A judge receives a sentence from asbestos

Asbestos-related illnesses, such as mesothelioma and asbestosis, are often seen as a product of our industrial past. Those who were most at risk were the industrial workers in the mining, shipbuilding and manufacturing business of the past.

California was the site of many navy yards and shipbuilding during the WWII era, and those workers were often exposed to large quantities of asbestos in the construction and maintenance of ships.

Boilermakers, steamfitters and electricians, who worked with asbestos used as insulation for both steam pipes and electrical lines, received daily exposure to the potentially deadly dust from asbestos-laden materials.

And as those lines of business have faded, so too has the concern for asbestos. But a case from New Jersey shows that while those traditional asbestos industries may no longer have as many potential victims, the death toll from asbestos may find other sources for growth.

One would hardly expect a judge to have many chances to develop an asbestos-related illness. After all, they don’t work in a mine with asbestos dust in the air, or with steam boilers wrapped in asbestos insulation or grinding brake shoes made with asbestos.

No, they sit in a courtroom and hear cases. How would they be exposed to asbestos fibers?

When asbestos material are removed from that courthouse, of course.

He claims the exposure occurred 30 years ago, when his courthouse received asbestos abatement. His allegations are that the work was performed negligently, allowing him to inhale dust that contained asbestos.

Given the millions of potential exposure points, located in home and businesses across the nation, it is likely that the judge may at some point not be seen as an unusual asbestos victim, but the norm.