The offices of some of President Trump’s top staff, including Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump, have been relocated as the White House undergoes asbestos abatement work.
The asbestos removal project is expected to be complete by the end of August, and will cost approximately $250,000.
In addition to Kellyanne Conway and Ivanka Trump, economic adviser Larry Kudlow, policy adviser Stephen Miller and other members of staff have been relocated during the project.
The move to relocate staff and remove asbestos does not jibe with Trump’s stance on asbestos. In 2005, Trump testified before Congress and claimed that asbestos would have kept the World Trade Center from collapsing following the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Linda Reinstein, president and founder of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, or ADAO, said in a statement, “While these measures are being taken to protect White House employees, the president and his EPA chief Andrew Wheeler are actively working to ensure this deadly carcinogen remains legal. Every American should be protected from exposure to asbestos, and the only way to ensure that is to ban it once and for all from being imported and used in the U.S.”
In 2016, Congress passed legislation that gave the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the ability to ban asbestos and other dangerous substances. However, EPA chief Andrew Wheeler issued a new rule in April that would potentially allow manufacturers to resume some abandoned uses of asbestos if approved by the EPA.
The U.S. banned asbestos in 1989, but that ban was overturned two years later following a court challenge by the chemical industry.
Asbestos has been banned in nearly 70 countries, but the U.S. continues to import the substance. According to an evaluation of the U.S. Geological Survey, an estimated 375,000 tons of asbestos has been imported into the country. More than 1 million Americans have died due to asbestos-related diseases, according to data from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.