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Breast Cancer Awareness: The Importance of Prevention

Breast Cancer Awareness: The Importance of Prevention

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It’s always a good time to learn about breast cancer prevention, and to make healthy choices for your body. After all, breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women worldwide: this means that 1 in 8 women will receive a positive diagnosis at some point in their lives[1]. Fundraising and awareness about breast cancer are strong in the U.S., yet prevention often gets overlooked in the larger conversation. But taking preventative measures—especially limiting your exposure to harmful chemicals[2]—can potentially reduce your chances of getting breast cancer. So, invest in your long-term health by taking positive actions right now.

Get Informed—What Should I Know?

The law is not on your side…yet. Did you know that ingredient disclosure laws vary wildly across industries, and that some industries—especially cleaning products—are just recently starting to come under the jurisdiction of ingredient disclosure laws and regulation? Sounds crazy, but it’s true. This means that for a long time, companies have been able to create their own definitions of what’s “safe” for consumers. Women’s Voices for the Earth estimates that “between 80,000 and 85,000 chemicals are in use in the environment in the United States, yet only about 200 of these chemicals have been thoroughly tested for safety.”[3]

At Seventh Generation, we believe you have a right to know what’s in the products you use around your homes and families each day. We continue to team up with like-minded brands, partners and organizations championing transparency to fight for ingredient disclosure across the cleaning industry and beyond. That’s also why organizations like Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, a nonprofit dedicated to breast cancer awareness and prevention, work to educate women about the link between potentially harmful ingredients and breast cancer, which can be surprising at first. Here are some of their top tips:

  • Read ingredient lists—When you’re unsure about a product’s ingredients, turn to great resources like EWG or SmartLabel to learn more about what’s inside.    
  • Eat Clean—Buy food that’s fresh and hormone-free (and organic, if possible) to reduce ingesting pesticides, chemicals, and added hormones.[4]
  • Wash Your Hands—Proper hand-washing habits help wash away germs, so do it more! If you have sensitive skin, look for fragrance-free products, which will help you stay away from fragrance allergens.
  • Become a label detective—Scrutinize labels and consider how products are presented.
  • Protect your body’s most sensitive areas—Give extra attention to ingredients for products that go in and on your body: lotions, fragrances, and especially feminine care products like tampons and pads.

If you want to go deeper into the link between avoiding chemicals of concern and breast cancer prevention, check out BCPP’s thorough Glossary of Exposures.

Change is coming. 2017 was a victorious year for ingredient transparency, and the momentum is only growing stronger. On May 24th, Congresswomen Grace Meng (D-NY) introduced legislation that would require ingredient labeling on feminine care products. Then, on October 15th, Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation that will require cleaning companies to disclose intentionally added ingredients online by 2020, and on packaging by 2021. Seventh Generation is proud to have been at the forefront of these conversations through our #comeclean campaign. But we’re especially proud to have lead by example.

Get Involved—What Can I Do?

We know that sometimes, it’s hard to know where to begin in taking action and we’re here to help. Small changes can have a big impact and together we can help build a more transparent world for future generations.

  • Stay informed—Find trust-worthy resources and read up on the issues you most value.
  • Connect with others. If you’re passionate about cancer prevention or ingredient disclosure, you are not alone. Use social media to find your community.
  • Tweet your state and local representatives—draw their attention to what matters to you.
  • Look for brands voluntarily listing their ingredients on packaging, especially within industries that don’t legally require it. Seventh Generation offers a wide range of feminine care products that list ingredients right on the package, so you can be informed about what you’re purchasing.  
  • If you can, consider putting your dollars into the fight:
  • Visit Breast Cancer Prevention Partners’ Action Center

Above all, stay engaged, share what you know, and remain hopeful. There are no problems we can’t solve if we work together. As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

[1] http://www.breastcancer.org/symptoms/understand_bc/statistics

[2] https://www.bcpp.org/our-work/exposures-to-avoid/

[3] https://www.womensvoices.org/about/why-a-womens-organization/

[4] https://www.bcpp.org/our-work/tips-for-prevention/