Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Scaling mountains in the fight against breast cancer

Photo by Anna Langova
It's a bit late, but if you haven't made your end of year charitable donation yet, may I suggest giving to the Breast Cancer Fund? 

2014 was a year of loss for my family. Breast cancer claimed the life of my husband's first wife and step-daughters' mother. Prostate cancer stole the life of my husband's brother. Obviously, our hearts bleed and we want to see an end to this hideous disease that affects all of us. 

The Breast Cancer Fund differs from traditional cancer research charities in that the folks there are focused on prevention. Rather than slapping on a bunch of pink ribbons on products that actually can cause breast cancer, they use their resources to 
  • Protect workers. Few studies have been done in regards to workplace exposures and the risk of breast cancer. BCF launched a focus study group that brought a diverse group of stakeholders to the table, including scientists, advocates, workers, and decision-makers to discuss occupational exposures in manufacturing in a variety of service industries, such as:
    • nail salon workers and cleaning staff
    • health care workers
    • agriculture workers
    • military personnel and first responders (San Francisco firefighters, for example, expressed concern about the number of premenopausal breast cancer cases among their ranks.)
  • Building a cancer-free economy. Chosen by the Garfield Foundation and in partnership with the Lowell Center for Sustainable Production and BlueGreen Alliance, the BCF is helping to lead a new collaborative initiative -- the Cancer Free Economy Network. They are looking to engage over 100 advocates, scientists, sustainable businesses, foundations and other leaders working on cancer, toxics, green chemistry, and clean production. By searching for ways to lessen our economy's dependence on chemicals suspected to cause cancer and chronic diseases, they will shift investment towards products and processes that improve health and well-being for everyone.
Image by Claudette Gallant
  • Demanding cosmetics without cancer. Look at the shelves in most stores and what do you see? Cancer-causing chemicals in the majority of the cosmetics and personal care products. In 2014, however, there were significant changes to this picture because of pressure from consumers like you and me. Avon is phasing out the use of triclosan in its products, further decreasing the presence of this strong antibacterial and endocrine disruptor in our lives. Additionally, Johnson & Johnson committed to producing safer baby products. They heard our concerns and are reformulating in 57 different countries. 
  •  Keeping toxic chemicals out of our bodies. Modern food-production has opened major avenues of exposure to environmental carcinogens and endocrine-disrupting chemicals. Pesticides sprayed on crops, antibiotics used on poultry, and hormones given to cattle expose us to toxic chemicals linked to breast cancer. The Breast Cancer Fund is advocating at the federal level and in California for policies that make breast cancer prevention a public health priority. Notably, supporting the passage of the Ban Poisonous Additives (BPA) Act of 2014 which would keep the toxic chemical bispenol A out of our food and our bodies.
  • Scaling mountains for Prevention. The Breast Cancer Fund mountain expeditions raise awareness and money for the cause. In 2015, they will climb mountains in the Himalayas, New Hampshire, California, and Maryland. For more information, click here

Of course, BCF cannot do it without the generosity of supporters like you. Please consider giving to, what I consider, the best cancer-related charity out there.

The above information was derived from the Breast Cancer Fund newsletter, dated November 20, 2014.

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