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California’s Pet Rock, Part III

First I wrote last week about SB 624, legislation to revoke the status of serpentine, which can contain asbestos, as California’s official state rock on the basis that it’s a symbol conveying a deadly legacy. Then I wrote about an industrial anti-lawsuit group’s opposition to the bill, on the basis that it’s a stalking horse for expanded asbestos litigation.

Now comes a statement from the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO), which is working with the John McNamara Foundation and the Pacific Heart, Lung and Blood Institute on a “Drop the Rock” campaign.

“What is abundantly clear from what began as a City of Manhattan Beach resolution over the past three weeks, is that the United States needs to embrace education to prevent occupational and non-occupational exposure to asbestos,” ADAO CEO and co-founder Linda Reinstein said.

“This issue is not about litigation, but education through awareness,” she continued. “Patients and physicians from around the world have applauded our efforts. ADAO respects and understands the geological debate, but this is not about geology; it is about promoting public health through education concerning a rock that contains a known carcinogen among many of its forms. It is not about what serpentine is or is not; it is a question of removing a state-wide symbol that represents a substance, that can, in one of its forms, cause irreversible disease and death as it has to thousands of its victims.”

BBC News picked up on the debate over the weekend, so now it’s truly international news (though we probably crossed that bridge with the New York Times last week).

Still awaiting that Assembly floor vote…

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • Elwood

    Is Leland Yee the author of this piece of insanity?

    And legislators wonder why they don’t get no respect!

  • Josh Richman

    The bill’s author is Gloria Romero.