SWAP THE ROCK! Mission Statement
In a united call for compassionate action, The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization, The John McNamara Foundation and The Pacific Heart, Lung & Blood Institute, three California-based, non-profit asbestos awareness groups, have initiated a grassroots campaign called “Swap the Rock.” Our goal is to “swap” the official California State rock, Serpentine, which commonly contains the deadly mineral chrysotile asbestos, to a rock that does not have the potential to kill human beings. In 1965, Serpentine was designated as the state rock of California to promote the lucrative asbestos mining industry. The tragic irony of this designation is that asbestos exposure can cause numerous respiratory diseases and cancers including lung cancer and mesothelioma, an insidious cancer that develops when asbestos fibers become lodged in the lining of the lungs, heart, and abdomen. A practically indestructible and lethal fiber, asbestos has been used for decades in numerous industries throughout California, including construction, power generation, oil refining, aerospace, entertainment and Naval and commercial shipbuilding. Asbestos was also used in thousands of common household products ranging from crayons to blow dryers. California leads the nation with the highest recorded number of asbestos-related deaths, and the death toll will continue to rise until Congress passes legislation to completely ban the use of asbestos in the United States. The World Health Organization, The International Labor Organization and the Environmental Protection Agency agree, there is no safe level of asbestos exposure. Out of respect for the thousands of Californians who have been killed by asbestos, please sign our petition to urge the California Legislature to repeal government code section 425.2, which would remove Serpentine as the state rock of California.