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Celebrate “Pinktober” with a free movie screening

It’s that time of year again… we’re drowning in pumpkin spice and pink ribbons. Each October, companies from the NFL to KFC use Breast Cancer Awareness Month to engage in “pinkwashing.”

Companies urge us to “shop for the cure” by selling products slapped with pink ribbons. But many times, corporations get much more out of these promotions than breast cancer-related charities do. Often, a shockingly low percentage of the price paid for the product ends up in the hands of an organization fighting cancer. For instance, a 2013 analysis found only 8% of money spent on pink NFL merchandise went to cancer research. Sometimes pink ribbon products even contain ingredients linked to increased cancer risk.

Before you buy pink ribbon merchandise, please check out Breast Cancer Action’s “4 Questions Before You Buy Pink.” It’s one of the resources available through their Think Before You Pink project.

Happily, this October, there’s a Breast Cancer Awareness month promotion I can get behind. You can view the award-winning documentary “STINK!” for free online all month.

“STINK!” follows filmmaker Jon Whelan’s quest to find out what chemicals are hiding in a pair of foul-smelling pajamas he ordered for his daughter. Along the way, he meets Brandon Silk, a teenager with a life-threatening allergy to fragrance chemicals, and public health advocates, including our director Andy Igrejas. He even meets Cal Dooley, top lobbyist for the American Chemistry Council.

In the end, he learns the sad truth that many products on store shelves, especially those containing the ingredient “fragrance,” aren’t safe. Dubbed “the movie the chemical industry doesn’t want you to see,” I highly recommend it.