Wednesday, November 2, 2011

About those Pink Ribbons

Turns out that those pink ribbons plastered all over everything last month may have been a bit hypocritical.   Here's the deal:
Avon and Estee Lauder make various products containing PEG compounds and other chemicals that undergo a nasty chemical process called “ethoxylation,” which uses ethylene oxide (a known breast carcinogen) during processing and often leaves products contaminated with 1,4 dioxane (a carcinogen and serious groundwater contaminant).
All three companies make products containing parabens and other chemicals that act like estrogen in the body, which is problematic because higher estrogen exposures are associated with higher breast cancer risk. A recent study found that methylparaben can interfere with the effectiveness of tamoxifin, a drug used to treat breast cancer.Revlon, Avon and Estee Lauder owe it to us to do better. As leaders in the pink-ribbon parade, they have a responsibility to stop buying carcinogens from the chemical companies, and they have the opportunity to be real champions for women’s health by using their leverage with the chemical companies to demand safer, non-toxic alternatives.
Instead, we get 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” rather than having a serious discussion about how to prevent breast cancer – because prevention requires changing the status quo.   

1 comment:

  1. So glad you posted this. I have enormous problems with the pink ribbon thing too. It is absolutely not because I am uninterested in ending cancer, but rather because I think the ribbons are a pointless distraction that accomplishes nothing. I recently read that a company called Imperial Chemical Industries, which produces, among other things, vinyl chloride, a mammary carcinogen, formed Zeneca in 1993. Zeneca merged with Astra AB in 1999 forming AstraZeneca who is the manufacturer of Tamoxifen. Talk about synergy!

    I would go so far as to suggest that absolutely none of the proceeds of the pink ribbon campaign are earmarked to deal with environmental causes of cancers. Go to the National Breast Cancer Foundation website. At the bottom of the home page, type the word "carcinogen" in the site search box. Apparently there is no such thing. Go figure.