The secretary of the Smithsonian has informed a congressional panel that two museums that were being investigated over the handling of asbestos are safe, stating that the museums are “safe, open, and free as always.” He said this at a hearing that took place to investigate the handling of asbestos situations at the two museums.

The secretary, G Wayne Clough, was testifying before the Committee On House Administration. The investigation was launched following a complaint by a whistleblower, Richard Pullman, who is a specialist at the National Air and Space Museum.

Mr Pullman has been diagnosed with asbestosis, and he claimed in his report several weeks ago that he and other workers had not been informed that there was asbestos in the walls and ceilings of the museums, thus putting them at risk of exposure through lack of awareness.

However, Mr Clough described this lack of training on asbestos as ‘an oversight; and added that “we have never had an indication of unacceptable levels of asbestos… in any of our museums.”

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