Awareness Enrichment #3 (how to be a smart consumer)

So what’s a consumer to do?

We’ve discussed the convergence of influences that has brought us to today’s pink October saturation.  You want to spend your money wisely, support those you know affected by breast cancer, and even contribute to its demise.  So how can we tell who is doing good work and who is cashing in on breast cancer?   

Breast Cancer Action, a grassroots advocacy organization was founded by Elenore Pred in 1990, was born of the frustration at the lack of real medical information available about the disease.  They have launched many successful campaigns since then.  I found them in 2010, just a year out of treatment when I started thinking about the larger issues surrounding breast cancer culture.  Then I saw an ad for KFC Buckets for a Cure program and thought to myself, “Really?  Fried Chicken cures breast cancer?”

I started researching on the web and came across BCA’s What the Cluck Campaign.  I knew I’d found kindred spirits.  They coined the term “pinkwashing” to refer to companies that profit from breast cancer.  

BCA publishes a great guide to help consumers make informed decisions through their seminal Think Before You Pink program.  They suggest we start by asking four questions:

1. Does any money from this purchase go to support breast cancer programs? How much?

2. What organization will get the money? What will they do with the funds, and how do these programs turn the tide of the breast cancer epidemic?

3. Is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation already been met? Can you tell?

4. Does this purchase put you or someone you love at risk for exposure to toxins linked to breast  cancer? What is the company doing to ensure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

Please read more on their website.

I know some of you probably think like I once thought, what’s the big deal?  Companies deserve compensation.  It’s a win/win, right?

Some of these products that carry pink ribbons are linked to breast cancer risk factors, like obesity (fried chicken) and alcohol consumption.

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Taken at my local store on Oct 1. Please know that this “BCA” is breast cancer AWARENESS, not Breast Cancer ACTION.

This is, as they say, the tip of the pink iceberg.  I’m just getting warmed up.