Last week I wrote about awareness, and how having pink hair was a great way to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer. I stand behind my word; awareness is a powerful tool. However, combine awareness with activism, and you can pack a real punch. As I was doing research for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) I was delighted to find a bit of backlash (I think a healthy dose of skepticism goes a long way). The buzzword of the backlash is pinkwashing. I found the pinkwashing protests to be completely valid and worth mentioning.
I think it's fair to say these protests boil down to two main points. First, is the importance of checking up on the pink purchases you make to be sure they are in fact benefiting a breast cancer related cause. The second point is to be aware of what ingredients are in the pink products you buy to avoid chemicals that could increase the risk of cancer. Think Before You Pink, has a checklist to keep in mind when you're buying pink!
It's that second point that makes me the most concerned. It's true, our lifestyles include carcinogenic substances. So... what's a carcinogen-concerned person to do?
Know what to avoid.
Find out which chemicals are guilty and why. Our friends over at Organic Authority care about pinkwashing, too, and one of their posts includes a list of cosmetic chemicals to steer clear from. Breast Cancer Action, the grassroots organization behind Think Before You Pink, has a whole host of information about healthy alternatives and breast cancer in general. Have any other good resources? Post a comment!
Once you're oh-so-informed about what kind of chemicals to avoid, let the companies that still use them know that you object! Write a letter, an email, a tweet, a blog post (or a vlog on YouTube!)... they'll hear you! You can also join the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. There are also prepared letters and petitions you can sign. Many of these chemicals have been banned in other countries, so don't stop at the corporate level; forward that email to the your governor, state representatives, the FDA, etc. Remember to keep your family and friends in the know as well... including us! Share your favorite "clean" products with us in our new Citizens' Gallery!
This is a task that could seem pretty daunting. There are four women in my family... if your bathroom counter is anything like ours, it's jam-packed with hair and cosmetic products. Going through them all at once would be effective, but overwhelming. Start with one thing at a time. Next time you run out of something and you have to buy a new one anyways take the ingredients into consideration and make an educated purchase. Skin Deep has a huge database of products, you can search for yours to see how they're rated.
That's exactly what I'm going to do. I need a new deodorant! So my mission for the next couple weeks is to find a deodorant that does its job without the use of risky chemicals. I'll write a post on which ones I tried and how they worked. Hopefully my office-mates will be honest about how effective they are (Sorry, Jeanne!) and maybe I can save you from going through the same troubles. I've also convinced a few others on the Grommet team to join the challenge with me and search for the best beauty products - chemical free of course!
Unfortunately we can't try all kinds of products at once. Here's where you come in. I'm challenging you to chose one product you own to replace with a safe alternative, and report back how it goes and what product you replaced it with. Maybe you've done this and are an expert already... let us know what you've found!
Want to be featured in my next blog post? Do the challenge and email me your experience! Make sure to include a picture of you and the following information:
1. What you're replacing:
2. Bad chemicals in it:
3. Better option you're trying:
4. Better ingredients in it:
5. How it worked/review:
Keep in mind what a difference you're making. Can't wait to hear your responses!