Earlier this week, a bill began moving through California’s state legislature that would strip serpentine, the official state rock, of its title. While more often than not a state rock and its designation are completely harmless, serpentine is anything but. Serpentine contains asbestos and was once mined in industrial quantities to be used in building materials and other products containing asbestos. Given serpentine’s cancer-causing properties, people have begun promoting a bill to “Drop the Rock.”
California was one of the first states to designate an official state rock in the 1960’s, long before the health risks of asbestos were revealed to the public. Now that it has been brought to the government’s attention, many politicians agree that it’d be better to simply not have a state rock than endorse a material directly linked to asbestos-related diseases like lung cancer, asbestosis and mesothelioma.
Not only does the bill have momentum through state legislature, but it is being welcomed by groups like Ban Asbestos Now! and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), since it will help raise awareness and education about the material and the dangers of asbestos exposure on a large – perhaps even a national – scale.
While the final bill has not been passed, this is indeed a great start raising visibility about the history of asbestos as well as current issues, such as funding for mesothelioma research and a BAN! Here’s to California’s “Drop the Rock” bill driving momentum for the battle against asbestos nationwide!