Tests allay asbestos concerns for Senate press gallery

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate press gallery and nearby rooms in the U.S. Capitol have been declared safe after an air quality investigation prompted by fears of asbestos exposure.

Officials from the Architect of the Capitol's office say workers had discovered a broken air duct above the press gallery on the Capitol's third floor. After evacuating the area, officials called in an independent, certified industrial hygienist to collect and analyze air samples.

A spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol, Erin Courtney, says the sample results tested well below the regulatory limit for general space occupancy.

Courtney says the Senate chamber, which is immediately adjacent to the press gallery, wasn't affected.

The Capitol's House side was temporarily closed in July 2014 after what officials called a "potential release" during asbestos abatement work.