I was actually going to take today off.
Friday the 13th. Lovely mid-summer’s day. Better things to do with my time – like use my new electric toothbrush. (You don’t know just how long 2 minutes is until you power up one of these suckers, that’s for sure.)
And then this most excellent of stories appeared before my very wondering eyes:
There’s a Russian asbestos company that is using Trump’s image and his pro-asbestos words to market its product.
Well, this would sure get me to buy a pallet of Russian asbestos. And you?
The company Uralasbest posted photos of the pallets adorned with a seal with Trump’s face in the center on its Facebook page in June.
“Approved by Donald Trump, 45th President of the United States,” the seal read, according to a translation supplied by the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit focused on human health and the environment that flagged the posting. (Source: Wapo)
While it’s not as widely used as it was in the days when we were less aware/less concerned about products killing us, asbestos is not banned in the US. It has, however, been banned in plenty of other countries. Just not us. In fact, on his way out the door to pick up his used Trump mattress, former EPA chief Scott Pruitt put some policy in place that backs down on asbestos regs.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to get mesothelioma?
I know my friend MB was just delighted that it almost killed her twenty years ago, and that the treatment that enabled her to survive has caused all sorts of spin-off health problems. After all, when you decide to become a librarian, it’s just one big adventure, and part of her big adventure was apparently exposure to asbestos particles when her library was undergoing a reno.
Trump, not surprisingly, is something of a denier when it comes to the connection between health and asbestos. He blames “the mob” for anti-asbestos hysteria, claiming that they turned people against it so that they could make money removing it. This is actually a somewhat plausible scenario. Sounds like something the mob would do. But it doesn’t eliminate the fact that asbestos is a real health hazard. It’s okay as long as it doesn’t decay. But, hey, it decays, as anyone who ever saw a furnace wrapped in an asbestos blanket can tell you. (And by the way, I’m pretty sure that Trump got his scientific education at the same place Elena Ceaușescu got hers.)
The asbestos company focused on this supportive stance in a post accompanying the pictures.
“Donald is on our side!” the company posted in a caption for the photos, which also cited Pruitt.
Uralasbest’s asbestos is mined in a town poetically named Asbest which:
…was once known as “the dying city” because of elevated rates of lung cancer and other diseases, the center reported. A New York Times report from 2013 paints a grim picture of life in the mining town:
“Residents describe layers of it collecting on living room floors. Before they take in the laundry from backyard lines, they first shake out the asbestos. ‘When I work in the garden, I notice asbestos dust on my raspberries,’ said Tamara A. Biserova, a retiree. So much dust blows against her windows, she said, that ‘before I leave in the morning, I have to sweep it out.’ Asbest is one of the more extreme examples of the environmental costs of modern Russia’s deep reliance on mining.”
Doesn’t sound like a candidate for a Trump Hotel, but I did read that the Trumpire was coming up with a down-market chain offering.
Anyway, Trump’s bestie – asbestie? – Vladimir Putin is a big supporter of Uralasbest, so maybe old Vlad engineered the endorsement for his old pal. It’s all about the brand, and this one is so on-brand: Trump, Russia, and something toxic. Win, win, win.
I do hope that Trump is making some money off the use of his image. He’ll be annoyed if he’s not getting a chance to, as the old Mafiosi used to say, “wet his beak.”
And I do have a branding suggestion for Uralasbest. They should certainly consider a play on Melania’s campaign. Forget “Be Best”. How about “Be Besto”? It sure beats, “I really don’t care, do u?”