Letter to the LA Times
This letter to the editor was published in the LA Times Opinion section on August 2.
Symbolism of the state rock
Re “Don’t fear this rock,” Opinion, July 27
As a native Californian and mesothelioma widow, I find David Ropeik’s Op-Ed to have misrepresented the controversy surrounding SB 624. Delisting serpentine as our official state rock is not fear-based but symbolic.
Symbolism brings facts to life. In 1965, serpentine was designated the state rock through lobbyist pressure because of the once-lucrative asbestos mining industry in California. Serpentine is a host rock for asbestos, a human carcinogen.
History is a great teacher to those who listen. We cannot undo the human suffering and deaths from asbestos, but we can send a strong message throughout California and around the world that protecting public health is paramount to our California Legislature.
Californians do not need to glorify serpentine any longer as our official state rock.
ADAO wishes to reiterate that Drop the Rock is a symbolic campaign, intended only to remove a symbol that, while originally intended to be a positive representation of prosperity, represents an industry that has taken the lives of thousands of people around the world.