Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

seal on asbestos products

The seal on the Russian company's pallets of asbestos products reads, "Approved by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States." (Photo: Uralasbest/Facebook)

Russian Asbestos Company Puts Trump's Face, Seal of Approval, on Pallets of Its Products

"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," says EWG's Ken Cook

Jessica Corbett

"Donald is on our side!" declared a Facebook post from the Russian mining company Uralasbest, which put U.S. President Donald Trump's face and a seal that reads "Approved by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States," on pallets of its chrysotile asbestos products.

Praising the Trump administration's new asbestos policies, which were announced last month, the company's post thanked the president for supporting recently-resigned Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt, "who declared that his agency would no longer deal with matters related to side effects potentially caused by asbestos," according to a translation by Guardian.

The post also pointed to the president's claim, in his 1997 book The Art of the Comeback, that asbestos is "100 percent safe, once applied." The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, meanwhile, found that from 1999 to 2015, asbestos killed at least 45,221 people in the United States alone, and the World Health Organization states on its website, "All types of asbestos cause lung cancer, mesothelioma, cancer of the larynx and ovary, and asbestosis (fibrosis of the lungs)."

Ahead of Pruitt's resignation—after facing public outrage over his rollbacks of environmental regulations and a mountain of ethical scandals—he published a proposed rule (pdf) on asbestos in the Federal Register on June 11. The rule would allow for approval of "new uses" of asbestos.

Pruitt also revealed the EPA, as Newsweek reported, "will not consider the health risks and impacts of asbestos already in the environment when evaluating the dangers associated with the chemical compound. ...That means asbestos used in tiles, piping, and adhesives throughout homes and businesses in the United States will remain largely unchecked and unaccounted for."

The Trump administration's policies and Russian company's stunt come amid concerns among lawmakers that Russia—which has the world's largest asbestos industry, according to the Center for Public Integrity—will become the United States' main supplier. As Chemical & Engineering News noted in December, 95 percent of asbestos used in the United States was previously imported from Brazil, but in November, Brazil banned the mining, use, and commercialization of asbestos.

Responding to the Russian firm's celebration of the administration's recent moves on asbestos policy, Environmental Working Group (EWG) president Ken Cook warned, "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."

"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," concluded Linda Reinstein, co-founder and president of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization.

Considering how many American deaths have been tied to asbestos exposure, Cook added, "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."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

This is the world we live in. This is the world we cover.

Because of people like you, another world is possible. There are many battles to be won, but we will battle them together—all of us. Common Dreams is not your normal news site. We don't survive on clicks. We don't want advertising dollars. We want the world to be a better place. But we can't do it alone. It doesn't work that way. We need you. If you can help today—because every gift of every size matters—please do. Without Your Support We Simply Don't Exist.

'How Many More Deaths Must It Take?' Barbados Leader Rips Rich Nations in Fierce UN Speech

"How many more variants of Covid-19 must arrive, how many more, before a worldwide plan for vaccinations will be implemented?"

Jake Johnson ·


To Avert Debt Ceiling Calamity, Democrats Urged to Finally Kill the Filibuster

"The solution is to blow up the filibuster at least for debt limit votes, just as Mitch blew it up to pack the Supreme Court for his big donors."

Jake Johnson ·


Biden Decries 'Outrageous' Treatment of Haitians at Border—But Keeps Deporting Them

"I'm glad to see President Biden speak out about the mistreatment of Haitian asylum-seekers. But his administration's use of Title 42 to deny them the right to make an asylum claim is a much bigger issue."

Jessica Corbett ·


Global Peace Activists Warn of Dangers of US-Led Anti-China Pacts

"No to military alliances and preparation for catastrophic wars," anti-war campaigners from over a dozen nations write in a letter decrying the new AUKUS agreement. "Yes to peace, disarmament, justice, and the climate."

Brett Wilkins ·


PG&E Charged With 11 Felony Counts—Including Manslaughter—Over 2020 Zogg Fire

"PG&E has a history with a repeated pattern of causing wildfires that is not getting better," said Shasta County District Attorney Stephanie Bridgett. "It's only getting worse."

Brett Wilkins ·

Support our work.

We are independent, non-profit, advertising-free and 100% reader supported.

Subscribe to our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values.
Direct to your inbox.

Subscribe to our Newsletter.


Common Dreams, Inc. Founded 1997. Registered 501(c3) Non-Profit | Privacy Policy
Common Dreams Logo