Campus Notebook: Smithsonian Troubles

Posted March 17, 2009 at 6:38pm

House Administration Chairman Robert Brady (D-Pa.) announced Tuesday that he will hold a hearing on reports that the Smithsonian Institution didn’t address asbestos exposure in a museum despite knowing about it for 16 years.

[IMGCAP(1)]The hearing will be held at 1 p.m. April 1 in Room 1310 of the Longworth House Office Building, and Smithsonian officials will testify. The committee will “consider whether additional legislative requirements are necessary,— according to a press release.

Officials learned of the asbestos issue when a museum worker complained that the Smithsonian exposed workers to asbestos from construction at the National Air and Space Museum. A Washington Post article first reported the case of Richard Pullman, a 53-year-old exhibits specialist who has asbestosis and filed a whistle-blower complaint against the institution.

“I am extremely concerned over allegations that the health and safety of Smithsonian visitors and workers have been compromised by a lack of communication and inadequate protection,— Brady said. “At a minimum, museum officials should be prepared to discuss what measures have been taken thus far and how they plan to address the concerns that have been outlined.—

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