It’s breast cancer awareness month. A wonderful opportunity to support early detection through regular self-exams, mammography and other cutting edge methods. Early detection saves thousands of lives a year – including mine back in 1992.

Sadly, like many good things, there’s a dark underside to the “Think Pink” campaigns of October. The commercialization of breast cancer awareness through sales of pink products (pins, hats, shirts, slippers, watches, water bottles, etc.) is a sneaky way for companies to pad their revenue. If you can make it in pink and sell it, it’s probably for sale by some savvy company seeking a profit.

Moreover, many of the same companies that take part in the pink ribbon campaigns also sell personal care products containing known carcinogens. At the present time only 200 of the over 80,000 chemicals used in the United States have been tested for human safety. The European Union has banned over 1300 chemicals from use in cosmetics while the US has only banned 11.

think before you pink

It’s impossible to point the finger at any one company as so many have seized the opportunity.  Everyone from department stores to makeup manufactures self-promote their supposed altruism by donating a percentage of profits to breast cancer research etc.

But seriously, do you really need a pink shirt or hat? Maybe if you like pink…but even then, how often is that pink thing something you really want, let alone need?

It’s definitely not something I want or need. While I deeply appreciate the loving intention behind those “think pink” ribbons and earrings and scarves I’ve received from friends over the years, I don’t wear them. After sitting in my possession for a few  years because I feel guilty throwing them out, they end up at the Salvation Army donation center.

How about just donating the $20 directly? No clutter in the jewelry drawer or closet and 100% of your money goes directly to support an organization you choose instead of the one the all-so-altruistic company is in cahoots with!

What can you do to support breast cancer awareness and survival?

Donate directly instead of spending money on things you and I don’t need. Organizations I support include the Cancer Support Community of Pasadena (supporting patients and their loved ones going through treatment) and Breast Cancer Action (a grassroots organization advocating for scientific research into the environmental factors in breast cancer).

Sign this petition demanding comprehensive government regulation of all chemicals that enter the marketplace and our homes and bodies.

Think before you waste your money on pink key fobs, nail polish, pants, watches, tennis shoes, bras, make up brushes and all the other gimmicks the breast cancer industry tries to sell you.