The Federal Building in Oak Ridge, Tennessee was shut down indefinitely because asbestos-containing materials were found in the building’s heating and cooling system last week during an inspection, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.
Approximately 350 employees, many federal workers with the U.S. Department of Energy, were told not to report to work last Friday.
Mike Koentop, spokesman for the Department of Defense, said the General Services Administration, which owns the building, found some asbestos-containing insulation that had become dislodged in an area of the building’s heating and cooling system.
Koentop said preliminary air samples inside the building were “clean,” and he said additional air sampling and surface swabs were still being analyzed.
Koentop said the Federal Building was shut down as a precaution because of the asbestos-containing materials in the air system and also because closing the building gave inspectors full access. It is not clear how long the Federal Building will be closed.
In addition to Department of Energy workers, the Federal Building has offices for the Oak Ridge staff of U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann.
Asbestos fibers can cause Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer and asbestosis.