House side of Capitol reopens after asbestos spill

Parts of the Capitol building remained closed after 10 a.m. as a hazmat team investigated a "potential release" of asbestos in the House of Representatives.
By Gabrielle Levy   |   July 10, 2014 at 10:46 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 10 (UPI) -- The atmosphere in Congress was even more toxic than usual when an asbestos incident forced the closure of the House side of the building Thursday morning.

"During ongoing asbestos abatement work there was a potential release affecting the House side of the Capitol," the office of the Architect of the Capitol said in a statement. "Samples have been collected to determine whether there was potential exposure."

Start of business was delayed until noon, from 10 a.m., Speaker John Boehner's office said.

Portions of the building remained closed even after normal operations resumed around 10 a.m., and would stay closed throughout the day as a hazardous material response team and Capitol Police investigated an incident that began sometime around 2:30 or 3 a.m.

The East Grand staircase will remain closed "until further notice."

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