‘They dumped it everywhere’: Neighbors dealing with asbestos risk near old Davidson factory

DAVIDSON, N.C. — Officials with the the North Carolina Division of Waste Management hosted a public information meeting Monday night about long-term plans to address asbestos risk for neighbors in Davidson.

Carolina Asbestos Corporation, now known as the Davidson Depot property, used to create asbestos fabric, tiles and shingles from the 1930s to the 1960s.

[CDC: Health effects of asbestos]

When an old cap on the asbestos pile leaked underground in 2017, several agencies got involved, including DEQ and waste management. The agencies tried to remove it, but they couldn’t get it all.

But the asbestos is not contained to just the old factory site. Superfund Section Chief James Eateson said removing all the material could not have been achieved without destroying all the homes in the area.

Residents who attended the meeting Monday night told Channel 9 the response from state health officials was really frustrating.

“They dumped it everywhere. And for that reason, I’ve got asbestos in my backyard. I’ve got asbestos in my front yard,” homeowner Evelyn Mcarr said.

“They’re just now telling us we’ve been doing it before now. It’s already been done,” neighbor Elizabeth Wilson said. “This is 40 to 50 years late.”

Monday night’s meeting focused on the long-term asbestos risk management for homes where asbestos fill was used in yards or driveways.

A state official told residents everything is fine if they don’t dig on their own property.

“In my mind, asbestos will be here until I die,” resident Joanne Stewart said.

Asbestos can be released into the air and inhaled when it is moved, even slightly.

The tiny asbestos fibers can get stuck in the lungs.

Exposure can increase the risk for lung cancer and mesothelioma, another form of cancer.

Neighbors also complained about plans for a new commercial development on the old plant site that will start in the fall of this year. State officials said the developer will have to follow some very strict safety guidelines.

The meeting was at the Ada Jenkins Center on Gamble Street.

Read more top trending stories on wsoctv.com: