Asbestos in public hospitals: Are employees at risk?

Academic Article


  • Asbestos is an established human carcinogen. Asbestos-containing building materials (ACBM) are used in surfacing materials, thermal system insulation (TSI), and miscellaneous materials, and they have been used in buildings in Jamaica in the past. The objective of the study described here was to identify ACBM, its characteristics, and its determinants in Jamaican hospitals. A walk-through survey of all hospitals was undertaken and 152 bulk samples were collected from 26 public and private hospitals. The samples were analyzed using polarized light microscopy. Sixteen (61.5%) hospitals had ACBM used mainly as TSI. The ACBM in most cases was friable and in a poor condition indicative of fiber release and contained the fibers chrysotile, amosite, and crocidolite. The age of hospitals was not associated with the presence of ACBM. Results indicated potential risk of asbestos exposure in hospitals. The hospital authorities should formulate and implement an asbestos policy for hospitals and undertake proper management of asbestos in all hospitals.
  • Published In

    Author List

  • Scarlett HP; Postlethwait E; Delzell E; Sathiakumar N; Kent Oestenstad R
  • Start Page

  • 22
  • End Page

  • 26
  • Volume

  • 74
  • Issue

  • 6