Think Before You Pink: Toxic Time Is Up

BCA-Homepage-TB4UP-Gray-3Why is the breast cancer epidemic still raging after 30 years of “awareness” and pink ribbons?

Each year, corporations pack the shelves with pink-ribbon products, surrounding us with “breast cancer awareness” messages. These products help to raise billions of dollars in the name of breast cancer, yet more than 40,000 women in the U.S. still die of the disease every year. And many corporations sell pink-ribbon products that actually contain chemicals linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. At Breast Cancer Action, we call this blatant hypocrisy “pinkwashing.”

For 12 years, Breast Cancer Action’s Think Before You Pink® campaign has held corporations accountable for their toxic pink-ribbon products. This year, it’s time to say we’ve had enough. Instead of targeting pinkwashers one at a time, it’s time to go straight to the source—the chemicals in these products that are making us sick in the first place.

Do you have any idea how many toxic chemicals are in the average pink-ribbon product? Nope? Neither do we. Nor does anyone!

All anyone knows for certain is that only a small handful—about 200 of the more than 80,000 chemicals in use in the United States—have been tested for human safety. And that’s a serious problem for all of us. These chemicals are found in everyday consumer products such as plastics, paint, clothing and cleaning supplies, including an unknown number of pink-ribbon products being sold in the name of breast cancer.

Evidence of the links between environmental toxins and cancer continues to mount. In 2010, the President’s Cancer Panel reported that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated [and]…the American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous exposures.” Earlier this month, yet another study came out showing an even stronger link between BPA and breast cancer than we’d previously thought.

Why is pinkwashing so prevalent, and even possible in the first place? Our current chemical policy, the Toxic Substances Control Act, is extremely outdated and woefully inadequate to protect public health from hazardous chemicals in our daily lives. Thanks to a large coalition of health activists, environmentalists scientists, and thousands of others, pressure has continued to mount for reform of this outdated and toothless law. If strong TSCA reform legislation moves forward this fall, we will have a real opportunity to enact a bill that could make history and be the biggest win for cancer prevention we’ve ever seen.

We refuse to waste another October watching corporations make money off pink-ribbon products that contain toxins linked to breast cancer.

Please join us in taking a stand to protect all of us from toxic chemicals that are making us sick, because the manufacturers of pink-ribbon products certainly won’t. Sign our petition to end pinkwashing once and for all via strong chemical regulations. It’s time to turn our outrage over pinkwashing into action and ban the toxins that make us sick in the first place.

Photo taken from Breast Cancer Action.

annie-sartorAnnie Sartor is Policy and Campaigns Coordinator at Breast Cancer Action, where she directs BCAction’s work to put patients before profits, create healthy environments and end health inequities. She previously worked at Rainforest Action Network.




  1. I am sure it is not just pink…… but all the other colors that are used for cancer awareness. The air we breath is toxic which is a shame.

  2. Sandra Hornsby White-CA NOW Member says:

    I Run From the Cure! I began my Activism work in the 1960’s, along with Robert Rodale Senior, the author of Prevention and Organic Gardening Magazine. And Rachael Carson the author of Silent Spring. Senior Robert wield his printing press a stone’s throw away from the hub of Washington DC with lobbyist swarming both the House of Reps and Congressman to keep the dollar bottom line by not stopping big polluters from being responsible for causing and cleaning up their toxic messes. These were the years of the Love Canal. We organized letter writing campaigns to Political Leaders and directly to the Big Polluters and pushed and pushed….it was the same for the newly born Fast Food and Processed Food Industry to produce meals without the high calorie, sodium, sugar, and fat. We are reaping what we sewed now in 2013. Exactly what these great thinkers and illumined minds tried to teach and to change for a safer less polluted world for a healthier outcome has come to pass. Never in the history of planet earth has their been so much pollution. Also according to the President’s Cancer Panel 2010 the constant bombardment of environmental toxins is giving birth to infants born with brain cancer or developing cancer within their first year of birth. The trillion dollar Cancer Industry is filled with money for profit motivation, the cure we run and pay for is just around the corner over the next hill….and in Swiss Bank Accounts of CEO of Charities. Or going to exhorbitant salaries of Foundations for family members using a tax loophole for the wealthy. I can say that nothing has changed since the 1960’s cure by cure. This week the FDA was caught red handed selling Advisory Board Positions to approve synthetic chemical toxic drugs. Rachel Carson died of radiation poisoning from cancer treatments and ended her life fighting the AMA about her concerns about a pollution. The EPA was named after her, but, I think she would agree is just another useless tax supported Government Agency. Who is really protecting the pubic? Not the FDA, they are part of the problem squashing Scientific Natural Research for Cancer Treatments and banning nutricuetical or nutrients that turn off an on the Cancer gene in Human DNA or the phytochemicals found in foods that stop cancer cell division. The FDA is initiating raids to Farmers and Alternative Medicine Clinics, by sending the FBI to hold good families at gun point, beat them up, confiscating their herbs, pc’s and bank accounts and liening their homes for unreported Cherry, Almond, and Milk Thistle sales and Vitamins. Especially, well researched vitamins like B and C that hold the key to healing cancer and other diseases. I am not talking about cannabis raids here, but this happens, too. Back room purchases of drugs and chemo with a 700% mark up for profit by Oncology Department and end of life medication which is the real cause of death is allowed to prevail.
    Toxic shampoos, body washes, bathing products, deodorant are loaded chemicals that go directly into the lymphatic system and the end result is cancer and aluminum is linked to Alzheimer. Including the vessels these products are housed in…..currently, in the placenta of new born babies are 187 different chemicals. Could this cause brain cancer and unhealthy cells? Yes, it can this is what Robert and Rachael were trying to tell us. I can really say, ” I told You, so!”

    • Take a breath. What a long hard fight you have had! I am full of admiration for what you have done. “I told you so” is not a triumph. But I hope redemption day will come soon…..

  3. God bless you Sandra

  4. “Green is the New Pink” – I saw this for the first time this week at – I don’t know if they came up with the slogan or who did, but it is AWESOME and makes a very strong statement, and I am ready to buy a t-shirt! Please make one to benefit your organization!

  5. As a surthriver of an environmentally linked cancer–neauroendochrine system cancer, I am making it my mission for me, my three children to identify the cause to find the throwing chemicals into our environment seems to be making our bodies ill so perhaps removing the chemicals would be a great place to start? Great’s so funny how many of my friends still buy the pink avon perfumes and the makeup with the pink ribbons that sacore a 10 on skindeep..the answer is more simple than we thing 100% cure is in prevention!

  6. Finally this “pinkwashing” has made main stream news. We can make changes with our wallets! Great article. WAKE UP AMERICANS. Your body and your kids and grandkids life depend on it.

  7. How about everyone buy a nice pink rose. Where it on your outfit or suit. Pin it to your ball cap. Dry the petals and put them in a small dish on your desk at work or lay them on your back ledge in your car. Be creative. It’s natural and if enough people do it, everyone will understand the meaning. Plus we still be supporting local businesses, ie, florists’, local grocery stores etc. Take a bit of the money that you spent on the ” pink products” and donate directly to the cause. Do really you need a mixer or drill or whatever else ” they” have pinked out to show support for breast cancer research/cure? No.

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