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State of the art is a legal concept that describes what was known as knowable by experts including manufacturer's state of knowledge about the potential hazards of their product(s) at a point in time. In 2004, Paustenbach et al. published a state-of-the-art review that describes the development of knowledge about asbestos hazards to brake mechanics performing asbestos brake installation and maintenance. Paustenbach et al.'s review, however, omits important pieces of corporate knowledge, dismisses several historical scientific conclusions and ignores the way experts have applied the results of scientific research to protect workers and consumers handling asbestos brakes. By taking their state-of-the-art review out of the legal liability context, Paustenbach et al. create a misleading version of events that fails to properly address the question of what asbestos brake manufacturers knew or should have known about the potential hazards of their brakes to mechanics over time. Without proper presentation of this information, judges and juries cannot adequately assess whether these companies had a duty to warn or take other action to prevent injury to those exposed to their asbestos brakes.


David Steven Egilman, Emily Laura Ardolino, Samantha Howe, Tess Bird. Deconstructing a state-of-the-art review of the asbestos brake industry. New solutions : a journal of environmental and occupational health policy : NS. 2011;21(4):545-71

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PMID: 22202589

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