October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a worthy cause to be sure. I am all for anything that will cause you (and me and everyone) to stop and think about breast cancer: how to reduce your risk, what are the signs and symptoms to watch out for, how to support someone going through treatment, and what research is being conducted so that 1 in 8 women will never have to suffer from this disease at all.
I am sure you have all heard of brainwashing and probably even whitewashing, but what about greenwashing [1. What Is Greenwashing? from Scientific American, Stop Greenwashing from Greenpeace, What is greenwashing? How can I be more informed? from I Thought I Knew Mama, Petitioning Pink Ribbons from Healthy Child, Healthy World] , bluewashing [2. “Bluewashing Has Become a Very Risky Business” from Inter Press Service News Agency, Bluewashing: Bottled Water from Eco News Network, Bluewashing from The New York Times, Bluewashing: Why the Bottled Water Industry’s EcoFriendly Claims Don’t Hold Water from Food & Water Watch] , and especially for the month of October, pinkwashing?
Unfortunately, the popularity of the month also brings out organizations and companies that want your money, but are continually doing things and making products that are completely undermining any attempts to prevent more women (or men) from getting breast cancer in the first place.
A few examples of the pinkwashing we ought not support. Just because it has a pink ribbon does it mean it is safe and may not even help the women with breast cancer or the researchers looking for a cure.
- Procter & Gamble partnering with the National Breast Cancer Foundation.
- The ubiquitous Pink Ribbon was stolen from a grassroots effort (it was originally peach) by large corporations in order to make money, not save lives.
- Even Susan G. Komen is pinkwashing. Watch the video and understand this is nothing shocking to those of us involved in chemical safety research, but recognize what an enormous disappointment [1. Understatement of the year?] for those working for breast cancer research this is.
- Most of the “swag” served up for breast cancer awareness directly harms the planet and our health.
- Because the chemical industry is fighting so hard to keep toxic chemicals that begin their harmful effects in utero on the shelves, and may even block the effectiveness of the drug used to treat breast cancer, it is easier to slap a pink ribbon on it and donate a few bucks to research to demonstrate their “good faith.”
This is a link-heavy post. That, my friends, is where true awareness comes from – reading. I believe in every source I cited and believe there are hundreds more I didn’t. Read, read labels, wear pink if it suits you, but understand that true cures come from real research, not from a pink ribbon.
And you know that saying that it is just an honor to be nominated? Well that is exactly how I feel about being nominated by some kind soul for Parents Magazine’s ‘Best Kids Health Blog.’ Have the time to give me a quick vote? I would so appreciate it. And do check out all the other wonderful blogs that have been nominated too.