Breast Cancer Awareness 2011: The Stink of Pink

pinkwashingMany of you wonder what led me to become a  passionate advocate for safe cosmetics. It was the big “C.” Cancer….the dreaded disease…it has affected many lives and probably touched yours too at some point. When my mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer, my heart fell to my feet.  I had a special relationship with my mother…not only were we mother and daughter but best friends too. My worst nightmare was that something would happen to her….and it did. Within 3 months of the diagnosis, she passed away. I started making some connections between the personal care products she’d used her whole life and what role they had in her demise. I go into detail on this topic in my ebook, Saving Face: Bogus Beauty and the Toxic Beast (coming soon!) But for now, I just hope you will begin to realize the connection between using toxic products and disease as well, especially since we are in the midst of Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2011.

Pink on the outside....deceit on the inside.

Breast Cancer Awareness 2011: Pink Stinks

I really wanted to post about Breast cancer awareness month 2011 because I think it is bogus! Yes!! No disrespect to the many women who are bravely fighting breast cancer…I support you wholeheartedly. I do however, take exception to the cosmetic companies who have the nerve to put a pink ribbon on their lipstick package. The same lipstick which contains toxic, disease causing chemicals. How about the personal care company who creates a special “pink” deodorant? The same deodorant which contains aluminum and parabens, which are linked to breast cancer! And they market the products to women with breast cancer, breast cancer survivors, and women everywhere. That’s irony for you!

Roots of the Pink Ribbon

On a side note, I recently read a terrific blog post from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on the origin of the “pink ribbon” campaign. It was actually an excerpt from Stacy Malkan’s must read book, Not Just a Pretty Face. The origin of the ribbon began with good intentions by a woman whose life was touched by breast cancer as a way to call attention to breast cancer prevention. It actually was a peach (not pink) ribbon. When corporate America gained hold of the idea, it became distorted. Peach was not a very marketable color…however pink was. It represents “femininity, tranquility, and strength.” The marketing “geniuses” ran with it. Now instead of symbolizing prevention, it promotes awareness, along with incredible commerciality (pink ribbon water bottles, tote bags, jackets, even fishing poles and the list goes on and on…It’s no surprise the original creator of the peach ribbon wanted nothing to do with it’s rebirth. Even though pink is my favorite color (I admit it), when it comes to this issue, I wholeheartedly embrace “Say NO to pink!”

Pink Poison Products

So here we have this or that mega-company who knowingly add chemicals (and yes, they do know these ingredients are harmful) into the products millions of women trust and use every day.  But at least it has a cute little pink ribbon on it…Instead, how about removing the cancer-causing ingredients and replacing them with safe ones? Have “they” even thought of this?

Why should we support companies who claim to promote “breast cancer awareness” while their product contributes to the disease?  If only women would become more educated (and trust me, ladies, we are!) we can omit personal care products from the risk factors associated with cancer.

Be sure to watch the video too (I posted it last year but feel it’s worth a re-post.)

Stay natural…stay beautiful…go green!

Robin started her career as an educator of children and has now become an educator for adults everywhere who want to know the truth about what they put into their bodies through the skin. She is passionate about educating people to make better health and beauty choices.
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  • Kristi Marsh

    I like your insight on the Stink of Pink. A lot of ladies havent heard the term Pinkwashing, but I believe they have felt the questioning inside, not sure if they are purchasing products for the right reasons. Love the website.

  • Q

    So true!! The majority of the people don’t realize that they are barely contributing anything to help breast cancer when they buy a ton of merchandise. I have the utmost respect for all cancer survivors, but this whole pink ribbon thing has been blown way out of proportion. Thank you for writing this piece.

  • Michelle Howard

    Robin, I see your point. However, while I am also an advocate for natural products, it’s more likely for people to get cancer from what they eat (ie pork, sugar) than what cosmetics they use.

    That’s not to say that cancer isn’t caused in other ways……The polluted environment we live in, excess sugar which is the main contributor to the growth of cancer cells etc.

    While I try to use natural products as much as possible, think about the many people who have lived for years with no issues (and back when cancer was not as prevalent) and used nothing but products full of preservatives and chemicals. My grandmother is a prime example. Totally doesn’t use anything natural. She could actually care less. She is going to be 86. My entire family is that way. They think I spend too much on natural things like toothpaste, deodorant etc. Yet, everyone has lived to ripe old ages and there’s no cancer in my family. Go figure.

    I say if you can afford to make a better choice re: natural products, go for it but not everyone can and are still living long lives.

    Just my 2 cents. I pray you are comforted by fond memories of your mom
    Michelle Howard´s last blog post ..Not Nearly All You Need to Know About Tea Tree Oil

  • Leslie

    Wow, Robin! GREAT post! I’m so in agreement. Seems like so many “causes” eventually end up commercialized and the main message is lost.

    Sadly, it’s a lot easier to buy “pink” than it is to think about what the pink really means – and then make actual life changes in accordance to that.

    And, of course, the commercialization of it with companies who are most likely culprits in rising breast cancer rate is just adding insult to injury.

    You go, girl!
    Leslie´s last blog post ..No ‘Poo- It Gets Better

  • Jo’s Health Corner

    Hi Robin,
    I couldn’t agree more! Thanks for bringing up the important topic of pink washing.
    Jo’s Health Corner´s last blog post ..How I Perform an Organoleptic Testing to Try Out a New Oil

  • Swathy

    Wow Robin…a very informative and a must read post….I will support you wholeheartedly in saying no to useless products which do nothing but make money for some people…..
    Swathy´s last blog post ..What do you know about warts

  • Robin Adler

    Hi ladies,

    Thanks so much for all your comments and support. I feel so very strongly about this issue as it has touched my life personally. I know toxic cosmetics are not the only cause of cancer, but it is one we can control.


  • D

    The pinking everything is a marketing gimmick to make extra money during the month, nothing more. When certain chemicals are tied to your product and cancer, yet you play on people’s altruistic emotions, that is slimy and fraudulent. – That is the truth that gets straight at the heart of the matter. It is unbelievable that this practice shamelessly continues on.

  • Annie

    Robin, this post is SO true and SO frustrating. Toxic cosmetics are SUCH a huge part of the problem and I can’t stand how this month of “awareness” that so many people/companies participate in doesn’t focus more on the causes and PREVENTION!!!
    At least you know that every day you are helping women (and men) to protect themselves.
    Annie´s last blog post ..Nettle Tea &amp Anemia

  • Linda Secrets

    We have known this for a while. Every year me and my friends have a make up party and do as much as we can to raise donations.

    Buying products for breast month is a bit of a con!

  • Instant Eye Lift

    My Mother in law died from breast cancer, the more we can raise awarness the better.
    Instant Eye Lift´s last blog post ..Eye Secrets Features On ITV’s Loose Women