By William Rivers Pitt, TruthOut.org
Two years ago, the breast cancer organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure came desperately close to imploding when it announced that it was cancelling its grants to Planned Parenthood…All over the country, women raised seven shades of scalding hell over Komen’s backward priorities, and the organization took a fundraising hit from which it is still attempting to recover.
Flash forward to this week, right in the middle of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and Komen has once again stepped on a land mine it planted in its own path. (They have) teamed up with Baker Hughes…to paint 1,000 fracking drill bits pink in an effort they claimed will “serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting research, treatment, screening, and education to help find the cures for this disease.”
They’ve called it “Doing Our BIT for the Cure.” No, really.
…The organization Breast Cancer Action denounced the Komen/Baker Hughes drill bit collaboration as “pinkwashing,” a term they originally coined which is defined as, “A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.”
…Breast Cancer Action said in a statement, “Pink drill bits are a pinkwashing publicity stunt. Fracking is a toxic process – at least 25% of the more than 700 chemicals used in fracking are linked to cancer. By taking money from these companies and giving them permission to use your name, you are complicit in a practice that endangers women’s health.
“You have created a perfect profit cycle whereby Baker Hughes contributes to causing the very disease you raise money to cure. This is unacceptable to us. Our health is not for sale.”
…Almost 3 billion gallons of oil industry wastewater have been illegally dumped into central California aquifers that supply drinking water and farming irrigation, according to state documents obtained by the Center for Biological Diversity…(T)esting found high levels of arsenic, thallium and nitrates – contaminants sometimes found in oil industry wastewater – in water-supply wells near these waste-disposal operations…Some studies show that even low-level exposure to arsenic in drinking water can compromise the immune system’s ability to fight illness…
(T)he long-term threat posed by the unlawful wastewater disposal may be even more devastating. Benzene, toluene and other harmful chemicals used in fracking fluid are routinely found in flowback water coming out of oil wells in California, often at levels hundreds of times higher than what is considered safe, and this flowback fluid is sent to wastewater disposal wells. Underground migration of chemicals like benzene can take years…
Komen reacted to the criticism by claiming, “The evidence to this point does not establish a connection between fracking and breast cancer” — the same dodge successfully deployed by the tobacco companies.
Pink cigarettes, brought to you by Komen and Phillip Morris:
“Let’s Help Breast Cancer Go Up in Smoke!”
I really wish I was trying to be funny…