Asbestos worry at Thriassio

Workers at one of Greece’s newest state hospitals yesterday expressed concern that a plan to remove asbestos from the building will only concentrate on the outside of the structure and leave the cancer-causing material untouched on the inside. The union of workers at the Thriassio Hospital near Elefsina, west of Athens, said that work to rid the building of asbestos, which is linked to mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer, has fallen well short of what is required. The staff said that the work could be putting at risk the health of some 1,000 workers and about 1,000 patients who are being treated in the hospital on any given day. The hospital was built in 1996 but Health Minister Nikitas Kaklamanis revealed last December that asbestos slabs were used in its construction. Kaklamanis approved a 2.7-million-euro program in January to begin removing the asbestos. Also workers said the plan contains no provisions for the protection of ventilation shafts or air-conditioning units so asbestos particles are not sucked into the hospital.

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