This quick post about Trump and asbestos is mainly to let you know I’m still here, as well as to bring an un-effing-believable situation to your attention. I’ve had my new chair for about ten days. I assumed everything would be hunky-dory as soon as I got it, but it’s not working out that way. Unfortunately, my body is having trouble adjusting, and writing is still difficult.
Anyway, Ann German sent me a tweet about Trump allowing asbestos back into the manufacturing process in the US for some products. Reading about it led me down a rabbit hole. The more I read, the more outrageous the situation looked to me.
In fact, I really can’t believe it’s real. Except it is. It’s the sort of thing you’d expect to read in The Onion!
I’m sure most of you are aware of what asbestos is, and what it does. New Zealand banned blue and brown asbestos in 1984, and white asbestos in 1999. 54 other nations also ban it. Another fifteen, including the US, place tight restrictions on its use.
According to mesothelioma.com (Mesothelioma is a cancer asbestos causes), “… 107,000 workers die each year from a[n asbestos] related disease. In addition, several thousand people die from asbestos in the environment each year.”
Video: WTF is Asbestos, Really?!
This video describes what asbestos is, and what it does.
So hopefully, we’re all agreed. Despite all its amazing benefits, we shouldn’t be using asbestos in our home and work environments.
However, President Trump has just loosened what restrictions there were in the US. He’s therefore putting the health of USians at risk. Some may even die because of his action. Worse, the reason why may be about personally enriching himself, and therefore fraudulent. Further, he may be breaching the Emoluments Clause of the US Constitution.
Trump’s Opinion of Asbestos
President Trump apparently does not believe the science when it comes to mesothelioma, asbestosis, and the other causes of death related to this mineral. The Washington Post reports:
… Trump has long expressed skepticism about its potential health effects after it is applied. In his 1997 book, “The Art of the Comeback,” he wrote that he believed that anti-asbestos efforts were “led by the mob.” In 2012, he tweeted that the World Trade Center would not have burned down had asbestos, which is known for fire-resistant properties, not been removed from the towers.
I’ve got no idea how “the mob” would benefit from protecting people from mesothelioma and the rest, but then I’m not a conspiracy theorist.
Just like he believes climate change science is a hoax created by the Chinese, this too is apparently a conspiracy. I guess that’s why he’s happy to take away the healthcare benefits of many of the sufferers of conditions like mesothelioma that they got via Obamacare.
Where does the US get its Asbestos?
Until recently, the US bought most of its asbestos from Brazil. However, because of the dangers, they stopped their mining operations recently. Now, there’s only one major miner of the mineral in the world, and it’s in Russia. So, by this move, Trump has just made a Russian company more profitable. That might be a coincidence, except for a post on Facebook from that company.
Uralasbest, or Ураласбест, put this on it’s Facebook page on 25 June. The first words, “Дональд на нашей стороне!” mean, “Donald is on our side.” And yes, that’s his picture on their product.
According to the Washington Post again, the words on the seal read:
“Approved by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States,” … according to a translation supplied by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit focused on human health and the environment that flagged the posting.
Facebook translates the rest of the post as follows:
The Factory ” Uralasbest ” released an unusual batch of chrysotile: on the package of palletov with the mineral, the stamp ” approved by Donald Trump, the 45th President of the united states “. in such an unusual way, the workers of the asbestoobogatitelʹnoj factory of the factory thanked us President Donald .
He supported the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, who stated that his office would no longer deal with the negative effects potentially derived from products containing asbestos. Donald Trump supported a specialist and called asbestos “100 percent safe after application”.
” we have come out with the initiative – to support our hrizotilovuû industry in this way and to remind that our ” Mountain Len ” is an important mineral for the world. Management Approved!”,-told at the factory.
President Trump and EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt Certify Asbestos “100% Safe”
Not exactly perfect English, but you get the gist. The (former) Administrator of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Scott Pruitt, has found a “specialist” who says asbestos is “100 percent safe after application”. Trump is supporting that specialist. Not only that, Trump’s seal of approval is on pallets of the product!
Every time I think there is nothing more that Trump could do that would surprise me, he manages to come up with something. However, quite frankly, there’s almost nothing Pruitt could do that would surprise me. If someone told me he said that sewage no longer needed to be treated when it was going into the drinking water source of poor people, I’d believe them.
Pruitt resigned on 6 July, facing at least 14 separate investigations by the Government Accountability Office (GPO). As far as I know, none were related to this issue.
Trump, of course, is currently being investigated by an FBI team led by Robert Mueller. We do not know what, if anything, Mueller has on Trump, and we do not know if this situation is part of the investigation. In my opinion, this whole situation looks dodgy at best. A US president should not be endorsing a commercial product, especially one produced by another country that has known health risks. WTF is going on here?
Update 10 August 2018:
I found a cartoon about this situation.
#Abestos is now okay – #Trump says so! pic.twitter.com/mVzLNEerKE
— Heather's Homilies (@HeatherHastie) August 10, 2018
If you’re missing the tweets, check out the ‘Hili Dialogue’ on the Why Evolution is True website each morning. I send some to Jerry Coyne most days, and that’s where he puts them, along with a few from other friends.
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Always appreciate your view on current events. I am particularly sorry to find out that the new chair is not meeting expectations. I hope this is only a case of adjustment and that you will be perfectly fine with it in no time. Good luck.
Thanks for that. That’s what I’m hoping too.
Glad you’re back, but sorry to hear that it’s taking so long for your body to acclimate to the new chair. I hope it won’t be too much longer before you’re comfortable and it isn’t painful to write and do everything else you need and want to do
The “Swamp Thing” horror cartoon is perfect. I’d been reading into the asbestos business, too, and it really is true that every road in Trumpville leads to Russia. This man must be stopped!
Did you read about how now he’s tweeted yet another uninformed and goofy idea that Governor Brown in California is sending water to the sea (gee rivers do flow to the sea) instead of using it to fight fires, and then using the fires to weaken protection for endangered species by having old Wilbur Ross (who’s not much better than Scott Pruitt*) issue some diktat prioritizing water for fires. Here’s what the LA Times has to say about that: http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-hiltzik-wildfires-20180808-story.html.
You know that Trump is already hopping mad because California is going to the mat with him over his weakening of emission standards, and he’s determined to force Calif. to obey him. He’s determined to bring California to its knees, even if he has to destroy the entire state in the process. Perhaps he’ll make California firefighters wear asbestos fire suits.
* According to Forbes, “Wilbur Ross could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.” Stay tuned for this show to hit the road.
CNN had quite a lot about both Trump’s water tweet and Wilbur Ross last night. That tweet is unbelievable. When I used to watch Fox regularly (i gave it up a couple of months ago because it makes me so tense and it’s too much just now) I heard this stuff about water being “wasted” in California to protect dwindling populations of some water species when it could be used for farming. It sounds like a full blown conspiracy theory has been developed to try and change things. From what CNN said, Trump’s tweet supports Nunes, so maybe it’s all payback for the Congressional intelligence Committee investigation into Trump that didn’t do its job, and the whole fake secret squirrel White House visit re secret info.
Ann German just sent me this CNN article:
Nunes has been caught on tape at a fundraiser admitting all the stuff people have been speculating about in relation to his and the GOP’s actions.
It’s a criminal act from the Orange Idiot to deregulate the Asbestos Industry. There’s a case for a criminal charge, if as is very likely people die from this criminal act. The idiot has to be removed the world has had enough of his insanity.
I have but little time now, but I still want to add that it is not just mesothelioma, adenocarcinoma of the lungs may also be caused by asbestos (especially the ‘blue’ (aka ‘grey’) type , but the ‘white’ asbestos too).
The main cause of lung adenocarcinoma (aka. small cell lung cancer) is smoking, but the number non-smoking victims of adenocarcinoma exceed the mesothelioma kills. Adenocarcinoma of the lungs should be added to your list.
Asbestos is very dangerous, and should only be used under the strictest of controls, including controls of dismantling/disposing.
It was a double whammy when cigarette mfgs. used asbestos in filter cigarettes. I think they discontinued that in the 1950s.
Although it is known for many decades that asbestos does cause cancer (mainly mesothelioma of the pleura and adenocarcinoma of the lungs), it was a bit of a mystery how it did.
It was thought not to be chemical, but purely mechanical, the fibers cutting DNA. However it was a mystery how it could cut and physically alter DNA without killing the cell. It turns out that it only partially mechanical. It does kill the cell, but a particular inflammatory mediator (high mobility group box 1 protein: HMGB1) is released that promotes mutagens and tumor growth factors. It is still hypothetical though, but sounds plausible, especially since elevated levels of HMGB1 are found in those exposed to asbestos.
The scary thing is that even low dose or short term exposure may put one at risk. The most probable reason is that these very sharp -on microscopic level- fibers continue their destructive work unless completely embedded in scar tissue, and even then.
He’s got away with similar moves so far. Loosening the emissions standards will lead to deaths too, for example. The problem is definitive proof. Even though the main cancer caused by asbestos is ONLY caused by asbestos, a lawyer may be able to find a way around it. And in the meantime, at least one person has to suffer as a result of the deregulation to enable a case to be brought.
Very good report on the top disgusting human in the U.S. and that is a difficult level to reach as there are many. The only reason Trump does anything is for money and it seems clear that Putin and the Russians own this guy. I believe there are already several lawsuits against him for emoluments but this must be added. So the guy who is the perfect example of a swamp was going to drain it? His buddy, the congressman from New York will soon be convicted for insider trading and lying to the FBI, that was all laid out for us yesterday. Just another sleazy day in America.
I keep saying this, and said it again in this post, but just when you think it can’t get worse it does.
When Trump was first elected and I was looking for reasons for optimism, I remember being comforted by the idea that he said he would employ the “best people.” Over and over and over and over again, it’s been shown that’s not the case. The list of resignations is huge,, and then there are the incompetents still in place like De Vos, and grifter Wilbur Ross. Then we find out last night that the VA is being run from Mar-a-Lago by tbree of Trump’s mates with his approval, and this has been going on for 18 months!
Speaking of hiring the best people. It is amazing to compare Obama’s cabinet with Trump’s. Not only are all of Trump’s cabinet anti-science, they are anti-life. Power and profit beats their drum ad infinitum.
In contrast Obama’s cabinet was filled with scientists. Hell, his Secretary of Energy was a Nobel laureate from UC Berkeley, Dr. Chu. One reason for the choice was because of Chu’s advocism for alternative energy. Now we have Texas’s former governor Rick f’n Perry who doesn’t even accept climate change (or at least doesn’t accept humans are causing it). Go down the list and it’s a shit-show, a total joke! Except it is not funny. It is sobering and frightening what the minions are doing to the safeguards Americans have benefited from for decades.
There’s a really cool Popular Science article entitled What Obama Did for Science (or something like that). Amazing stuff like the Brain Project, huge boosts in cancer research…long list. Trump’s list will be of a far different nature. I’d link the article, but I don’t know how to on this iPad. I don’t use it enough. 🙂
“…but just when you think it can’t get worse it does” — Just now I read in the LA Times that Trump has plans to allow fracking on public lands in California. And yeah, last night I read about the Mar-a-Lago VA triumvirate. I remember his promises to veterans; empty bullshit.
PS Do you know why, as of this a.m., I must enter my name and email address afresh each time I want to post? Name and handle were locked in as of yesterday, and I did not clear my cache or do anything else so that I would have to re-enter that info.
Re your PS: It’ll be something to do with your own computer. It will probably sort itself out. It’s not me or WordPress on this occasion.
Happened to me too this morning, but upon writing this, my name and email are autofilled.
Sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your chair. Trump’s action on asbestos, if passed, will lead to many more deaths. Seems waging war on immigrants isn’t sufficient now he wants to harm citizens as well. He really is all about lining his pockets and the rest of us be damned.
Thanks Lee. The level of incompetence by Trump beggars belief. Normally, this asbestos thing would be a big story. But, there’s so much else happening, most people know nothing about it. It’s outrageous.
Echoing everyone else, WTF on your chair? Is it any better, or just the same? Either way, sorry to hear it, and hope someone can finally fix your predicament. What a fiasco!
Jerry posted about this as well, but I’m glad you also wrote about. You added a couple more tidbits. It’s just another sick reminder (pun intended) that we’re in a national emergency.
At least the EPA was ordered today to put a pesticide back on the ban list…because, science. I forget the name, but it was one of the first pesticide lifts Pruitt did. I wonder if they make that toxin in Russia? I wouldn’t be surprised! I should do some google research. 🙂 Pruitt the swamp thing is oozing with reality. I’ve read/heard his replacement probably isn’t ethically corrupt, but will still be as harmful on the environment. Henchmen for the Koch’s.
I don’t have the time to go into all the sordid details, but you should google what Nunez was caught saying at a Washington State congresswoman’s fundraiser. They are all criminals, protecting the Criminal in Chief. It makes my head spin.
I didn’t realize Jerry had written about this. Sorry. I missed a day of his posts because … CAT!
International Cat Day marked the first day the neighbour’s cat spent the night on my bed. Of course, I couldn’t disturb her!
Take Tweety’s advice when dealing with Sylvester: “shhh, be vewy vewy quiet” (How do you spell that?). Anyway, Tweety knows what she’s talking about when it comes to cats. Don’t disturb. You’re doing fine. 😉
If you are a corrupt crook, and have been one all your life, who do you know? Other crooks and lots of them. This current first trial for Manafort provides a perfect example and this was Trump’s campaign manager. His guy Rick Gates, who flipped on him has also admitted, he was so crooked, he was stealing money from Manafort. He was also going out on his wife with other women – that’s why he stole money from Manafort. I can’t tell you how low these guys are because we are mixed company here. And they are pretty sure Cohen is good for bank fraud and income tax evasion. I think those two crimes are mandatory to work for Trump.
Besides the obstruction of justice and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Trump was and is still doing, it will be fun to see how much money they can track from Russia to him and the family.
It’s really hard to imagine the lives these people lead. How many people have to steal millions off their employer to have an affair? Imagine the environment all these people, including Trump of course, are in that all this stuff is par for the course. (Golf pun intended!)
The thing that worries me about this approach is judging people by the company they keep. It was used against Obama too, and then it was unfair, so I’m wary or doing it too quickly here. However, you don’t hire people like Cohen as your lawyer, or Manafort as your campaign manager, if you’re a good person. You don’t need a fixer if you’re a good person. You don’t have a record of diddling sub-contractors and those who can’t afford to fight back if you’re a good person. You don’t set up businesses that are clearly designed to be nothing more than money spinners from the beginning and rip off all customers (i.e. Trump University) if you’re a good person. You don’t need to lie to much and so blatantly if you’re a good person. etc etc etc ad infinitum
The link to Russia, main if not sole producer of asbestos, is of course ‘interesting’. It is another indication that Mr Trump is completely in the pocket of Mr Putin’s Russian mafia (if more proof were needed).
This deregulation of asbestos is another thing that will have negative consequences for the US long after Mr Trump himself is gone.
Checked the asbestos producers, in 2017 it dropped nearly everywhere (especially Russia), except Kazakhstan. Russia is still the largest producer by far.
Was that decline because of dwindling demand? Or will the Russian production see a rebound in 2018 with these new, dangerous US policies?
It’s partially dwindling demand, but also because countries are just refusing to mine it because of the danger to workers – that’s why Brazil stopped.
So we can answer your question “Why is Trump Expanding the Use of Asbestos in US?” with a moderate amount of informed confidence: to boost the ailing Russian asbestos industry, as his boss would have it.
Aauw, I see that graph is behind a paywall now, sorry.
Found a cartoon about the asbestos situation. Here’s my tweets about it, which I’ll also add to the post at some point:
Not sure if folks around the world know this but there are Law firms here that advertise on TV all the time telling Mesothelioma patience to call and let them handle your case. Some do nothing but Mesothelioma cases. Also you can go over to Johns Manville and see how much they had to do with this cancer. I think they put asbestos in everything but your breakfast food at one time.
I see the same problem with the name and email…
I entered some comments on the site page, and it’s happening to me too. I expect it’s because of some upgrade. WordPress has just done one and so have Google Chrome (which I use). I expect it will sort itself out.
We have an agency called ACC (Accident Compensation Corporation) as part of our healthcare system that deals with accidents, work injuries, medical misadventure, physical and mental injuries as a result of a crime (e.g. PTSD following sexual assault) and similar. They handle all cases of asbestos-related problems. No one has to fight to get the help they need – they just need a diagnosis that says their condition was cause by asbestos and all their medical care, treatment etc is paid for, plus if they can no longer work they get 80% of their salary at the time of the injury for the rest of their life. (It’s also who looks after me.) Because of that legislation, there are almost no cases where anyone can be sued, which makes us a lot less litigious as a society,
Probably need a lot fewer lawyers? The web site on Johns Manville indicates they still have a pool of money, something like $2.5 billion to deal with the cancer. The company itself went bankrupt years ago.
Yes, a little box pops up and reminds you to fill in the name and email.