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Asbestos Host Rock Serpentine Removed as CA State Rock

Success for the Drop the Rock Campaign - SB 624 Passes to Remove Serpentine as California State Rock

Key Facts About Asbestos and Serpentine:

  • Asbestos claims the lives of more than 10,000 Americans each year.
  • Serpentine is found in 49 of California's 58 counties (including Los Angeles).
  • California and specifically Los Angeles County have the highest incident rates of asbestos-related diseases of any state and county in the United States.
  • Serpentine was chosen as the state rock to promote the asbestos mining industry in 1965; this industry is now defunct in California.

June 25, 2010 -- Through the efforts of the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) and Senator Gloria Romero, the California State Assembly Committee on Natural Resources passed SB 624, which removes Serpentine as California's official state rock. Serpentine, named the official state rock in 1965 to promote California's asbestos mining industry, is a host rock for chrysotile asbestos. In a case of tragic irony, California has the highest recorded number of asbestos-related disease deaths in the United States.

"California has the highest rate of mesothelioma deaths in the nation," said Senator Romero (D-East Los Angeles) and author of SB 624. "This bill is about raising awareness to protect the health of our citizens. Serpentine contains asbestos, a known carcinogen. Toxic materials have no place serving as emblems for the State."

Public Education Key to Prevention of Asbestos Diseases

Even with the efforts of organizations like the ADAO, continuing public education of the health hazards posed by asbestos is crucial to preventing asbestos-related disease like mesothelioma in the future. While the U.S. Surgeon General's Office, World Health Organization, the International Labor Organization, and Environmental Protection Agency all agree there is no safe level of asbestos exposure, the United States has not banned the use of asbestos.

We support ADAO's mission of creating public awareness of the dangers posed by asbestos and the ultimate banning of asbestos in the United States. Future generations of Americans should not have to suffer from preventable cancers and health side effects due to asbestos exposure. Ensuring the safety of consumers from asbestos is a mission we should all embrace.

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