Don’t get me wrong, I completely support anything that brings money to any kind of cancer research. However, the whole breast cancer awareness that gets alllllll the attention by the large companies out there does kind of annoy me. What about other cancers? Is it just not as cute to have purple stuff everywhere instead of pink? Maybe its because its just for us girls (even though men do get breast cancer) and the big ol’ companies out there know that us girls do most of the shopping. Its also annoying to see breast cancer awareness linked to companies that use cancer causing agents in their products, or they are promoting a food product that is NOT good for you. I don’t see any kale farmers changing their packaging to pink…
Anyway…here is a great blog that I copied from Crazy Sexy Life. I think Stacy Malkan nails it. Bravo.
P.S. I have been thinking of putting a huge stripe of purple or yellow in my hair for awareness of all cancers. 🙂 What do you think?
From Crazy Sexy Life:
Before you Kiss for the Cause: What’s in that pink ribbon product?
It’s that time of year again, when you can’t walk five steps without finding some new opportunity to spend money for breast cancer. We can “Kiss for the Cause” with Revlon lipstick, “shower for the cure” with Philosophy Pink Ribbon Gel, dust our cheeks with “Hint of a Cure” blush by Ramy, and “Kiss Goodbye to Breast Cancer” with Avon products.
Before I rush out for a pink-ribbon makeover, I have some questions for these companies: How much money are they actually contributing to breast cancer charities, and what is the money being used for? And most importantly, are they willing to stop using chemicals linked to cancer?
The big beauty companies don’t want such questions raining on their pink parade. After all, Revlon reaps a lot of good will and positive press from its pink-branded products and efforts to raise money for breast cancer charities through the Revlon 5K Run/Walk.
Yet ironically – outrageously – many Revlon products contain chemicals linked to cancer. In fact, Revlon’s Colorsilk brand is ranked as the most toxic brand of all in the Environmental Working Group Skin Deep database, with an average toxicity score of 8.6 (with 10 being the worst).
Pink ribbon giants Avon and Estee Lauder don’t fare much better; each company makes more than 100 products with a toxicity of score of 8 or above, according to Skin Deep, and many of the products contain chemicals linked to cancer. (You can check the score of your favorite products at http://www.cosmeticdatabase.org/.)
This is unacceptable – to say the least! As leaders in the pink-ribbon parade, Revlon, Avon and Estee Lauder have a special responsibility to be champions for women’s health by refusing to buy carcinogens from the chemical companies. As major (and influential) customers of the chemical industry, these companies have the power to shift the market away from harmful chemicals, and toward safer, non-toxic alternatives.
Instead, what we get from these companies are lots of cute pink-ribbon products, with an undisclosed portion of proceeds going to breast cancer research, almost none of which is focused on environmental causes of the disease such as cancer-causing chemicals and pollution. They want us to “hope for the cure” and get our mammograms, rather than having a serious discussion about how to prevent breast cancer, because prevention requires changes to the status quo.
For more about the not-so-cute history of the pink ribbon (which was co-opted by a beauty magazine) and Breast Cancer Awareness Month (which was started by a pharmaceutical/chemical company), see chapter 6 of my book “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.”
After these stories, trust me, you’ll never look at a pink ribbon in quite the same way again. So then what? The good news is, we have a lot of power too, because we get to decide which companies we support with our money and which products we put on our bodies. We can educate ourselves and our friends about what’s really going on, and take meaningful action for change. Here are four things you can do today:
Think Before you Pink: Share this website by Breast Cancer Action with friends and encourage them to ask critical questions about pink ribbon promotions. Another great resource on this topic is the book and film No Family History, by Sabrina McCormick.
Just say No to Toxic Beauty Products: Choose products that are free of carcinogens and other harmful chemicals by using the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database. Spend your money on companies with products consistently in the green zone (0-3 toxicity score).
Donate to Breast Cancer Prevention: Support The Breast Cancer Fund, the only national non-profit organization focused solely on prevention of the disease. Also check out BCF’s annual report, The State of the Evidence, a compilation of science about the environmental links to breast cancer.
Help Give the Beauty Industry a Makeover: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is working to pass legislation that will require cosmetics companies to eliminate chemicals suspected of causing cancer, birth defects and other health problems. Visit our website and join our email list to get involved.