Be aware of 'Pinkwashing' during #BreastCancerAwareness Month

October is my favorite month of the year because I love fall, Halloween, pumpkins, football season in full gear and many more things. I also appreciate that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and do love seeing pink products, logos and even food everywhere.

While I fully support Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there is, very unfortunately, something to be aware of during this month: pinkwashing. 

What is pinkwashing? It's when companies sell and promote pink items, but they may not actually donate any proceeds, may have a cap donation or may donate a significantly lower amount than originally thought toward breast cancer research and the betterment of those suffering from breast cancer. More than just that, it's also companies and organizations who claim to care about breast cancer producing, manufacturing and/or selling products linked to the disease.

Not every company selling pink products does this & awareness does matter. This is just something to be aware of during October!

Questions to think about before you buy the pink ribbon or any pink product, via Think Before You Pink:

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

What organization will get the money? What will they do with the funds? How do these programs make a difference for the breast cancer epidemic?

Is there a “cap” on the amount the company will donate? Has this maximum donation already been met? Can you tell? -- most popular thing for brands to do is have a maximum donation.

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?

I'm not exactly here to call out various companies for doing this, but rather to raise awareness to you and others to be aware of what products you're buying and what that money actually goes to. Just one example (and you know I love football): the NFL goes pink every year and while they do a good job raising awareness, analysts estimate that only 8% of the money the NFL raises actually goes toward breast cancer research. 


A great organization to check out is Breast Cancer Action, mission: to achieve health justice for all women at risk of and living with breast cancer. 

They have a current campaign to demand companies stop pinkwashing and start protecting women's health by stop giving women, especially women in cancer treatment, cosmetics and products that are actually linked to increased cancer risk and interference with breast cancer treatment.

So be aware of all we could be doing for the breast cancer cause and make yourself more aware of where your money is actually going when you donate or buy pink products.

All of this raises an interesting question: is it really ethical to sell these products that promote breast cancer research and searching for a cure when so little of the money from the product goes toward the cause?

I know every little bit helps, but are companies more in it for the sales or the actual cause?