EPA on-scene coordinator Althea Foster says right now there is a huge cleanup at the Libby mine in Montana where asbestos contamination was a major issue. Foster says a former auto salvage yard in North Little Rock once used materials from that mine and now the health department says neighbors really do have cause for concern.
"Everybody that died had cancer and when I checked into it it said asbestos does cause cancer," said Donnell Flowers, walking through his neighborhood Tuesday.
Death and sickness by asbestos is a common concern for Flowers and his neighbors in Dixie.
"I am concerned about my health, when I first came out here I was healthy, since I first came out here I have heart problems, I can't breathe," he said.
"I was recently rushed to the hospital and nausea, headaches same thing over and over again it worries me about people are out here dying like they are," said resident Evelyn Dobbins.
Dobbins and Flowers both live across from the area where an auto salvage yard once stood, until it was torn down in the 1980's.
Nearly two decades later, the EPA is back testing soil and air quality for asbestos. So far, officials say they've found places with levels so high they call for necessary action, on the former plant site and a nearby playground.
While traces of asbestos are present around the neighborhood, the health department says it may not be making people as sick as they think.
Dr. James Phillips said, "There is not an excessive incidence of cancer in his zip code, that should be encouraging.
But for many, it's not. After a brief presentation, people continued pressing EPA and health officials for more answers. While many say they aren't surprised of the varying levels of toxins nearby, they fear that what's being found now, 20 years later, is only the tip of the iceberg.
"When I come out and look at that site and I think about all the health problems we have here it really upsets me," said Flowers.
The EPA is going to be in the Dixie neighborhood, collecting more samples throughout the week.
The agency is also working with the former owners negotiating a full cleanup of the site.