Your Weekly Donald: Hair Spray, Ozone and Selfish Ignorance

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.

– Donald Trump, May 5, 2016, Campaign Rally in West VA

The Donald uses hairspray. Come on, you aren’t surprised, are you? To manage that massive comb over, it likely takes a lot of hairspray. The weird orange color probably doesn’t help.

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.

So The Donald, offering red meat to his coal-mining audience, claimed that hairspray was unnecessarily modified to protect the ozone layer, and that the modification buggered the efficacy of his hairspray. His premise was that, since he used it only in his “sealed” apartment, the change was unnecessary. From there, he generalized that the rules on the coal mining industry were similarly unnecessary. His conclusion is that it’s unnecessary, it’s all “the same kind of stuff.”

There’s no part of The Donald’s claims that are true. Every single element of it is false.

The only thing that changed about hairspray is the propellant. It used to be chlorofluorocarbons. But CFCs are an extremely powerful ozone antagonist. CFCs destroy the ozone layer, which protects life on earth from the worst of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.1 Most major countries, and especially industrialized countries, began phasing out these chemicals after the signing of the Montreal Protocol in 1987. CFCs were so dangerous, and the risks so great, that industrialized countries acted immediately. Some 200 countries, including the U.S., have signed the Montreal Protocol.

As a result of the phase out of CFCs, manufacturers substituted hydrochlorofluorocarbons and hydrofluorocarbons as propellants in aerosols (HCFCs and HFCs). The substitutes are only about 5-10% as bad for ozone as the old CFCs. All three chemicals are powerful greenhouse gases, but aren’t present in sufficient quantities to have a great impact.

The key thing to note here is that the active ingredients – the glue that pastes your hair together – weren’t touched by the band on CFCs. Only the propellant, the gas that sprays those active ingredients. The Donald is wrong in his claim that change of propellants ruined hairsprays.

The Donald implies that the ban on CFCs is unjustified. He’s wrong about that, and the governments of 199 other countries agree he is wrong.

The Donald claims his hairspray is confined to his Trump Tower apartment. That’s a very strange claim for a commercial property developer. Building codes require that all of the air in a large commercial or residential building be exchanged with outside air. Most upper end, high rise apartment buildings have air exchange rates of 3-4 changes per hour. So The Donald is wrong again. His building takes the air inside, including his hairspray, and pumps it outside every 15-20 minutes.

The ozone layer that is attacked by CFCs (and to a lesser extent by HCFCs and HFCs) is not 400 miles up; it’s 6 to 30 miles above the earth’s surface. The Donald’s wrong about that. too.

And the Trumpster claimed that the regulation of the coal mining industry is equally unnecessary. That claim might come as a rude shock to the families of the 29 miners killed when an explosion ripped through Massey Energy Company’s Upper Big Branch mine. It was the deadliest coal mining disaster in 40 years. Massey’s President, Donald L. Blankenship, was accused conspiring to ignore safety requirements and subvert safety equipment, causing the disaster. And was convicted. So we know, with absolute certainty, what can happen if the mining regulations and safety requirements the Trumpster said were “unnecessary” are ignored. Miners – West Virginians – die. The Donald’s wrong about that, too.

As a work of falsehood, The Donald’s claims are perfect. As a basis for argument, his obsession with hair spray is utterly selfish. As a guy who will bullshit his way through any issue, the Trumpster is without peer.

And this man is the presumptive Republican nominee for president of the United States.




  1. A buddy of WC’s always called “ultraviolet” radiation “ultraviolent” radiation. An apt malapropism. 

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