by Rachel Lincoln Sarnoff
Executive Director/CEO, Healthy Child Healthy World
It's October and to many of us that means one thing: Pink ribbons. But how many of us stop to read the labels on the products those ribbons adorn? Apparently, no one at Susan G. Komen for the Cure did, or maybe they just didn't care that their new Promise Me perfume tested positive for the hormone disruptor Galaxolide and the neurotoxin Toluene, which is banned by the International Fragrance Association, according to Breast Cancer Action.
Breast Cancer Action put together a petition urging Susan G. Komen to recall the fragrance and pledge to prevent pinkwashing, which they define as "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 known or suspected to be linked to the disease."
I agree with Breast Cancer Action that while it is undeniable that organizations like Susan G. Komen have donated significant amounts of money to breast cancer prevention and research, it's also undeniable that many of them have slapped pink ribbons on products that contain carcinogens.
Petitions targeting organizations like Susan G. Komen can be very effective, but at the end of the day it's all about what Healthy Child Healthy World has been promoting for nearly 20 years: Read your labels, learn what the ingredients mean, and vote with your dollars. It's amazing what companies will do if their products stop selling.
And finally, if you or someone you know has breast cancer, I can't recommend a better resource than "Breast Cancer: The Path of Wellness & Healing," a DVD series co-produced by Nina Montée Karp, which includes interviews with breast cancer survivors Christina Applegate and Olivia Newton-John, among others, as well as experts such as Dr. Deepak Chopra and Dr. Susan Love.
Full disclosure: Nina and her husband, Dr. Harvey Karp of "The Happiest Baby on the Block" book and DVD series, were founding members of Healthy Child Healthy World and currently serve our Honorary Board.
You can think pink while thinking green, too.