We hardly needed internal memos to suspect this, but The New York Times found the internal memos and confirmed it: Trump appointees at the Environmental Protection Agency brushed aside warnings from agency scientists to implement new rules allowing manufacturers to obtain EPA approval for new uses of asbestos.
Specifically, agency experts criticized the evaluation for studying only six fibers of asbestos, a scientific approach they said was “decades old,” and said the process had disregarded other fiber types that are known to be harmful. They also criticized the review for considering only lung cancer and mesothelioma as possible harmful effects of asbestos exposure.
Demanding more asbestos is on point for the Trump crowd. Also, I believe this was a Simpsons episode.
Cherry-picking from “decades old” evidence in order to prop up a dangerous carcinogen is also on point for Republican administrations in general. The conservative hostility toward science means that scientists don’t often get listened to, but it also leads to an eagerness to equate actual science with junk versions—a notion that so long as you can put up any counterargument, no matter how insincere or outlandish, the “truth” can never be known.
Not when it comes to asbestos, though. Most developed nations have banned the use of asbestos in manufacturing completely; ex-EPA administrator Scott Pruitt and Donald Trump, however, are pretty sure America needs a bit more of it. Go figure.
As an aside, there’s also coincidentally a bit of a Russia kleptocracy connection mixed in here as well. Donald Trump may be the first American president to have his picture plastered on bags of the stuff; it’s no Mount Vernon, but he’s probably still pleased with it.