‘This was the dumping ground’: Asbestos found near Davidson playground

DAVIDSON, N.C. — Davidson’s Roosevelt Wilson park is where people come to enjoy the sights and sounds of nature. But, when you visit the park these days you’ll be greeted with plastered signs and orange fences warning of asbestos in the ground.

It’s likely been there for years as children played in the area.

“They just started last week, they just put it up,” Davidson resident Kayla Price said.

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She said she walks the nearby trails every day and is avoiding the contaminated zones altogether.

“I didn’t get that close because I saw the orange and I was like ‘OK, I’m not going that way,’” Price said.

The town put up the notice when soil sampling came back positive of asbestos after an environmental assessment for a planned improvement project. They’ve since sectioned off a handful of areas, leaving only the playground and public restrooms.

EPA: State left locals "at risk" of asbestos following hospital demolition

Asbestos is often found in older buildings, so how did it get here?

“That mill, and they dumped the asbestos all over here. This was the dumping ground,” neighbor Andre Carr said.

The state said the cancer-causing mineral leaked into the ground from the former Carolina Asbestos Plant about a block away when it was used up until the 1960s. Once asbestos is agitated in the ground, it can get in the air and inhaling it can lead to a number of respiratory problems, including an increased risk of lung cancer.

The town said it’s following recommendations from the state Department of Health and Human Services to ensure the park is safe before, during and after the improvements. But, neighbors want to know how they’re doing that.

“I don’t know how you could get rid of it totally,” visitor Carol Wall said.

“It has to be dug up and trucked out of here, that’s the only thing that’s going to help us,” Carr said.

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