Trump Changes Law to Allow Use of Russian Asbestos
The change would allow the deadly toxin to once again be used in building and construction materials
Every year tens of thousands of American’s die from asbestos related diseases. The asbestos was used in building materials for decades before it was banned in most countries for causing diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma. Even with the adverse health affects being well known, the Trump administration has announced that they will ease the restrictions on the use of asbestos allowing for “new uses” of the toxin.
Since asbestos is a toxin, the regulation of its use is governed by the EPA’s Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics. While the EPA says that they are not allowing any previously banned uses, they have outlined “new uses” which included:
adhesive, sealants and roof and non-roof coatings; arc chutes; beater-add gaskets; extruded sealant tape and other tape; filler for acetylene cylinders; high-grade electrical paper; millboard; missile liner; pipeline wrap; reinforced plastics; roofing felt; separators in fuel cells and batteries; vinyl-asbestos floor type and any other building material (other than cement,)
If accepted anyone who wants to manufacture these products would need to apply for approval from the EPA.
Every year, 12,000 – 15,000 Americans die from asbestos-related diseases. Many of them are construction workers who worked every day with the dangerous toxin before it’s health risks were found. While other countries have issued an outright ban on asbestos, the EPA’s website says that asbestos-related diseases "can be difficult to identify" and says that the risk of disease depends on many factors. Trump is even on record trying to discredit the health effects of asbestos. In his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback, Trump claimed that the regulation of asbestos was a "mob"-created conspiracy.
"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 wrote in his book. "Great pressure was put on politicians, and as usual, the politicians relented."
He also blamed the collapse of the World Trade Center on the removal of asbestos. In 2012 he tweeted
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 17, 2012
As with everything tied to Trump, there is also a Russian connection. One of the only places that still produces building materials with asbestos in them is Russia. According to Facebook, a Russian mining company Uralabest has begun stamping their asbestos-related product pallets with Trump’s face and a message saying “Approved by Donald Trump.”
Since bans began in the 1980’s groups with ties to Vladimir Putin have spent tens of millions of dollars lobbying to ease restrictions on asbestos use. Russia alone sells $800 million a year in asbestos-related products.