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PostPosted: 19 Oct 2010, 21:28 
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Pink Ribbon Hypocrisy: Boozing It Up for Breast Cancer
by Brie Cadman October 07, 2010 11:43 AM (PT) Topics: Cancer, Preventative Medicine, Public Health, Substance Abuse

It's no surprise that companies jump on breast cancer awareness month with a pink-infused fervor. Over 200,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Add to that the thousands of cancer survivors and friends and families affected by the disease, and companies see consumers. A lot of them. Thus, the pink ribbon is everywhere. NFL players have pink ribbons on their helmets. The cosmetic counter is awash in pink lipsticks. Bars offer Drink for Pink nights. You can even purpotedly support breast cancer with your Facebook update.

The pinkwashing seems harmless. But what about the companies that don the pink color, but are actually selling products that contribute to the disease? Isn't that, like, just a tad hypocritical?

The biggest offenders are fast food and alcohol companies. According to the National Cancer Institute, both obesity and alcohol are associated with an increased breast cancer risk. Yet that hasn't stopped these companies from claiming their goods help support or even prevent the disease. First off is KFC, the company that seems to know no bounds when it comes to using women to sell their products. The last time we checked in with the fried-chicken-slinging folks, they were using college women's bums to promote their own buns. But they're also capitalizing on breast cancer by selling pink buckets and donating $0.50 to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

Fast food isn't part of a healthy diet, but one could argue that eating fried chicken doesn't necessarily make a person obese. (It certainly doesn't help, however.) But there's little in the way of logic to justify alcohol companies going pink. Alcohol is a known risk factor for breast cancer, and according to the National Cancer Institute, it's risk follows a dose-dependent fashion, meaning the more alcohol a woman consumes, the greater her risk.

Yet it hasn't stopped Mike's Hard Lemonade from selling a pink-ribbon drink. And Chambord, which has an ad stating that saying that "by adding a splash of Chambord to any cocktail, you're supporting breast cancer awareness year-round."

Some companies, like SUPPORT HER VODKA, just straight up lie: "All women are at risk for breast cancer. Women 50 and older are at a greater risk. By purchasing SUPPORT HER VODKA, you can help in the prevention of breast cancer."

No, prevention doesn't mean drinking more vodka. But that hasn't stopped two new brands, Pinky vodka and P.I.N.K., from releasing their female-friendly products.

It's true that Mike's Hard Lemonade donated $500,000 in the past two years to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. And Chambord has raised $50,000 for patient groups. But at what cost?

According to USA TODAY, some breast cancer charities are denying alcohol-related gifts. "We have a partnership with alcohol, and I don't understand it, either," says Cindy Geoghegan, the new interim CEO at Breast Cancer Network for Strength. "Those kinds of relationships will not continue."

It can be confusing, given the oftentimes contradictory health evidence we are given regarding alcohol. On one hand, alcohol in moderation can be good for heart health. But heavily-sweetened, high-alcohol beverages don't exactly scream moderation. Nor do they state the fact that their product increases the risk of the disease they claim to be fighting.

Don't get me wrong: I don't think alcohol is inherently bad. I've worked in the wine industry and love my I.P.A.s and Belgium brews. Shoot, I even like Chambord. But these specious advertising campaigns and products directly targeting women are not about drinking for health. They are not interested in preventing breast cancer. They are interested in getting as many women as possible to purchase their products, cancer statistics be damned. I wish they'd just be honest about what they're trying to do, rathering than insulting women's health with their pink pandering.

Companies aren't going to pull their pink products. But we can urge them to be transparent and disclose the fact that their product contributes to breast cancer by signing this petition.



Last I checked, a few drinks did no substantial harm. this seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill (pardon the puns) and is simply prudish to the max.

Chloride and Sodium: Two terribly dangerous substances that taste great together!

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