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Pink Ribbon Consumer Alert

PHOTO: Every October, hundreds of products are sold bearing breast cancer awareness ribbons, but are proceeds from the sale of those products actually going to help eradicate the disease? Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Ashely Reed/Wikimedia.
PHOTO: Every October, hundreds of products are sold bearing breast cancer awareness ribbons, but are proceeds from the sale of those products actually going to help eradicate the disease? Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Ashely Reed/Wikimedia.
October 9, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. - From snacks to bags, pizza boxes to pajamas, 'tis the season when pink-ribbon products pile up on store shelves across Arkansas for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

One group, however, says if the goal is to eventually eradicate breast cancer, it's important to Think Before You Pink. Karuna Jaggar, executive director of watchdog organization Breast Cancer Action, says while many purchases do benefit breast-cancer programs, marketers can put a pink ribbon on anything without actually donating any money to the cause.

"The public does care about breast cancer, and they should," says Jaggar. "But what needs to happen is they need this opportunity to make sure their goodwill and charitable dollar is doing what they think it's doing."

Jaggar recommends taking the time to find out how much money, if any, will go to breast cancer organizations. She says potential donors should also ask which organizations receive money, how they use it, whether or not there is a cap on a company's donations, and whether the product involved contains ingredients that are known or suspected links to cancer.

Jaggar says the Think Before You Pink campaign is in no way an effort to discourage contributions. She stresses the goal is to empower consumers to feel confident.

"If a pink-ribbon product doesn't meet your own standards of a charitable contribution," she advises, "we always encourage people to give directly to a breast cancer organization whose work they believe is really most essential and most powerful to addressing the breast-cancer epidemic."

Deborah Courson Smith/Deb Courson Smith, Public News Service - WY