Groups Call Out Progresso's Hypocrisy for Increasing Breast Cancer Risk while Donating to the Cause
Progresso cans are lined with BPA, a chemical linked to breast cancer
Progresso may be receiving a flood of unwanted Facebook posts and tweets tomorrow when the Breast Cancer Fund’s Cans Not Cancer campaign and its partners, including Healthy Child Healthy World and Change.org, gear up for a social-media action centered around the company’s hypocrisy related to breast cancer.
In honor of October’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Progresso (owned by General Mills) is partnering with Susan G. Komen for the Cure in their “Save Lids to Save Lives” program. For every Progresso soup lid that customers send in, the company will make a donation. Ironically, those same can lids are lined with the toxic chemical bisphenol A (BPA), which is linked to breast cancer.
“It’s pretty ironic that Progresso is raising funds to fight breast cancer while also using a chemical linked to the disease in its cans,” said Gretchen Lee Salter, policy manager at the Breast Cancer Fund. “If Progresso really cares about reducing breast cancer, it should commit to getting rid of BPA and replacing it with a safer alternative.”
BPA is used in the epoxy-resin linings of metal food cans. The toxic chemical can leach from the resin and make its way into food. Lab studies have shown that BPA is linked to early puberty, a risk factor for later-life breast cancer; can make healthy breast cells grow and survive like cancer cells; and can make breast cancer drugs less effective.
In June, Charles Drabkin, an ordinary citizen, started a petition on Change.org demanding that Progresso stop using BPA in its cans. To date the petition has more than 123,000 signatures.
The Breast Cancer Fund first contacted General Mills in April 2011 to ask what its plans were to move away from BPA. The company also received more than 30,000 messages from concerned consumers. While the company responded that it was looking for alternatives, there has been no indication of movement since. In August, and again in September, the Breast Cancer Fund and several ally organizations sent letters to General Mills’ VP for Sustainability and its VP for Meals (who has responsibility for the Progresso brand) requesting a meeting to discuss the issue, but so far the company has not agreed.
For tomorrow’s social-media action, the Breast Cancer Fund is joining forces with parent groups and environmental health and justice organizations to draw attention to this campaign.
This action is part of the Breast Cancer Fund’s Prevention Is Power campaign, which is harnessing the powerful voices of thousands this October to move us beyond pink ribbons, beyond awareness to breast cancer prevention.
“Progresso needs to do the right thing and remove BPA from its cans. People have had enough of the hypocrisy of products emblazoned with pink ribbons that are made with chemicals linked to breast cancer,” said Salter. “This is not Breast Cancer Irony Month.”
Learn more at www.breastcancerfund.org/cansnotcancer.
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