State environmental officials want to designate part of the west side of Davidson as an “asbestos watch area.” But the renewed discussion about asbestos from an old factory nearby is reviving concerns among residents in the historically African American neighborhood.
The neighborhood around the former Carolina Asbestos factory near downtown Davidson [ which would be the “asbestos watch area” ] was the focus of a $3 million cleanup by the federal Environmental Protection Agency in 2017. The problem was that asbestos – which can cause cancer and other deadly lung diseases – was used as fill in many yards and driveways decades ago. So EPA contractors removed more than 6,200 tons of contaminated soil from 45 lots.
But many more weren’t tested, and state Department of Environmental Quality officials say even on properties that were cleaned up, there still could be asbestos deeper in the soil or under houses or foundations. They say the “asbestos watch area” label would be a permanent warning that any future work that disrupts soil must take precautions for possible asbestos contamination.
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