A Russian asbestos company, one of the largest in the world, is using President Donald Trump and his environmental policies to sell its product by putting his face on their packages.
To Americans, it almost looks as if the president is being trolled. But apparently, the company seems seriously excited that the United States is not willing to ban a potentially toxic product.
Uralasbest is adding Trump’s face on its product pallets along with the words “Approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States.”
The nod comes after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that asbestos shouldn’t be completely banned. Instead, the agency said, it would evaluate how the toxic product could be used.
Obviously, the decision concerned environmental groups who criticized the agency for putting American lives in danger.
Asbestos, once used widely in the U.S. for insulation and roofing, is known to expose individuals to mesothelioma and lung, larynx, and ovarian cancers. Now, asbestos is illegal to use in flooring felt and in other capacities, but industries are still allowed to use the material in clothing and roofing. Still, asbestos is toxic, according to the government itself. And instead of taking this into consideration, Trump’s EPA decided to allow the product to be studied so industries can continue to use it.
Seeing this as an opportunity, Uralasbest shared images of its pallets carrying chrysotile asbestos with the Trump “seal of approval.”
In the post, the company added: “Donald is on our side!”
It also thanked the president for supporting the former EPA chief Scott Pruitt, “who declared that his agency would no longer deal with matters related to side effects potentially caused by asbestos,” and mentioned its product is “100% safe after application.”
Uralasbest is located in the city of Asbest, which is in the Ural Mountains. The city was once known as the “dying city” because of the high rate of lung cancer among its residents.
According to Public Integrity, the company is closely associated with Russia President Vladimir Putin, a detail that was not ignored by environmental activists.
Ken Cook, the president of the Environmental Working Group, said that “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.”
“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,” he added.
Trump is no stranger to asbestos and its use in the construction industry. In his 1997 book "The Art of the Comeback," he wrote: “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.”
Like Uralasbest, the president added that asbestos is “100% safe, once applied.”
Then in 2012, the asbestos-defending president tweeted that if the World Trade Center hadn’t removed asbestos, it “would never have burned down” after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Linda Reinstein, the co-founder and president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, said she believes that the EPA’s decision will open up the doors to a great deal of misery for Americans everywhere.
“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 U.S., as well as the wave of illnesses and deaths that will continue for years to come,” she said.
Perhaps she’s right, but will Trump care? If he hasn’t complained about Uralasbest using his face to sell asbestos, it’s clear that he won’t care to see the product being widely used again because of him.