility and how it is being handled. As the health care provider of choice for more than 36,000 Veterans in Western North Carolina we want to reassure everyone that our facility is safe for Veterans and employees. The health and wellbeing of Veterans and the employees who serve them is our primary concern.

            Many parts of our facility were constructed when asbestos was a commonly used building material. Therefore, the facility does have some asbestos on its campus. While, much of this asbestos has been removed some still remains in various parts of our facility. It has not been removed because undamaged materials containing asbestos are considered safe to remain in place under current regulation. We contract with licensed North Carolina asbestos inspectors who monitor and insure asbestos containing materials are in compliance with all Environmental and Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards. Inspections take place on a regular basis. When damaged asbestos containing materials are identified they are removed by private contractors. This is known as abatement.

Throughout the inspections and abatement processes air monitoring is conducted to check for asbestos particles in the air. Air monitoring conducted at our facility has met EPA clearance levels for asbestos, including areas where asbestos containing materials have been damaged, which means the air is considered to be safe.

Employees who work in areas where they may come in contact with asbestos are required to take annual asbestos training. Any employee who has concerns about asbestos, or any other environmental hazard in their work environment, is encouraged to contact the CGVAMC Safety Office if they have questions or concerns.

Our medical center employs more than 1700 people and we are proud of our employees knowing that they are our most valuable asset in providing services to Veterans. We take all of their concerns seriously and investigate issues they bring to our attention. Once again, the safety of employees and the Veterans they serve is our primary concern. Veterans should not be worried about the safety of visiting the Charles George VA Medical Center to receive their care.