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More Lots In Davidson To Be Tested For Asbestos

The Metrolina Warehouse in Davidson was an asbestos factory from 1930 to 1960.
David Boraks
The Metrolina Warehouse in Davidson was an asbestos factory from the 1930s to 1960s.

State and federal environmental officials say they will test more properties in Davidson for asbestos in the coming months. That's after residents in the historically African American West Side neighborhood raised concerns at a community meeting back in January. 

Letters have gone out offering tests to residents whose yards are within one-quarter mile of the former Carolina Asbestos factory and were not tested in 2017. The earlier tests found asbestos in unsafe levels at 45 lots, and the federal Environmental Protection Agency spent $3 million on a cleanup. 

The EPA also will clean up any additional lots found contaminated in this round of testing. Carolina Asbestos operated from the 1930s to the 1960s on Depot Street, a block from Main Street in Davidson.  It's now a warehouse and vintage furniture market. 

Asbestos from the mill was used as fill in yards and driveways decades ago. It can cause cancer and other deadly lung diseases.

In January, residents told officials that asbestos was more widespread than earlier tests found, and more properties should be tested. 

Two weeks later, a contractor testing soil at Roosevelt Wilson Park nearby found asbestos in some areas, and sections of the park were closed. 

The state is considering labeling parts of the neighborhood as an "asbestos watch area," to warn future property buyers or developers of the possibility of contamination.

The N.C. Department of Environmental Quality says it had planned to hold another community meeting about the testing, but that's on hold because of limits on large gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. 

More information about the site is on the state Department of Environmental Quality website.

David Boraks previously covered climate change and the environment for WFAE. See more at www.wfae.org/climate-news. He also has covered housing and homelessness, energy and the environment, transportation and business.