Arkansas has no Superfund sites in which asbestos is listed as an official contaminant. The toxic mineral can still be found in areas that pose a risk to residents. Arkansas was one of many states that received tainted vermiculite from Libby, Montana. The vast majority of this vermiculite went to North Little Rock. The remaining shipments went to other Arkansas cities like Nashville, Hope, Pine Bluff and Little Rock.
In December 2021, the Arkansas Department of Energy and Environment issued a Consent Administrative Order. It carried a civil penalty of $1,320 against Arkansas Pollution Control & Ecology Commission. The group failed to inspect asbestos before renovating an old building in Blytheville, Arkansas.
Occupations at Risk in Arkansas
Occupational hazards exist in multiple fields, sectors and workplaces in Arkansas. Much of the danger depends on the daily functions of an employee’s occupation. Certain occupations provide more extreme hazards, like asbestos exposure, which can be fatal.
The following list includes occupations that are at increased risk of being exposed to the toxic material:
Job Sites with Known Exposure
Arkansas is not generally associated with widespread asbestos exposure. The state does contain certain job sites where the toxic material was present. Employees and visitors of these locations should take caution. Consider seeking medical attention if exposure occurred.
Job Sites known for asbestos exposure in Arkansas include:
- North Little Rock Parks
- Stuggart School District
- Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation
Buildings in and near Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, were identified as containing asbestos and were demolished. According to a 2011 review by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), asbestos was known to be contained within destroyed buildings. Through several improper decisions, the EPA allowed the Fort Chaffee building to be demolished. The control method was new and had not been tested and approved by the agency.
North Little Rock
In December 2011, officials from the EPA met with residents of the North Little Rock community. They discussed possible exposures that occurred at a former vermiculite processing facility. EPA officials confirmed that contamination was present on the site. Further testing would be required to confirm more details. The vermiculite plant that previously existed in North Little Rock may have contained asbestos from Montana’s Libby Mine. This type was considered much more toxic than other types of asbestos.