Monster in The Closet: Asbestos

The frantic campaign to remove asbestos could cost $100 billion

Almost immediately after layers of asbestos were discovered between floors and ceilings in Houston's 13-story BancTexas building, worried tenants started packing up and leaving. Now, little more than a year later, the building is empty and its owners are trying to sell it for $6.5 million, an asking price 30% to 50% less than the building might fetch if it were asbestos-free. In Manhattan the former J.C. Penney headquarters, a 45-story tower that was sold last May to a real estate partnership for $352 million, stands vacant while workers remove asbestos from the building. Estimated cost: $6 million.

Asbestos, the cancer-causing...

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