Published on Wednesday, 01 February 2012 09:03
We have been very harsh critics of the Susan G. Komen corporate money making machine for a very long time. Komen has constantly demonstrated that they actually care very little about finding a cure for breast cancer and are more concerned about their growing corporate relationships/funders than anything.
Today’s CNN story regarding Komen’s decision to drop funding for breast cancer screening services provided by Planned Parenthood though is truly the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It is time that women decide that we are no longer going to be blinded by the “PINK” and only support those groups that are actually committed to finding a cure and ensuring prevention of breast cancer.
As African American women we know that when one of us gets breast cancer that we are more than likely to have the more aggressive form of it. This aggressive form of breast cancer kills at much higher rates than other forms. In addition, to make matters worse, there have been multiple studies that demonstrate a clear disparity in breast cancer screenings and early detection of breast cancer for women of color.
At the same time, many women of color are very likely to lack health insurance and therefore lack the ability to access even the most basic of healthcare services. Many women of color, and poor women in general, depend on organizations such as Planned Parenthood for accessing basic women’s health services such as breast cancer screenings. If it was not for organizations such as Planned Parenthood many women would be forced to depend only on self exam and the use of Emergency Departments to attempt to access screening services.
This politically motivated decision by Susan G. Komen clearly demonstrates that their organization actually cares very little about stopping breast cancer. In fact we would argue that this decision demonstrates just how culturally deaf and borderline racist this organization is.
We want to remind readers that this is not a new concern with Komen. Instead it is a culmination of years of decisions to value their big money corporate donors over women’s health. For example we wrote about a story in Forbes magazine that clearly demonstrate efforts by Komen to fund studies that downplayed the connection between chemicals and breast cancer. Mother Jones wrote a detailed article of how Komen was helping corporate friends by helping them fight off growing and overwhelming evidence of the connection between BPA exposure and breast cancer. Unfortunately there are far too many of these type of stories to list, but you get the picture.
This decision as outlined by the CNN story on the decision to stop providing screening funds for Planned Parenthood also takes us to another issue we have with Komen that at some point must be said. As you read the CNN story you eventually come to paragraphs that discuss Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of the Komen Foundation, who created this organization after the death of her sister Susan G. Komen.
“The Komen Foundation did not respond to repeated requests for more information about the decision.
Nancy Brinker, the founder and CEO of the Komen Foundation, was a political appointee of the George W. Bush Administration, in which she served as U.S. Ambassador to Hungary and as Chief of Protocol. Susan G. Komen was Brinker's sister.”
Did that make the light go on? You see it seems to us that Nancy has used her position for personal gain and is willing to place politics before women’s health. Now we know that there are those that will be upset that we wrote this, but we don’t care. The truth is that Nancy and Komen are not and will not be about a “cure” but instead will continue to allow her and the organization to be used a political and corporate tool that places profit over women’s health. Not sure that Nancy and Komen are all about politics? Just read the following quote from the same CNN story:
“But the decision was applauded by some in the anti-abortion community, which has long called for the dismantling of Planned Parenthood.
Tony Perkins, a major social conservative leader who heads the Family Research Council, quickly praised the Komen Foundation's decision Tuesday as “good news” for women seeking help with breast cancer, as well as for the “lives of many unborn babies.”
"Susan G. Komen can chose to stop subsidizing the abortion giant, surely Congress can redirect its resources to those helping women, not making a profit off the lives of unborn children," Perkins said in a statement. “
Look the time has come that women understand that Komen and Nancy are not about a cure. Instead they are about a “race” for the money. They are concerned about a “race” for personal power. They are about a “race” to deny women the right to control their own healthcare decisions. Enough is enough and it is time to stop this absurd pinkwashing that we have allowed to go on for far to long.
Finally we close with an open remark to Nancy. Nancy you are not and will not be the only person to lose a loved one to breast cancer. Just because your sister died of breast cancer does not mean you get to control and manipulate efforts to prevent and cure this horrible disease. Nancy, no one elected you to speak on behalf of all women. If you want to play politics then play politics. But stop playing games and politics with our lives.
Published on Tuesday, 31 January 2012 12:12
It is only January and this may be the story of the year. Simina Mistreanu writes for The Missourian about University of Missouri Professor Frederick vom Saal’s ongoing research and advocacy to remove endocrine disruptors, such as BPA, from consumer products that we use daily.
“For the past 20 years, much of MU biology professor Frederick vom Saal’s research, thoughts and time have converged into one point: trying to get endocrine disruptors — chemicals that interfere with the hormone system and can cause obesity, infertility and cancer — out of daily use.
He's accomplished the laboratory part, which resulted in dozens of scientific papers outlining the negative effects of bisphenol-A, an endocrine disruptor. These chemicals are everywhere in the environment: in plastics, food cans, clothing fabrics, furniture and household and beauty products.
Now he's doing the communicator's part, trying to convince U.S. authorities to regulate the chemicals.
In mid-September, vom Saal was among 20 scientists who met in a closed session in St. Louis to discuss why, in the face of what they see as mountainous evidence, U.S. regulatory agencies such as the Food and Drug Administration don't ban endocrine-disrupting chemicals.
Vom Saal's work, and that of other scientists, has so far persuaded 11 states, Canada, China and the European Union to enact legislation prohibiting or restricting endocrine disruptors. Now he’s making further attempts to crack a tougher nut: the U.S. regulatory system.”
The article provides readers with one of the best overviews of the health and safety issues surrounding endocrine disruptors such as BPA. Simina does a wonderful job of providing readers with a clear understanding of the fight over BPA and just how far corporations and their trade organizations are willing to go to block this type of research. Here is a telling quote from the article:
“A few months later, when the MU professors were preparing the publication of a second article on BPA, they received a visit from someone at Dow Chemical Co., one of the leading BPA manufacturers.
Vom Saal has repeatedly described that visit in media interviews over the years: The Dow Chemical representative allegedly asked the scientists not to publish their paper unless approved by the Chemical Manufacturers Association, offering MU instead a research budget for a new study.
Vom Saal and Welshons refused and reported the visit as inappropriate and potentially illegal in a letter to the FDA, the MU chancellor and the media. Dow Chemical's spokesman has repeatedly explained that the incident was just an "enormous misunderstanding."”
All we can say is WOW. We are sure DOW Chemicals will be on full spin today and we are not sure there is any way to spin that section. But we are sure DOW will try.
The article though is not the only aspect of this story that deserves accolades. The Missourian also includes supplemental materials that provide readers with a timeline of the issue, how BPA effects the cells of a fetus and how to avoid BPA. These supplemental materials are amazing and worth reading and sharing.
We want to acknowledge the Missourian for running this article and supplemental materials. It is journalism such as this that will make the difference in efforts to restrict/ban the use of BPA in consumer products.
We want to recognize that Dr. vom Saal, Simina Mistreanu and The Missourian as our first Coily Heroes for 2012. Dr. vom Saal’s dedication and determination on this issue deserve our gratitude.
You can read the entire article by following the link to The Missourian website. Please share this information with friends and family so they can take the necessary actions to remove products that use BPA from their daily lives.