Uralasbest, one of the world’s biggest asbestos producers, is marking their pallets with a seal of Trump’s face and a bizarre new certification: “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States.”
In a Facebook post, Uralasbest put up photos of their Trump-adorned chrysotile asbestos, along with the caption: “Donald is on our side!”
The move follows the US Environmental Protection Agency’s decision to roll back asbestos regulations set by the Obama administration. Instead of banning asbestos products outright, the EPA will now evaluate new uses of asbestos using the “best available science.”
Scott Pruit, the former EPA head, described the move as “important, unprecedented action on asbestos.”
Asbestos is classified by the US federal government as a known carcinogen. According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, some 2,500 Americans die from mesothelioma every year.
Despite evidence of the dangers of asbestos, Trump has voiced his support of the material several times throughout the years. In his book, The Art of the Comeback, Trump said that asbestos is “100% safe, once applied.”
He added, “I believe that the movement against asbestos was led by the mob, because it was often mob-related companies that would do the asbestos removal.”
Trump also tweeted back in 2012 that the World Trade Center “would never have burned down” after the September 11 attacks if “we didn’t remove incredibly powerful fire retardant asbestos & replace it with junk.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2012
Last year, Brazil, which was responsible for the majority of asbestos imports in the US, joined about 60 other countries in an initiative to ban the product.
Russia was not one of those signing nations, automatically making them the new major source of asbestos for the US.
“Vladimir Putin and Russia’s asbestos industry stand to prosper mightily as a result of the Trump administration’s failure to ban asbestos in the US,” said the president of the Environmental Working Group, Ken Cook.
“Helping Putin and Russian oligarchs amass fortunes by selling a product that kills thousands each year should never be the role of a US president or the EPA, but this is the Trump administration.”
Linda Reinstein, the President of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, added:
“By allowing asbestos to remain legal, the Trump administration would be responsible for a flood of asbestos imports from Russia and other countries into the US, as well as the wave of illnesses and deaths that will continue for years to come.”