IN WITH THE NEW: Pinkwashing
Welcome to my weekly featured ”IN WITH THE NEW” CLEAN SWAP! This week we are taking a closer look at a very important topic: PINKWASHING!
I’m always fielding questions from clients and friends about how they can swap out some of their favorite products for safer, toxin-free options without a loss in quality, taste, or performance (depending on the product). Every week, I cover food, cosmetics, personal care, cleaning and laundry products, and even behavior, so if you enjoy these Clean Swaps, please follow me on Instagram and sign up for my 360° OF WELLNESS Newsletter (⬅️by clicking on this link to the left) so that you never miss a new one.
Let’s talk PINKWASHING 🎀
October is breast cancer awareness month, so you'll be seeing pink everywhere. Pink ribbons will even appear on products that contain known carcinogens (i.e., chemicals that actually contribute to breast & other cancers) and many stores that carry them (e.g., Ulta and Sephora) will also be covered in pink to supposedly support the breast cancer cause despite the fact that they are promoting products that contain harmful chemicals that actually increase the risk of breast cancer.😡
SO WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT PINKWASHING? 💁♀️
Supporting the pink ribbon cause while selling products linked to disease is pure hypocrisy. It exploits the tragedy of breast cancer to make money and frankly, makes my head explode when I think about the fact that most of people are naive to what’s going on here! 🤯
Don’t know what I mean? Here are some of the most egregious examples:
🎀 Pink ribbons on Campbell's soup cans, which are lined with BPA, a chemical that mimics estrogen, disrupts hormones, and is KNOWN to change mammary tissue & structure.
🎀 KFC teaming up with Susan G. Komen teaming up to sell pink buckets of chicken when we know that there is a correlation between eating a diet that is high in saturated and the incidence of several different types of cancers (don’t confuse this with healthy fats, like avocado and olive oil). Worst of all? Studies have linked high consumption of saturated fat by teen girls to an increased risk of pre-menopausal breast cancer. Ironically, Susan G. Komen's own website points this out🤔, yet this inconvenient little truth still doesn’t dissuade the foundation from partnering with companies contributing to this epidemic.
🎀 Cosmetics brands slapping a pink ribbon on jars when their products are loaded with parabens, toluene, petroleum products and other toxic chemicals that are linked to breast cancer. 😡
🎀 Breast cancer charities raising billions of dollars each year, yet only contributing a fraction to research & the rest funneled into other areas, like executive compensation, marketing, and more pinkwashing.
🎀 Companies that are using the pink ribbon for profit and either donating a laughable amount of proceeds to breast cancer foundation or nothing at all (e.g., American Express once ran a Komen-partnered campaign that claimed "every dollar counts," even though no matter how much customers spent they donated exactly one penny per transaction.)
READY FOR THE CLEAN SWAP?🙋♀️
I challenge you to think before you buy pink!
💸 Vote with your dollars!
Every time you you shop, your purchase sends a message to companies to continue to sell the products you are buying, so choose carefully. Consider the types of companies you want to support financially and make sure that their products aren’t the ones that are going to increase your or your kids’ odds of falling ill at some point in the future.
🧐 Be vigilant about what you allow into your home!
Read ingredient labels and make EWG’s Skindeep database your best friend.
Deciphering ingredients labels is not easy, whether it’s shampoo, body lotion, deodorant, or lipstick. It's like reading a foreign language. What’s even more frustrating is that companies aren't even legally required to disclose all of the ingredients anyway. 😡 And all those comforting words on the package (e.g., 100% natural, made from plants, toxin-free) are nothing more than marketing terms. They are completely meaningless because there is no legal definition or oversight. This means that anyone can slap any word on the label, whether it’s true or not. Even “Organic” means nothing when it comes to personal care products. There are cases of companies claiming that their ingredients are “organic” for years until called out by a competitor.🤯
So how do you know that what you're using is safe?💁♀️
This is where EWG’s Skindeep database steps in (you can also download the EWG Healthy Living app on your phone).
Just input your product or scan the bar code in the app and the database will spit out a safety rating on a scale from 1-10 (with 1️⃣ being the safest👍 and 1️⃣0️⃣ being most harmful👎 rating).
PRO TIP: Go past the average rating & look at the individual ingredients to see what the most dangerous ones are. The average rating could be a 4 or 5, but the product could contain ingredients that are rated 9 or 10.
🤩 Invest in your and your family’s health. Spend your hard-earned dollars on brands that are 100% committed to selling clean products, educating consumers, and lobbying Washington for more laws that protect our health. Look for B-Certified corporations that use their business as a force for good, and meet the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, and public transparency. Here are a few of my favorite brands that I personally use, love, and recommend:
🛒 PHLUR - fragrance reimagined. All PHLUR products are made without parabens, phthalates, preservatives, are hypo-allergenic, and certified vegan and cruelty-free.
🛒 BEAUTYCOUNTER - luxurious but safer skincare and cosmetics, as well as personal care products for men, women, babies, and children. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to get money back when you shop with Beautycounter and FREE products!
🛒 DR. BRITE - toxin-free oral care products. Founded by a cancer surgeon who became alarmed by seeing increased cancer rates in young healthy patients without any family history and realized that most everyday personal care products contain cancer and inflammation causing toxins.
🛒 SEVENTH GENERATION - eco-friendly, sustainable, and 100% transparent home cleaning and paper products. Also available at Whole Foods.
🛒 TOP (The Organic Project) - 100% organic cotton pads and tampons. They have an amazing First Period Box for girls coming of age.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE CLEAN BRAND?
Send me a message or leave a comment below and share what it is. If I feature it, I’ll give you credit and may even send you a free gift!
If you enjoyed this weeks’s Clean Swap, share it with a friend and sign up for my 360° OF WELLNESS Newsletter (below) so you never miss a new one.e.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Victoria Gregory is an Integrative Nutritionist and founder of NEWTRITION NEWYOU. Her focus—whether with private clients, readers of her blog, or her followers on social media— is whole body wellness, incorporating whole-food nutrition, supplementation, exercise, toxin-free living, and mindset coaching. Victoria’s personal mission is to help make the world a healthier place, one person at a time, and she has helped thousands of people find joy and self-love through better eating habits and mindfulness. Learn more about Victoria.