October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
I’m writing to ask you two things. Please promise me you’ll do them. Please.
PLEASE CHECK YOUR BREASTS. We wholeheartedly endorse breast self examination. If you aren’t confident enough to check your own, please ask your doctor. I check my own regularly, but once a year get my doctor to check because it just alleviates any worry that maybe I might be missing something.
AND PLEASE remember that every time you purchase a product, you’re saying you accept the standards of that brand. You’re putting your money behind them. So please familiarise yourself with the concept of PINKWASHING. This is the lesser-known cousin of whitewashing, greenwashing and healthwashing. Just as whitewashing is used as a cover-up to make something look better and hide flaws, pinkwashing is a similar veneer.
For example, there are brands that make a big fuss about supporting breast cancer causes, yet their products contain ingredients that are linked to cancer generally and/or breast cancer specifically. Their marketing about their donations serve as a distraction from the facts about their products.
This is something to remember, next time you see a ‘pink’ promotion!
These two posts provide a brief introduction, but if you look through our blog you’ll find many helpful posts on what standards are (or are not) worthy of your support.
- Looking for substance behind a pinkwashed veneer.
- Just because chemical is dangerous, it doesn’t mean it’s illegal.
Here is an example of pinkwashing. We won’t say the brand name, but we will say that this product is specifically promoted as a self-check breast cream (really?!) and the company donates $2 per bottle sold.
Here are the ingredients:
Aqua (Water), Paraffinum Liquidum, Glycerin, Petrolatum, Cetearyl Alcohol, Dimethicone, Ceteareth-20, Squalane, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Stearic Acid, Laureth-3, Glyceryl Stearate, Methylparaben, Dichlorobenzyl Alcohol.
Here’s a snapshot of the things that will already be ringing bells for you if you’ve been following our blog posts. Here is a particularly good one, if you want to know a bit more about the chemicals listed here, but as a quick snapshot:
- Dimethicone: we recommend avoiding any of the chemicals ending in ‘methicone’ which signified the chemical is a synthetic silicone oils, many of which are linked to cancer generally and breast cancer specifically.
- Paraffinum Liquidum and Petrolatum: these (along with Mineral Oil and Petroleum Jelly) are variants of the same chemical and as their name suggests they are petrochemicals. We recommend avoiding these chemicals because carcinogenic Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons are a byproduct of their manufacture and remain in the products as a contaminant.
- Ceteareth-20 and Laureth-3 are both ethoxylated chemicals, which often have impurities of Ethylene Oxide (rated 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 of toxic chemicals) and 1,4-Dioxane (rated 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 of toxic chemicals) both of which are carcinogenic. If you were using these in a lab you’d have to working under a fume hood while wearing a protective mask, glasses and gloves to avoid getting these chemicals in your lungs or on your skin.
- Methylparaben is one of many parabens, a family of chemicals that are being phased out in Europe due to being hormone disruptors, irritants and carcinogenic. When you have cancer and cells are behaving in uncontrolled and unpredictable ways, the last thing you would want to apply is a hormone disruptor, let alone another potential carcinogen.
Every brand that pinkwashes in this way is disrespecting the people who have been lost to breast cancer and they’re making money out of those who’ve suffered from their loss. So don’t accept the unacceptable! If they really cared about stopping breast cancer, they’d stop using ingredients known or suspected to be carcinogenic.
If you would like to do something positive, then instead of buying a pinkwashed product, support a brand that does not use ANY problematic chemicals in its products. Ultimately they (including Y natural!) are the ones who are REALLY putting our money where our mouth is, and are making a REAL difference.
If you want a cream to use for checking your breasts, we recommend this – it’s absolutely lush, will last for months, you can be 100% confident that we’re not exposing you (or our landfill or waterways) to carcinogens and instead will be using something so clean you could eat it.
And don’t forget. Two things. PROMISE US, PLEASE!