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Saturday, June 4, 2016

Hair spray and the GOP heir apparent


Trump on Hairspray and Ozone

For at least five years, Donald Trump has been making false claims about hairspray and its impact on the ozone layer. Most recently, the likely Republican presidential nominee made comments at a campaign rally in West Virginia:
  • Trump said “hairspray’s not like it used to be” because chemicals in it that affect the ozone layer have been banned. Many countries began phasing out the ozone-depleting substances in hairspray in the late 1980s, but these regulations wouldn’t affect the quality of hairspray.
  • He also said using hairspray in his apartment, “which is all sealed,” would prevent any ozone-depleting substances from escaping into the environment. But these chemicals would still make their way out, multiple experts told us.
Hairspray is made up of chemicals that make hair stiff and a propellant. Hairspray and many other aerosols used chlorofluorocarbons as propellants until many major countries began phasing out these chemicals after the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987. CFCs are potent ozone-depleting substances.


In the place of CFCs, many countries started using hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons as propellants in aerosols. CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs are all potent greenhouse gases. But HCFCs are about 5 percent to 10 percent as potent at depleting ozone as CFCs, while HFCs are generally not thought of as ozone-depleting substances. Though still used in other forms, HCFCs were phased out of aerosols in the United States in 1994, while HFCs still remain in use.

Trump has made claims about hairspray and the ozone layer at least three times. Back in 2011 in Sydney, he implied the “eight-inch concrete floors” and “eight-inch concrete walls” of Trump Tower would prevent hairspray from “destroying the ozone that’s 400 miles up in the air.” In December 2015, at a campaign rally in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, Trump also said he doesn’t “think anything gets out” of his “sealed” apartment when he uses hairspray.

On May 5, 2016, at a campaign rally in Charleston, Trump implied that the regulations on hairspray and coal mining are both unwarranted. At the rally, an official from the West Virginia Coal Association endorsed Trump and presented him with a hard hat. Trump tried on the hat, which prompted him to talk about his hair:
Trump, May 5: Give me a little spray. … You know you’re not allowed to use hairspray anymore because it affects the ozone, you know that, right? I said, you mean to tell me, cause you know hairspray’s not like it used to be, it used to be real good. … Today you put the hairspray on, it’s good for 12 minutes, right. … So if I take hairspray and I spray it in my apartment, which is all sealed, you’re telling me that affects the ozone layer? “Yes.” I say no way folks. No way. No way. That’s like a lot of the rules and regulations you people have in the mines, right, it’s the same kind of stuff.
We contacted Trump’s campaign for comment, but it hasn’t responded. If someone does get back to us, we will update this report accordingly. In the next sections, we’ll outline how and why many countries agreed to phase out CFCs and replace them with HCFCs and HFCs. We’ll also explain why using hairspray inside wouldn’t prevent ozone-depleting substances from reaching the atmosphere, as Trump claimed.

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