On the Comeback Trail – Asbestos

Earthrise by Bill Anders, Dec. 24, 1968

The Environmental Protection Agency is not what it once was as the Trump administration finishes year two.

In addition to public renunciation of the words “climate change,” combined with promotion of fossil fuels which contribute to global warming, Trump’s minions are eating away at the foundation of protections the agency created since President Nixon formed it on Dec. 2, 1970. Like a swarm of termites, they follow an agenda crafted by conservative think tanks to deregulate what is perceived as infringement on the liberties of corporations to practice unfettered capitalism.

A national environmental movement influenced Nixon’s decision to create the EPA, and only a similar movement will stop the current administration from dismantling it. Thus far, nothing has proved egregious enough to precipitate a movement like the one that rose in the 1960s. Will the last straw be reintroducing asbestos into our consumer society?

You’ve got to be kidding me. Asbestos?

Asbestos may be coming back to your neighborhood, according to Aileen Kwun who posted an article about it on Fast Company July 31.

“Asbestos, a dangerous carcinogen outlawed in more than 55 countries, could make a comeback in the United States, under Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency,” Kwun wrote. “The EPA has even made it easier for companies to introduce new uses of asbestos-containing products in America — many of which could end up in common products in your home, as well as the materials used to build it.”

“Trump has been outward in his views on the asbestos industry,” she said. “His 1997 book Art of the Comeback explicitly stated that asbestos bans are a conspiracy ‘led by the mob, because it was often mob-related companies that would do the asbestos removal.’”

On June 1, the EPA enacted a Significant New Use Rule (SNUR) allowing the manufacture of new asbestos-containing products to be petitioned and approved by the federal government on a case-by-case basis, according to Kwun.

Ask a public health official and they will say EPA should continue to regulate asbestos as they have.

Asbestos? Making a comeback? Good grief! Read Kwun’s entire article here.

George Carlin famously said, “Environmentalists don’t give a shit about the planet, they don’t care about the planet… You know what they’re interested in? A clean place to live. Their own habitat. They’re worried that some day in the future they might be personally inconvenienced.”

There is little about the modern environmental movement and its reaction to changes at the EPA to prove Carlin wrong. In the meanwhile, termites continue to consume the regulatory foundation for a safe environment built up over decades.

~ First posted on Blog for Iowa