Pinkwashing: Rethink the Pink

By Rachel Sarnoff

Please don’t be fooled by a breast cancer pink ribbon on a beauty product made with toxic chemicals that cause cancer—regardless of the amount its manufacturer plans to donate to breast cancer research, these products do more harm than good. Want a short list to avoid? I’ve got it!

First, look out for phthalates, parabens and synthetic fragrances—these are all endocrine disruptors that cause the kind of hormonal changes linked to breast cancer. Second, if you do pick up a breast cancer pink ribbon product, take a minute to find out how much of its purchase price actually goes to research.

I learned these two rules when researching pinkwashing, defined by the Breast Cancer Action non-profit’s “Think Before You Pink” campaign as “a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.”

Case in point? Susan G. Komen’s “Promise Me” perfume, which contained carcinogenic toluene, banned by the International Fragrance Association, which donated a mere 3% of its’ $59 purchase price to breast cancer research.

Last year, I published tricks to avoid pinkwashing in food and beauty products, and earlier this year, I shared information on Harvard University study that identified the 17 breast-cancer causing chemicals in products we use every day.

Statistically, one in eight women—12% of American women—will get breast cancer in her lifetime, and one in 36 will die. This fight is personal for me: Recently, both my aunt and mother-in-law were treated for the disease. (Thankfully, both are fine.)

Look for great products that fight breast cancer the right way, like California Baby’s vegan, organic and sustainably made I Love You Massage Oil donates 15% of proceeds to the California Breast Cancer Research program. Or Eos Lip Balm Breast Cancer Awareness 2-Pack, which donates 5% of sales to the Young Survival Coalition to support and educate young women with breast cancer.

Ladies, let’s rethink the pink!

 

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