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Beware Corporate ‘Pinkwashing’

Written by PETA | October 8, 2010

The following op-ed was originally published in The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Does the nation seem to have a pink tint to it these days? It’s not your vision; it’s National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and companies are bombarding the market with pink products. Everything from scouring pads and pepper spray to handbags and handguns are being sold in pink, ostensibly to benefit breast cancer charities.

Some of these companies might have good intentions, but many are just “pinkwashing”—passing themselves off as crusaders in the fight against breast cancer while peddling dangerous or unhealthy products that can actually contribute to the disease. Earlier this year, KFC even sold its Kentucky Grilled Chicken, which is known to contain carcinogens, in pretty pink buckets.

It’s important to raise awareness of breast cancer, but it’s time to tone down the pink. When it comes to winning the war on breast cancer, eating “green”—and encouraging others to do the same—is more effective than buying pink.

Numerous studies have shown that women who eat mostly fruits, vegetables, and soy foods are much less likely to develop breast cancer than women who eat meat, eggs, and dairy products. National Cancer Institute researchers have found that women who eat meat every day are nearly four times more likely to get breast cancer than those who don’t.

Other leading researchers in both America and Asia concur that women who eat a typical Western diet—high in meat, fat, and sugar—face a higher risk of breast cancer than women who eat a typical Asian diet, which is high in soy and vegetables. Renowned nutrition expert Dr. Dean Ornish reports, “In Japan and other countries where the consumption of animal fat is much lower, breast cancer is rare.”

Eating fatty foods, animal protein, and heavily processed foods can boost one’s risk of breast cancer and other diseases, while eating plant-based foods can lower it. Plant-based foods are typically low in saturated fat and high in fiber and phytochemicals, which knock out carcinogens and fight inflammation. Going vegan can even help women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer beat the disease.

Studies also show that vegans are nine times less likely to be obese than meat-eaters are, and maintaining a healthy weight is key to preventing breast cancer.

Breast cancer is a devastating disease, no matter how you color it. One in eight women in the United States will develop it, and each year, more than 40,000 women will die from it. But pinkwashing and meat-eating only hamper women’s chances of recovering from the disease or preventing it in the first place. If you must buy a “pink” product this month, The Pink Ribbon Diet: A Revolutionary New Weight Loss Plan to Lower Your Breast Cancer Risk, a cookbook that emphasizes plant-based, Mediterranean-style meals, is a good pick.

We won’t win the war on breast cancer just by looking at it through rose-colored glasses. We have to take responsibility for our own health by adopting healthy habits, such as exercising regularly, getting regular mammograms, and making smarter choices about what we eat. So whenever you see pink this month, consider it a reminder to eat green.

Written by Heather Moore

Commenting is closed.
  • Kurt K says:

    Donna, My niece has been going through chemo therapy for the batter part of two years and she has about another year to go. Say what you want, but without chemo, she wouldn’t be here today.

  • Donna says:

    Pinkwashing is a load of crap, all funded by the big pharma and corporate greed of people for money, all the while profiting on the needless radiation and chemo. Wake up you ignorant people…

  • nancy says:

    I agree all the pink stuff is deceptive. Most of the products cloaking themselves in pink are selling items that cause cancer.

  • carol says:

    Breast cancer awareness is here to stay and I admire Susan Koman for her determination to support the cause. However, breast cancer is not the number one killer of women now it is heart attacks! However, the pink has got to go as far as food is concerned so thank you for promoting green as the new pink.

  • beth ann says:

    I’m tired of money going to Breast Cancer “Research”. How about spending billions on Breast Cancer PREVENTION???

  • Glenda says:

    The money from this “pinkwashing” charity fundraising is NOT going to help people, in most cases. It is simply going to high salaries and high overhead of charities and their employees that just do more fundraising. I worked for the largest one in the country, I am ashamed to say. It’s a sham. The hypocrisy is heartbreaking. They will sell out to any company, no matter how unhealthy or cruel.

  • angela says:

    Pink is a load of crap, I mean “shop for the cure?” No one even knows that the money goes into animal research. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (like, go vegan if you want to reduce breast cancer risk!), but there’s no cure from animal studies. Cancer prevention funds and human population studies are the ticket. Give to something like The Cancer Project not the cute meaningless pink thing!

  • yes really. says:

    yes, christie, i agree people go overboard. especially since ppl buy the pink products thinking that their donating to the program for breast cancer when in actuality, barely a dollar from like 10$ items go there. unless some brands actually put the percent they donate, some items it’s as if nothing was even being donated to begin with. -___-” & to “Really?” yes i think the research is a load of crap when some of the tests are put on animals, THEN done to human cells, etc.

  • taytaytayler says:

    I think the pink stuff is silly, too. I would like to support cancer reseach, but not when it involves testing on animals.

  • Really? says:

    So Christie, you think donations and cancer research is a “load of crap” then?

  • christie says:

    When i read this article it was a relief for me as i honestly felt like the only person who thinks this ‘pink’ stuff is a load of crap!!!!!!!!