Go green and think before you pink

Aimee Lastrella

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






We all have a pair, but this month we bring awareness to their health.

Yes, I’m talking about the pair on your chest– your breasts.

October is breast cancer awareness month and now more than ever are we seeing the pink paraphernalia pop-up and contagiously consume almost every product we purchase.

But I have to ask, do you really think that we will find the cure for cancer just by buying stuff? From yogurt cups, bracelets to stuffed animals, they all promise that a portion of the purchase will go to cancer research.

Many environmentalists, and myself, wonder is my purchase really helping human health?

I highly doubt it and so do many others.

Breast Cancer Action has a campaign called Think Before You Pink, that has been gaining a lot of attention over the years, since their start in 2002. The basis of the campaign forces consumers to really THINK before they purchase that pink-washed item.They want to encourage consumers to be aware and not be fooled by a color, like something they feel has happened over the years.

The campaign urges people to understand how big or small of their purchase is really being donated to cancer research. Chances are your purchase maybe only donating five cents, if you’re lucky.

If that wasn’t disturbing enough, here’s a real shocker.

In a recent entry, Death by product, I found out there are a handful of harmful chemicals in my everyday products I use hurting us, those around the product and the environment.

And after seeing all this pink overwhelm me in the grocery store, the convenient store and basically just about everywhere else- I had to think, with my purchase I am helping cancer research and I am helping myself.

How you may be asking?

Majority of these things that we all purchase have enough toxins to cause cancer, in the long run. This month, I purchase it to help cancer research, not knowing if the product I purchase will be the thing that gives me cancer.

Ironic, no?

But the bright side is that many years back, I bought that perfume or night cream that gave five percent of my purchase to breast cancer research- so with that minuscule donation – I’m covered, not.

Cofounder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Stacy Malkan, found this also ironic. She discusses the problem of cancer-linked ingredients in cosmetics in her book Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.

This is upsetting to me. The percentages and the ironies make me go mad when all I am trying to do is donate some money to cancer research. I, like you, still want to help the world on the limited funds of a college student, but how can I do that if all this pink is hurting me and not really making a difference?

I say actually just donate to the foundation versus purchasing that pink painted product. Trust me, your entire case Yoplait pink-lid yogurt won’t do as much for the cause as five dollar donation straight to the foundation. Plus, you can save money and buy your yogurt (minus harmful additives) from the farmer’s market. I think yogurt from the farmer’s market taste better anyway.