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How We Can End the Sale of Cancer-Causing Products

It's time to put a stop to corporate pinkwashing.

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The time is ripe. Legislators have called for an updated Toxic Substance Control Act, and environmental and health advocates are united on reform. But in response to this movement, corporations have pushed for an industry friendly law called the Chemical Safety Improvement Act, which activists call weak. The act would also weaken state laws that are stronger than federal law.

But Toxic Time Is Up is fighting back. More than 18,000 people have signed its petition that will be delivered to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, the body that will work out the details of the bill before it moves to Congress.

Meanwhile, pink ribbon products, many of which contain cancer-causing chemicals, continue to fill shelves throughout the month of October. In addition to not knowing how harmful the chemicals in these products are, there is no way to tell how much of the money being raised in the name of breast cancer awareness is actually going toward research.

Think Before You Pink maintains that before you buy a pink product, you should find out how much money is being donated to cancer research, if the organization is reputable and if the product contains known harmful chemicals.

“We’re not telling people do or don’t buy a pink ribbon product,” Jaggar said. “What we’re helping people to do is peel back the pink ribbons to look beyond the marketing piece to what’s really going on.”

Jaggar added that when it comes to breast cancer prevention, the focus on a woman’s individual responsibility, in terms of diet and exercise, is also problematic, especially when research has found that these factors plus hereditary factors still only account for less than half of all breast cancers.

“We need to place more focus on the environment,” Jaggar said.

That’s why, Jaggar said, pushing for a law that tests all chemicals in products is one of the most impactful pushes Think Before You Pink could make.    

“Cancer rates have been steadily rising in the United States. We see that breast cancer incidents have gone up over the decades,” Jaggar said. “We are all exposed to unknown doses and unknown mixtures of hundreds of chemicals throughout the course of our lives. And some of these chemicals have pretty compelling data that show they are certainly linked to breast cancer and other health harms. And we need to get them off the market.”

Alyssa Figueroa is an associate editor at AlterNet. 

 
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