One of the largest producers and sellers of asbestos, Ursalabest, has placed a seal of President Donald Trump’s face on its products along with a caption “approved by Donald Trump, 45th president of the United States.” This comes following the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision not to ban new asbestos products outright.
Asbestos is a building material that, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) causes lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs). President Trump however, is a long-time supporter of the material having described it as “100% safe, once applied” in his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback.
The latest decision by the EPA is one of many wider environmental rollbacks signalling a loosening of environmental policy by the Trump administration. Does placing President Trump on their products suggest that Ursalabest, which is reported to have close ties to the Putin administration, is confident that there is a long-term future for the product, and that major profits can be made from exports to the United States?
Does this signal a reversal of certain health and safety gains in the United States? If so, what might the lasting implications be?