The color pink has become almost inextricably associated with breast cancer research, especially during October. For many people, wearing pink clothes or using pink products can feel like a way to morally support friends and family who have had the disease while also monetarily contribute to research that could find ways to save lives.
But as a breast cancer survivor wrote in the Houston Chronicle, some people have “mixed feelings” about the October ubiquity of pink.
Shelly Reese Bain wrote about her feelings of “pinkwashing”—using the color pink to market products to people who use the retail activism to justify their purchases.
“Before I had breast cancer, I was certainly guilty of using pink ribbons to justify my purchases: ‘This plastic water bottle is really cute, plus it benefits people with breast cancer!’ Turns out, that plastic bottle probably contained phthalates, a dangerous chemical used in products ranging from plastic bottles to vinyl flooring to body lotion,” Reese Bain said.
Some chemicals such as phthalates could be among the very culprits that cause cancer in the first place. The author also found unhealthy foods wrapped in pink to be “ironic” and “infuriating,” since a surgery diet is also known to increase the risk of cancer.
Plus, how do consumers know if these pink-laden products’ manufacturers actually donate to breast cancer support organizations?
Instead of buying into “cutesy” marketing campaigns, the author says, instead try donating directly to organizations that fight breast cancer.