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Pink Ribbon Posers

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Pink Ribbon Posers

Jessica Assaf

October is Breast Cancer AwarenessMonth, so we are going to explain the #beautybullshit behind the "PINK RIBBON."

The first pink ribbon was actually peach, and it was a part of a campaign created by Charlotte Haley over twenty years ago to demand that the National Cancer Institute increase their budget for cancer prevention research. In 1992, Charlotte was approached by Self Magazine and Estée Lauder to use her ribbons in a breast cancer awareness campaign and she refused. She had no desire to use her ribbon to promote corporations. So Estée Lauder changed the color to pink and took credit for it. 

Pink ribbon products claim to donate a portion of their proceeds to "breast cancer research," yet most of the time this is just a marketing strategy to improve our perception of the company and increase profits. We are never told how much money is being raised for "breast cancer awareness" and where the money is being donated. The worst part is that many "pink ribbon products" actually contain cancer-causing ingredients. Breast Cancer Action coined the term "pinkwashing" as a part of their Think Before You Pink campaign to explain this horrible hypocrisy.

Pinkwasher: 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.

In honor of real Breast Cancer Awareness, we are dedicating this month to ending pinkwashing by featuring "pink ribbon products" from companies that claim to supportbreast cancer, but instead make products that cause cancer. We will post many different products throughout the month, and we will be sure to always mention the better, safer replacement.

The only way we can get these chemicals out of our products is if we stop buying them. Let's start by phasing out the chemicals known to cause cancer. Eliminating our daily exposures to the carcinogens in our beauty products is the best method of breast cancer prevention we can think of. #thinkbeforeyoupink 

PINK RIBBON POSERS

1. AVON

AVON says they are "the leading corporate supporter of the global breast cancer cause." According to their website, they recently celebrated 20 years of the "Avon Breast Cancer Crusade," and they have formed "breast cancer programs in 50 countries" that have donated millions of dollars to "life-saving breast cancer research and access to quality care."

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KNOWN OR SUSPECTED CARCINOGENS USED BY AVON: PARABENS, CETEARETH-20, DISODIUM EDTA, PEG-80 SORBITAN LAURATE, PEG-10 RAPESEED STEROL, BENZOPHENONE-1, IMIDAZOLIDINYL UREA, SODIUM LAURETH SULFATE, TRIETHANOLAMINE, RETINYL PALMITATE, FRAGRANCE, FORMALDEHYDE RELEASING PRESERVATIVES, TRICLOSAN, LEAD, ETC.

Hey Avon, did you know that the best way to support the "global breast cancer cause" is to stop making products that CAUSE CANCER?

Here are some suggestions from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for choosing safer products:

    • Read labels
    • Avoid using products that list ingredients that may be contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, including sodium laureth sulfate, PEG compounds, chemicals that include the clauses "xynol," "ceteareth" and "oleth."
    • Avoid products that contain formaldehye-releasing preservatives, including quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol (Bronopol).
    • Simplify: Select products with fewer ingredients and no synthetic fragrance or dyes, and use fewer products overall.
    • Choose safety: Search EWG's cosmetic safety database, Skin Deep, to learn more about the products you use and find safer alternatives.
    • Make your own cosmetics!

While you shouldn't trust the pink ribbon, you can always trust us to share the truth about beauty and the power we each have to eliminate our exposures to toxic chemicals from the products we use everyday. Stay tuned for many more Pink Ribbon Posers this month, and join us in celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness the right way by boycotting products that contain ingredients linked to cancer. #truthbeauty