Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Think Before You Pink - Beware of 'Pinkwashers'

Pinkwasher: (pink’-wah-sher) noun. A company that purports to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon campaign, but manufactures products that are linked to the disease.

The Think Before You Pink website has some excellent information on brands and products who promote themselves as supporting breast cancer research while at the same time continuing to use chemicals in their products that CAUSE cancer. This is important regarding food and our daily products that use carcinogens.

Below is a snip from their article on cosmetics companies that give with one hand while poisoning with the other:

  • Avon markets itself as “the company for women,” claiming to be the largest corporate supporter of the breast cancer cause in the U.S. But many Avon products contain parabens, according to its own website (including Soy Milk Hand & Foot Therapy, Asian Pear with Ginseng Body Cream, Skin-So-Soft Moisturizing Hand Cream, and many others). Evidence suggests that young females with developing breast tissue are particularly vulnerable to the increased breast cancer risk associated with exposure to external estrogens. Last year, Avon launched a new cosmetics line called “mark,” aimed at young women ages 16 to 24. The company is recruiting teenagers as sales representatives in this program. For more information on Breast Cancer Action’s campaign, see the Follow the Money campaign.

    UPDATE: Avon will be removing dibutyl phthalates from its product lines. This is a small but important step by a corporate giant. It's important for the people Avon markets to, many of who are women of childbearing age, and it's important for future generations. BCA applauds this first step, and will continue to push Avon to remove other harmful ingredients from their products.

  • Revlon sponsors an annual 5K Run/Walk for Women that in part funds the Revlon/UCLA Women’s Cancer Research Program—which, according to, works toward “the control and consequent elimination of women’s cancers.” Meanwhile, The Safe Shopper’s Bible warns against carcinogenic ingredients in several Revlon products, including Revlon Powder Crème Blush, Revlon Powder Crème Make-Up Pressed Powder Full Matte, and Revlon Colorsilk Salon Formula Ammonia-Free Haircolor.

    UPDATE: in EWG's Skin Deep report, products were assigned scores from 0–10 based on the health concerns associated with their ingredients, with 10 being of highest health concern. Over 80% of the Revlon products tested were rated 7.2 or higher. Revlon High Dimension 10 Minute Permanent Haircolor scored 9.6 and contains both known and suspected carcinogens.

  • Estée Lauder's Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF), which states its mission as "prevention and a cure in our lifetime," sponsors breast cancer efforts such as the Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative, in which national landmarks such as the Mall of America are spotlighted in pink lights—an effort that is far more likely to generate positive publicity for Estée Lauder than it is to prevent any woman from developing breast cancer. Their products containing parabens include Polished Performance Liquid Makeup and Precision Lash Mascara, according to The Safe Shopper's Bible.

    UPDATE: Estée Lauder has announced it will reformulate its Clinique and MAC nail polishes to remove phthalates. BCA applauds this step, and will continue to push Estée Lauder to remove other harmful ingredients from their products.

  • Mary Kay, whose web site proclaims that the company’s charitable foundation is ”committed to eliminating cancers affecting women,” does not make it easy for consumers to find out if its products contain potentially harmful ingredients. It’s extremely difficult for a consumer to identify what is in Mary Kay products: the cosmetics are not available in stores, their product descriptions on the web site do not list ingredients, and repeated attempts to get information about product content from a sales representative were unsuccessful.

    UPDATE: After BCA began this project, Mary Kay representatives contacted us to let us know about an ingredient guide that is available on request. Call 1-800-MARYKAY for more information. Also, a concerned consumer sent us a web link to their product, which is housed on a part of their web site restricted to Mary Kay sellers only. The web link has since been made inactive, and the public and consumer part of their web site does not list this product guide. Lastly, in 2004, BCA co-sponsored important California legislation (AB 2012) regarding the public's right to know about carcinogenic and reproductive toxins in cosmetics and personal care products. Mary Kay was a vocal opponent of the bill.

I have tried Mary Kay product off and over the past 20 years. They always made my face burn, itch or break out. Makes you wonder exactly what they put in their products. I can't find an ingredients list anywhere on the web. Why do they work so hard to hide ingredients from potential customers?


  1. Now peoples are very health conscious. They always think about there own or there family health. Now foot problem is very common. For that health conscious people looking for good quality best foot massager brand. All brand are not right for health that kind of people know very well.

  2. Very useful information and thanks for sharing. Living DNA Coupons