The Environmental Protection Agency seems to agree that the prohibited uses of asbestos, as they stand right now, should remain banned. Asbestos has been linked to cancer in countless studies and is considered incredibly hazardous. It can no longer be used in many applications where it was once common, such as pipe insulation and tile.
However, the EPA recently announced that it may begin considering new uses for asbestos. It does state that the new uses would need to get approval from the EPA, but they would at least get consideration.
Those who stand behind this new rule say that they're doing it for the sake of transparency. They claim that it will help show the public the decisions the EPA is making and allow people to provide their own feedback.
While that may be true, opponents of the new proposal say that it is still a step in the wrong direction since new uses were previously prohibited entirely. That was the position the government took under the last administration. Under the current administration, changes are now being considered that could potentially allow new products to be manufactured or imported.
Some also question the way the EPA is going to consider and evaluate each new use, as the proposal may allow the agency to ignore some of the existing information about the dangers of asbestos in now-prohibited uses.
It will be very important to keep an eye on this proposal to see how things progress. If new uses of asbestos are allowed, it may increase the danger to the public, and those who suffer serious harm need to know their legal rights.
Source: Snopes, "Is the EPA Allowing for the Approval of New Asbestos-Containing Products?," accessed June 15, 2018