These Pink Ribbon Products Are a Total Waste of Money

pink ribbonAs reliably as the shamrock marks St. Patrick's Day and the jack-o-lantern Halloween, Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October brings out the avalanche of pink products that claim to support a cure.

And many of the products have a connection to wellness that's shaky at best. A hair straightener? Face-blotting papers? Wineglasses? (That last one is especially strange because alcohol actually raises your risk for breast cancer.)

Worst of all, while some of these products are truly aimed at making a difference to women, others are capitalizing on people's good intentions. Breast cancer sucks, right? So why not choose the pink ... whatever. Because much of the time, these products donate a very small percentage of their proceeds, if any, to breast cancer organizations. It's called "pinkwashing" ... and it's a crass move.


Talking Rain Beverages, for example, is promoting a special pink drink tied to breast cancer fundraising. Guess how much of your purchase price goes to breast cancer research? Twenty-five cents per case. Assuming a dozen in a case, that's a little more than two cents per bottle, which retails for 69 cents.

Even worse are the products that sport the pink ribbon or simply a coat of pink paint (and there are thousands of them) and vaguely promise "a donation" or to support "awareness." Please. I never once have seen a pink ribbon and thought, Hey, I haven't done a breast self-exam in awhile ... better get to that when I get home. And "a donation" could mean $5; if a company won't say exactly how much of a product's cost is going to breast cancer charities, then you are probably getting taken.

Breast Cancer Action, a group which fights the "pinkwashing" of the breast cancer cause and urges research into the causes of breast cancer, sponsors the "Think Before You Pink" public awareness campaign. They've got a list of critical questions to ask yourself before you shell out for a pink product thinking that you're helping the cause.

Bottom line? If you really and truly want to support research against breast cancer, or want to support women going through it, there are a host of organizations that would welcome your money. Check out Charity Navigator's list of the top 20 charities for breast cancer. If you like pink, by all means go crazy buying up pink everything this month ... but don't think you're curing breast cancer one purchase at a time.


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