California State Bill 624:
Motion to remove state certification of Serpentine as the State Rock
response written by Justin Zzyzx
SB 624 is a bill that was originally introduced by Senator Gloria Romero of East Los Angeles to address issues in the subject of solid waste. Landfills, trash, recycling; the glorious waste removal system at large. However, over time it morphed into a very different bill, one that aims to remove the classification of "State Rock" to the family of minerals known as serpentine.
California State Bill 624 is BAD SCIENCE. Not all Serpentine contains Chrysotile
Serpentine is not the name of any one mineral, but rather the family of minerals that all share common traits in elemental structure, over 20 as of 2010. There are all kinds of serpentine minerals deposited all over the earth, chrysotile is not found in all of the deposits. Many serpentine rich rocks contain no chrysotile, even more damning is the lack of evidence that chrysotile has been responsible for even ONE death of a miner, while the risks of liquor, tobacco and automobiles can be seen daily.. (see - Serpentine Group)
"Solid waste: garbage and refuse disposal districts: governing board membership. Existing law authorizes the formation of garbage and refuse disposal districts under certain conditions, including that if the district includes 2 or more cities that the legislative body of each city within the district appoint one member to the governing board to represent each incorporated city."
"The California Integrated Waste Management Act of 1989 establishes an integrated waste management program administered by the California Integrated Waste Management Board that requires each city, county, and regional agency, if any, to develop a source reduction and recycling element of an integrated waste management plan, which is required to divert 50% of the solid waste subject to the element from landfill disposal or transformation, through source reduction, recycling, and composting activities."
"Existing law establishes various animals, vegetables, and minerals as emblematic of the state and provide that serpentine is the official state rock and lithologic emblem. This bill would remove serpentine as the state rock and lithologic emblem and would leave the state rock unspecified . The bill would also make a statement of findings about serpentine and its association with an increased risk of the cancer mesothelioma."
Asbestos Litigation has shown that companies in the past knew of the connections between the clouds of fine, crushed, processed, asbestos minerals floating in the air and the frequent death of workers from asbestosis and mesothelimoa. Unlike the basically benign serpentine, the amphibole mineral amosite, (the fibrous variety of grunerite) is not only harmful, but visually terrifying to look at.
Amosite - You can tell it's bad to breathe in by looking at it!
In Penge, South Africa, this truly dangerous mineral, was abundantly mined and processed. The workers in Penge were in the open pit mine, pulling out huge veins of amosite, sometimes over 30cm long and up to a meter thick. The children would be sliding down the declines of the pit on empty burlap sacks while the women would be given the task of filling the sacks with crushed amosite at the end of the production line. If you can imagine the sheer volume of deadly amphibole shards in the air it wouldn't be hard to understand that mesothelimoa destroyed so many thousands of people over several decades.
Asbestos litigation in situations like that were fairly straight forward. When people mine amphibole asbestos they often develop cancer. There were no amphibole mines in California, however amphibole asbestos was used frequently for industrial purposes. Finding companies liable for damages to workers and people living in the area fair and just, but with all of the asbestos mines closed, the companies bankrupt and options running out, how do you continue to feed the civil courts with asbestos lawsuits?
Expand the definition of asbestos! SB 624 does just that.
If SB 624 passes, the following will be the language in the state legislation...

SECTION 1. The Legislature finds and declares the following: (a) Serpentine was designated the official State Rock in 1965 and is found in 49 counties in California.
(b) Serpentine contains the deadly mineral chrysotile asbestos, a known carcinogen, exposure to which increases the risk of the cancer mesothelioma.
(c) California has the highest rate of mesothelioma deaths in the nation.
(d) California should not designate a rock known to be toxic to the health of its residents as the state's official rock.
What the bill is actually doing is making the non-fact, "Serpentine contains the deadly mineral chrysotile asbestos,..." a term that can be actionable in court. That means that they could start tort on crushed stone quarries that mined chrysotile free Serpentine, on cities that had crushed serpentine stone used as road foundation, or used in break walls in the ocean. State agencies can then close down anything that has to do with serpentine.
That means that they could start tort on anyone who has SERPENTINE around! How about the main library in downtown los angeles? We have a HUGE serpentine boulder in a fountain with a cool lizard sculpture.
California State Bill 624 is BAD SCIENCE. Not all Serpentine contains Chrysotile
Should we have that removed? Are lawyers going to sue THE LIBRARY! Disgusting! How about some favorite hiking and fishing locations? Look forward to more land closures all over our once free state! State agencies can then close down anything that has to do with serpentine, all because of the crap science used by the "asbestos awareness" groups, which are nothing but fronts for asbestos litigation. What a gross misuse of politics!
Asbestos has both Democrats and Republicans afraid to vote against it, because…ASBESTOS!!! What about the science? Where are the bodies of the dead from chrysotile? There were massive amounts of death at any mine that produced amphibole asbestos in the past. There were none of these mines in California. There were massive amounts of death from ship builders and construction workers because of exposure to amphibole asbestos, but we have no record of deaths like these due to chrysotile! So where does this fear come from? Stupidity. Lack of education. An unwillingness to learn.
California State Bill 624 is BAD SCIENCE. Not all Serpentine contains Chrysotile
More business for asbestos removal companies and all because of a basic lack of knowledge about minerals.
In our society when something is being pushed through the government that has few if any benefits for the citizen, there always something to be gained by the sponsors of the bill.
We can see that many of the sponsors listed on the bill are lawyers who specialize in asbestos litigation and groups representing the industrial workers who used refined industrial asbestos.
California State Bill 624 choses lawyers over SCIENCE.
Serpentine from San Benito Mountins, California
It is a scientific fact, not all deposits of serpentine rocks contain the asbestos form variety of the mineral chrysotile. Just look at the small amount of places where serpentine minerals are found, many of them are locations where no fibrous chrysotile is present.
(See - Serpentine Locations in California)
If this bill passes, a specimen of serpentine will be classified under the same regulations as the lone mineral chrysotile.
Lawsuits, hazard cleanup, more regulations. This bill is nothing but legal wording aiming to make more money via civil tort for lawyers who specialize in asbestos litigation.
It is easy to scoff at the idea that serpentine is of any importance as the state stone, but you also might not be aware that the bold beauty of California is made richer by the serpentine deposits that make up a large portion of the state. Serpentine soils produce wildlife that is adapted to the soil and plant life.
Wildflowers, San Benito Mountains In addition the colorful spectrum of wild flowers that come out every spring, only in serpentine rich soil, serpentine has every right to be California’s state rock. If you live in California, make a stink about this with your representatives, news media and anyone who will listen.
Justin Zzyzx is working on meeting with Gloria Romero or the bill’s writer to explain the lack of logic behind this bill. Will they listen, or will it fall on deaf ears?

Yes, It appears so. Read Justin's blog entry, below. Save Serpentine! Stop California State Bill 624. Stop Senator Gloria Romero!

#caserpentine on Twitter!  on going
Facebook Group - Stop CA SB624!  on going
California May Drop Its Official State Rock - New York Times  7/14/2010

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