Our Bodies, Our Blog

Raise a Stink! – Send a Letter Against Pinkwashing

By Rachel Walden |

Pinkwashing is the selling of potentially harmful or cancer-causing products through pink ribbon promotions, many of which were active in October, which is national breast cancer awareness month.

Breast Cancer Action is running their “Raise a Stink!” campaign in response to concerns about one particular product, the “Promise Me” perfume marketed by Komen. BCA raised concerns that some ingredients in the product could be potential carcinogens, and objected to the small amount of money donated for each bottle of perfume.

Komen released a statement saying that its ingredients meet industry standards and applicable FDA guidelines, but the organization apparently plans to reformulate the perfume next year.

The FDA does not require cosmetic products to be tested and approved before they go on the market, and relies on voluntary industry disclosures of ingredients.

BCA also published a list of additional questions after reviewing Komen’s response, and is asking supporters to send a letter to Susan G. Komen for the Cure’s CEO, Chief Marketing Officer, and Vice President to request removal of the perfume from the market. BCA is also asking Komen to more carefully evaluate which products are marketed with pink ribbon promotions.