Companies that try to increase sales of their products by adopting the color pink and pink ribbons to imply that they support breast cancer research—a practice called pinkwashing—but at the same time permit the use of chemicals shown to cause cancer are committing a form of social injustice against women, according to a thought-provoking article in Environmental Justice, a peer-reviewed journal published by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. (www.liebertpub.com) The entire issue is available online at www.liebertpub.com/env
Amy Lubitow, Portland State University (Oregon), and Mia Davis, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (Boston, MA), contend that aligning oneself with a cause such as breast cancer, while carrying out research, manufacturing, or other types of policies or processes that involve the use of chemicals with a proven link to cancer crosses a critical line between just and unjust practices. The authors state that “pinkwashing simultaneously increases profits and potentially contributes to increasing cancer rates and obscures an environmental health discourse that recognizes the environmental causes of breast cancer…” They support and expand on this view in the article entitled, “Pastel Injustice: The Corporate Use of Pinkwashing for Profit.”
“The authors of this article draw needed attention to the dangerous use of consumers’ social and sometimes environmental consciousness by institutions who contribute to environmental health disparities. The blind financial support of these entities, by affected consumers, is a form of environmental injustice that is clearly elucidated by the authors,” said Sylvia Hood Washington, PhD, ND, MSE, MPH, Editor-in-Chief of Environmental Justice, and Research Associate Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health.