Hospital calls for calm over asbestos

Local | Cindy Wan 22 Mar 2019

Prince of Wales Hospital has calmed fears of health threats after asbestos was found in its ventilation pipes.

The asbestos was discovered in the hospital's special block on the seventh floor, where the obstetric wards were located before renovation began in February.

The hospital employed an asbestos consultant to investigate and found non-friable asbestos-containing materials in the pipes before the renovation began. As the asbestos is not friable and in stable condition, it will not be harmful to people's health if the pipe is left undisturbed, the hospital said.

It has requested the consultant to submit an asbestos monitoring proposal to the Environmental Protection Department for approval.

Once this happens, the consultant will check the materials and examine the air on a regular basis to ensure no asbestos is being released, the hospital said.

The Environmental Protection Department said its officers visited the site and confirmed that the renovation area does not include the ventilation room, where pipes with asbestos materials were found. The contractor has fenced the room and posted warning labels to remind workers not to disturb the room.

The incident came to light after media spotted a warning notice inside the hospital, saying asbestos was found inside a fenced area within the renovation site.

Workers said no one except them go to that floor, and added that the renovation work has been suspended for a while. Asbestos fibers can remain in the body for many years after being inhaled and cause lung cancer.

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