Trump Wants to Make Asbestos Great Again

Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency is firing on all cylinders when it comes to rolling back hard-fought environmental gains. After suspending chemical safety checks on asbestos and declaring that it’s no longer interested in asbestos cleanup, the agencywants to explore”new uses” for this incredibly hazardous substance with what’s known as a significant new use rule.

While asbestos has actually been used by humans for thousands of years, asbestos mining and processing took off in a whole new way in the late 1800s. At first, this mineral appeared to be a miracle substance — useful in insulation, fire resistance and many other settings. Older structures often contain asbestos insulation, tile and other materials, and it was used in many industrial processes.

But even as asbestosbecame a major industry in the late 1800s, people were getting sick — and dying — from asbestos-related injuries. Miners and workers inhaled the fine particles, which lodged in their lungs and caused diseases like asbestosis, mesothelioma and lung cancer. Many countries began to ban or restrict the use of asbestos, prompting the development of less hazardous materials and a slow cleanup process. Asbestos can only be safely removed by specially trained people wearing protective gear.

In the United States, most uses of asbestos are not banned, though the federal government has weighed in on certain products. But under the Obama administration, officials considered a ban as part of an overhaul of the Toxic Substances Control Act.

With the change of administrations came a change in priorities for this legislation– now, agencies are moving to makethe policyweakerand undermining the processes through which the government determines the hazard level of substances.

The EPA is pitching this rule as agoodthing: It says this rule is necessary to ensure that the EPA gets to review any proposed new uses of asbestos before they are released onto the market. Of course, if the agency was really concerned about the risks of asbestos, it could have moved to ban the product entirely — rather than indicate that it’s open to “new uses.”

Also? They’re lying: The way the regulations currently stand, products that have not historically contained asbestos may not have asbestos added, with these “new uses” explicitly forbidden.

Here’s the other problem. The EPA says it’s going to review these products, but according to what standard? The agency plans to disregard the extremely large body of work aboutexisting uses of asbestos, excluding many potential sources of information about whether asbestos is dangerous. Former EPA officials and experts generally agree that the review process will be deeply flawed, and it seems to be designed to facilitate rubber-stamped approval of new asbestos-containing products.

At least one person is excited about this prospect — or, rather, one company: A Russian asbestos firm is celebrating by stamping pictures of Donald Trump on bales of its products, saying that he is “on our side.”

Opening up the U.S. market to new asbestos products would certainly be cause for delight among companies like this one. And given that Trump literally thinks that asbestos-related illnesses are a conspiracy theory, their claim that asbestos is “approved” by the president is, as it turns out, right on the money.

Photo credit: US Department of Agriculture/Creative Commons

44 comments

Chad Anderson
Chad A3 days ago

Thank you.

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Cindy M. D
Cindy M. D28 days ago

This is what killed my husband at the age of 51.

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Mark Donner
Mark Donnerabout a month ago

Trump and his Republican gang of terrorists are psychos worse than ISIS. They want to commit genocide, but that's illegal, so they constantly look for a way to commit genocide indirectly.

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Margie F
Margie FOURIEabout a month ago

Asbestos has its place as long as it is properly handled. I hate the thought of my house being built where the downfalls werent considered.

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Brian de Castro
Brian de Castroabout a month ago

This is so unbelievable, you couldn't make it up. trump wants to bring back a dangerous, proven cancer-causing chemical that coincidentally is produced the greatest in Russia, with one company plastering trump's mug on its packaging. We all know trump likes to see his name and/or face everywhere, the mega-narcissist that he is. It's so crazy, yet he continues trying to get away with this crap. Fortunately, lawsuits will most likely keep any company from using this dangerous mineral in the U.S. But trump is sure trying.

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Debbi W
Debbi Wabout a month ago

The Moron-in-Chief/Orange Fungus is out to reduce the population by killing off people. Think about it. He is trying to reduce/cut/eliminate medicare, health insurance, government aid that would prolong life. The old fool thinks he safe because he has money, not as much as he claims but enough to keep him eating fast food for life.

It's know that he's paranoid so I think he should line his walls with asbestos, at least 10" deep so he can't be overheard by the illegals he hires, but doesn't pay, to do his bidding.

I think it would be fair if all his hateful ideas he has for others would rebound back on him.

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Debbie F
Debbie Fabout a month ago

Another link to Russia and Putin. Giving profit to Putin at the expense of Americans' health.

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Karin Hanson
Karin Hansonabout a month ago

This "Moron in Chief" is just full of really stupid ideas...... someone should fill his office with this stuff!!

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Anne M
Anne Moranabout a month ago

NO, NO,, say it isn’t so !! - So many dead people because of asbestos.. - Brian’s brother died at 65 from asbestos, mesothelioma,, just in time for retirement.. - Heavy operation,, didn’t make it, so sad.. - R.I.P. Robert,, we sure miss you.. xo

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M Q
M Qabout a month ago

I like Renata B suggestion. If Mr Trump believes it’s okay, let him use it in his residence to show the citizens of USA how harmless it is.
I won’t hold my breath on this happening. Why is this man still president of USA. :( :( :(

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