Make October 2011 historic

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By Caitlin Carmody, BCAction Membership Coordinator

On Monday, newsmagazine Mother Jones asked in a headline, “Is Susan G. Komen denying the BPA-breast cancer link?” My answer is yes, they are, and here’s why.

Komen, among others, is denying the BPA-breast cancer link just as they are denying the potential health threats of their “Promise Me” perfume because they continue to endorse the “innocent until proven guilty” standard by which toxic chemicals are regulated in this country.

The precautionary principle of public health, which Breast Cancer Action advocates, calls for us to act based on the weight of the available evidence because waiting for “absolute proof” is killing us. In the absence of scientific consensus we need to adopt the highest standards: when in doubt, leave it out!

We know about the pinkwashing products potentially harmful to women’s health, sporting a pink ribbon, produced by corporations all claiming to care about women with breast cancer. Products containing BPA and products like Promise Me.

It’s time for us to take bold action to end pinkwashing. It’s time to Raise a Stink!

Imagine if 10,000 of us asked Komen to sign a “Pledge to Prevent Pinkwashing.” I believe we can move mountains if Susan G. Komen for the Cure joins the growing chorus of people demanding a precautionary approach to environmental toxins linked to cancer.*

In the case of BPA, and in the case of some of the chemicals found in “Promise Me,” Komen seems more like lobbyists for the chemical industry than advocates for women’s health. It’s time for a change.

Imagine if Komen put their weight behind the precautionary principle and demanded all their corporate partners do the same. If Komen joined us in prioritizing women’s health by pledging to stop pinkwashing, together we could make this month historic. October 2011 could be the year when people TAKE ACTION to end a breast cancer epidemic we have been aware of for close to forty years.

I believe Komen can choose to ignore 1,500 of us. I do not believe they can ignore 10,000 voices. That’s a lot of mothers and daughters, grandmothers and aunts, brothers and nephews, who care about cancer.

I wrote to Komen, I asked my friends, family, and random Facebook acquaintances to write to Komen, and I need you to join me in doing the same.

Last year, the President’s Cancer Panel announced that “the American people—even before they are born—are bombarded continually with myriad combinations of these dangerous [environmental] exposures.”

The panel reported that “the true burden of environmentally induced cancer has been grossly underestimated.”

It’s time we stopped underestimating the potentially harmful effects of environmental toxins–including galaxolide, a hormone disruptor that is bioaccumulative, crosses the placental barrier, and is in Komen’s “Promise Me” perfume. It’s time for a change.

This October, please join me in asking Komen to stop grossly underestimating the toll these toxins take on our lives.

We cannot end the breast cancer epidemic unless we put women first. Always.

*There are many wonderful organizations who are working to put our health first when it comes to environmental toxins, including The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Silent Spring Institute, Breast Cancer Fund, Women’s Voices for the Earth, and Commonweal.

One Comment

  1. Posted October 5, 2011 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    I agree that we need to educate all women that just because something is sitting on a store shelf does not mean it is safe. There is no adequate system out there that monitors skin care products to assure their safety.
    Please recognize that your skin is your largest breathing organ – anything you put on your skin has to be processed through your liver, and if the product has toxic chemicals or preservatives in it, you just exposed your body to the hazard. Start reading your content labels – learn about mineral oil, methylparabens, etc. and the new names manufacturers are giving them to “disguise” the real name.

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