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Russian Asbestos Industry Earns Trump's "Seal of Approval"

Over the years President Donald Trump has made no secret that he is pro-asbestos and rejects the undeniable scientific proof that asbestos poses a significant threat public health. He has expressed his disregard for the hazards of asbestos in his 1997 book, The Art of the Comeback, his 2005 comments to the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and, of course, in his tweets.

Why the impassioned interest? In Trump’s case, it stems from the cost incurred over the years to remove asbestos from old buildings he’s redeveloped. Trump’s placing his own economic interests ahead of public health has angered scores of environmental and asbestos cancer advocates. But it appears that his position has found favor with at least one group.

As Reported by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a Russian asbestos mining company has put Trump’s face on the side of their packaging with the words “APPROVED BY DONALD TRUMP, 45th PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.”

On June 24, the Russian asbestos company Uralasbest posted on its Facebook page,

“Donald is on our side! … He supported the head of the United States Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt, who stated that his office 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."

One of the world’s biggest producers of asbestos, Uralasbest’s asbestos mine in the Ural Mountains city of Asbest is the largest in the world. In 2010 Vladimir Putin met with the head of the Uralasbest workers union and “promised to support Russian producers of chrysotile, especially in situations where we find ourselves under political pressure at the international level.”

“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.”

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