October 09, 2007

Think before you pink

It's October, and that means Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For me, and maybe for you, every month is breast cancer awareness month, but I guess other people need an annual reminder.

Last year I ranted about buying pink merchandise as an effort to fight breast cancer. Remember Breast Cancer Barbie? Pink Campbell's soup?

This year I still want you to think before you pink.

I agree with the critical questions that Breast Cancer Action recommends you ask some before opening your wallet for pink-ribbon campaigns:

How much money from your purchase actually goes to the cause?

What is the maximum amount that will be donated?

How much money was spent marketing the product?

How are the funds being raised?

To what breast cancer organization does the money go, and what types of programs does it support?

What is the company doing to assure that its products are not contributing to the breast cancer epidemic?

For instance:
Yoplait’s fall campaign, Save Lids to Save Lives, continues to urge consumers to buy pink-lidded cups of Yoplait yogurt. For each pink lid mailed back to the company by December 31, Yoplait donates ten cents to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, up to $1.5 million. Sadly, a woman would have to eat three containers of Yoplait every day during the four-month campaign to raise $36 for the cause–and the yogurt is made from cows treated with rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone). Recent studies show that rBGH dairy products may be linked with an increased risk of breast, colon, and prostate cancer.

As the Breast Cancer Action website says, "If shopping could cure breast cancer it would be cured by now." So don't buy pink stuff to help me and women like me. Instead, make a donation straight to an organization that supports breast cancer research, early detection, or helps women living with breast cancer.

Read more about which charities give the most money to prevent and cure breast cancer at Charity Navigator.

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