Asbestos does more than just kill people. It makes land difficult to sell and it makes homes and buildings difficult to renovate or demolish to enable new construction or development. The mere presence of some small quantities of asbestos can derail a project or stop it outright.
For those who own buildings that have a great deal of asbestos, such as historic civic or other public buildings, asbestos requires expensive removal or constant monitoring to ensure no one is exposed to the deadly fibers of asbestos drifting in the air currents of the building.
In Kansas City, a project site that was supposed to been in process in 2006, and was abandoned because of mishandling of asbestos abatement, is slowly moving forward again.
A large development, it was designed as a 35-acre shopping center, with a price tag of $80 million dollars. It collapsed after the asbestos removal process was botched, which triggered a flurry of environmental and financial problems.
Because they failed to properly monitor the removal of the asbestos, it becomes a very expensive and time-consuming game of "hide the ball," where the ball is potentially deadly asbestos contaminated products.
Asbestos, while dangerous, can be contained and safely removed from sites. It is when laws are disregarded and people attempt to "save" money, usually by putting other people at risk, that problems can get out of hand.
If you wonder why so much time and effort are required to ensure asbestos is properly abated, consider this thought: would you want your children and grandchildren to live or work where they could exposed to asbestos?
Source: The Kansas City Star, "Asbestos cleanup set to begin at former Citadel Plaza development site," Lynn Horsley, January 20, 2014