DAVIDSON, N.C. — The Environmental Protection Agency is wrapping up soil sampling in Davidson after residents’ concerns about asbestos that has been underground for decades.
A nearby factory, the former Carolina Asbestos Corporation, produced asbestos materials until the 1960s.
The mineral leaked underground and some residents used it as fill dirt back then.
The EPA had to get a cap that had leaked in 2017 under control, but residents said it wasn’t enough.
“In response to public concern, we’ve come back out here to test an expanded sampling around the mill,” said Courtney Swanson, with the EPA.
Many residents said they didn’t know about the health impacts until years later when they discovered that prolonged exposure could cause respiratory problems and lung cancer.
“We used to play on that hill,” resident Bernetta Graham said.
The EPA and Department of Environmental Quality explained to residents, including Graham, that they would expand their testing outside the mill site to look for asbestos in homeowners’ yards.
Graham hopes for good results when the agencies test her property this week.
“For the well-being of our community and our children growing up, we need to be tested,” Graham said. “It needs to be cleaned up. We need to be free from all this stuff.”
She said she is still concerned.
Her home borders Roosevelt Wilson park, which is where crews discovered trace amounts of asbestos several months ago. Portions of the park had to close as a result.
“If it’s down there in Roosevelt Park, with energy and the wind, I’m sure it’s probably around here everywhere,” Graham said.
EPA officials said they’ve tested the dirt at more than 80 homes, and a handful had to be remediated.
“It does seem that the risk to any one resident, that their property is contaminated with asbestos is quite small,” Swanson said.
The EPA said testing will be complete this week. Residents can expect to get results back in three to four weeks, officials said.
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