Pinkwashing Can't Prevent Breast Cancer

The color pink is now synonymous with "breast cancer awareness," and cosmetics companies like Estee Lauder trumpet their commitment to breast cancer awareness through promotions and pink ribbons galore. When one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, awareness about early detection and treatment options are important. But what we need most of all is to get chemicals linked to cancer out of products we use every day – including cosmetics.

Some examples: the Estee Lauder brands Bumble & Bumble, Aveda and Clinique contain chemicals that are likely to be contaminated with the carcinogens 1,4-dioxane or formaldehyde; Bobbi Brown Blush contains silica and titanium dioxide (which poses a risk of cancer from inhalation); and several Estee-owned brands still use parabens, which can act like estrogen in the body. Higher estrogen exposures throughout a woman’s life can increase her risk of breast cancer, according to the latest scientific evidence.

Even the President’s Cancer Panel agreed in its May 2010 report that many cancers are linked to environmental exposures, including hormone disruptors in common products like cosmetics.

We know that Estee Lauder can make safer cosmetic products because their Origins and Aveda brands have already phased out some hazardous ingredients. Yet Estee Lauder lobbied against legislation in California that requires cosmetics companies to notify the state when they use chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects – while simultaneously launching Pink Ribbon campaigns to “raise awareness” about breast cancer.

Join us in asking Estee Lauder to stop buying carcinogens and hormone disruptors from chemical companies in the first place.

John Demsey

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

William P. Lauder

The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.

Fabrizio Freda

President & CEO, The Estée Lauder Companies Inc.