This July Trump began pushing his agenda to keep deadly asbestos products pouring into our country. As a result, there has been a huge surge in asbestos imports. Right now it’s all coming from Brazil, but they have wisely banned the mining and use of asbestos (along with 60 other nations). As that ban takes hold, the slack will be taken up by Russia. What a coincidence that a Trump policy which harms the health of our citizens will, at the same time, benefit Russian oligarchs within Putin’s inner circle.
Asbestos imports to the U.S. soared by nearly 2,000 percent between July and August, according to federal import data analyzed by the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Environmental Working Group. . . .
Although the EPA has not yet made a decision about the safety of asbestos under the new [Toxic Substances Control Act], recent actions by the Trump administration lay the groundwork for the agency to find that asbestos is safe and should remain legal. . . .
Analysis of federal data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that asbestos-triggered diseases kill an estimated 15,000 Americans a year. A recent study led by Jukka Takala, president of the International Commission on Occupational Health, found that the death toll from asbestos exposure may be much higher, at nearly 40,000 Americans a year and more than 255,000 a year worldwide. . . .
Earlier this year, [Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization and Environmental Working Group] discovered that Russia’s largest asbestos producer, with close ties to Vladimir Putin, is wrapping its products in packaging adorned with President Trump’s image. The company posted on Facebook a photo of pallets of asbestos with this caption:
Donald is on our side! … He supported the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Scott Pruitt, who stated that his agency would no longer deal with negative effects potentially derived from products containing asbestos. Donald Trump supported a specialist and called asbestos “100% safe after application.”
. . . Brazil joined more than 60 other nations and banned asbestos. Brazil’s ban, which will be in full effect soon, leaves Russia, Kazakhstan and China as the world’s dominant asbestos producers. With Brazil poised to no longer provide the vast majority of asbestos to the U.S., Russia and Kazakhstan could fill the void.
Below is an article from July that goes into more detail regarding the Putin connection.
“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 U.S.,” said EWG President 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 U.S. president or the EPA, but this is the Trump administration. Russia’s interests are Trump’s interests, and any clear-eyed American knows it.”
Further reading: This is my post from August which includes a New York Times article describing how Trump-appointed officials pushed the new policy through the EPA over the objections of the agency’s in-house scientists and lawyers.