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Pink Ribbons, Fracking Drill Bits and Football

Breast Cancer Fund calls out Susan G. Komen Foundation and Fracking Company Baker Hughes on Their Perverse Marketing

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Contact: Margie Kelly, 541.222.9699,
mkelly@breastcancerfund.org;

SAN FRANCISCO—What were they thinking? Baker Hughes, one of the world’s largest oilfield service companies, has announced it will distribute 1,000 pink drill bits to oilfields around the world, along with a $100,000 gift to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the breast cancer charity, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, doing its “Bit for the Cure.” The check will be presented at the NFL’s “pink out” game on October 26.

The following is a statement by Jeanne Rizzo, President & CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund:

“Breast cancer is real. It kills 40,000 women every year. It damages women’s health and leaves scars on bodies and families. I’ve had enough of the All American sport of marketing pink to cover up poison.

I honestly thought I had seen and heard it all. To quote Lily Tomlin ‘no matter how cynical you get, it’s impossible to keep up.’ October’s pink ribbon frenzy about Baker Hughes’ pink drill bits and its $100,000 contribution to be presented to Susan G. Komen at an NFL ‘pink out’ game has made it clear that deeply hypocritical marketing around breast cancer awareness has not yet hit bottom.

Pink ribbons and donations to “cure” breast cancer are a deeply cynical response by companies like Baker Hughes, whose workers are exposed to a breast cancer-causing chemical - benzene – on the job. Studies have found workplace exposures to benzene are linked to male breast cancer.

But is Baker Hughes doing anything to protect its workers and communities that live near fracking sites – from breast cancer chemicals? Nothing more than making a contribution to Komen in front of a TV audience.

Companies that swath their brands in pink, claiming to care about breast cancer while producing or selling products that expose people to chemicals linked to the disease, are doing untold damage to efforts to prevent breast cancer.

One of the best ways to end breast cancer is to stop exposing people to chemicals and radiation linked to the disease. That means ending our practice of adding cancer-causing chemicals to cosmetics, exposing workers to carcinogens on the job, whether it’s fracking or manufacturing plastics, or growing and packaging food using carcinogens."

For more information on fracking and breast cancer check out our blog on the issue by the Breast Cancer Fund's director of science.

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The Breast Cancer Fund is the leading national organization working to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease.