Let Pink Signal the Power to Protect Our Breasts!

Not surprisingly, many of oCynthia Barstow-5453ur breast cancer prevention colleagues are cynical about the march of pink ribbons this month. The ribbon in no way insures a safer product — one free of carcinogens or endocrine disruptors. The term “pinkwashing” refers to companies profiting from the use of the ribbon without a minimum donation requirement. 

Yet I can’t help but be grateful for the increased attention the disease receives during the month of October. Awash in pink, the disease that now affects one in eight women, becomes top of mind. Who thinks of breast cancer in college but those whose families have been affected? Answer: All of us –confronted by pink on products, at football games, on television…all month long.

 Pink should remind us to think first of protection and prevention. The newest science tells us that women up through their first pregnancies are most vulnerable to the environmental toxins that contribute to breast cancer. College is an important time to consider choosing safer products – foods and beverages that have been certified organic or shampoos and cosmetics that have safer ratings on the EWG Skin Deep database. Unlike the ribbon, the Protect Our Breasts partners’ products have been vetted for safety by an estimable science advisory before we share them on campus or online.

 While researchers work on a cure, we have the power protect ourselves from cancer contributing chemicals such as BPA in cans or receipt paper, parabens and phthalates in personal care and PFOA in popcorn bags. Knowledge and prevention are our tools. With every Facebook “like” comes an opportunity for a friend to learn more about protection. This breast cancer month, let Pink signal the Power to Protect Our Breasts!

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