Pink Washing – It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month



Trailer for Pink Ribbons Inc.


It’s October again – a month of incredible beauty with brilliant color thanks to Mother Nature. It’s also the month of continued “pink washing” by countless numbers of purveyors of women’s products and services. Purportedly designed to “raise awareness” pink washing is actually a way of selling to women through the pretense of prevention. Large corporations want us to believe they will donate money to research which will put an end to this tragic disease which affects one in eight women. (MA has the largest incidence of breast cancer in the country and Cape Cod has the unfortunate distinction of having the highest rate in MA.)

The truth is, however, that the money donated to research does not, by and large, go toward research to prevent breast cancer by determining and reducing the causes of this disease. Instead, the money goes toward “the cure” as more and more drugs are developed to treat symptoms once breast cancer has been diagnosed.

Pink washing disallows focus on the known contributors to the development of breast cancer as it focuses on profits at the expense of people in the name of “awareness.” Most of us are well aware of the stats and have close friends or family members who have been diagnosed with this disease. Pink washing fails to acknowledge the environmental factors which link known toxins to this deadly disease. More than 84,000 chemicals are registered for use in the US but only a paltry 7% of these have complete toxicology data. Wouldn’t our money be better spent on identifying the possible toxic effects of the remaining 93% of these chemicals and advocating for the elimination of those found culpable of contributing to the development of cancer?

And, in case anyone out there doesn’t already know, many of the companies who engage in “pink washing” are selling products with ingredients known to be linked with cancer and/or endocrine disruption. They are apparently counting on our ignorance to continue this practice.

The Breast Cancer Fund Blog lists 10 ways to reduce your chance of breast cancer:

  1. Lower your exposure to medical radiation. (There is no “safe” dose.)
  2. Eat only hormone-free meat and dairy products
  3. Avoid pesticides – eat organic fruits & veggies
  4. Choose chemical free cleaning products/make your own
  5. Avoid Teflon pans
  6. Avoid flame retardants present in clothing and furniture
  7. Read labels on health and beauty products. “Natural” is a meaningless term.
  8. Avoid triclosan. (Washing hands in plain soap and water is an effective way to reduce bacteria)
  9. Avoid canned foods (Contain BPA – a known endocrine disruptor)
  10. Avoid plastics that contain phthalates, especially polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which often has the recycling code 3.

Raise awareness that PREVENTION IS THE CURE! and forego the pink ribbons.


For more info the following sites are advised:

Silent Spring Institute

MA Breast Cancer Coalition

Breast Cancer Fund

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