San Francisco, CA – Breast Cancer Action today thanked Susan G. Komen and Baker Hughes for partnering on the most ludicrous piece of pink sh*t they’ve seen all year – 1,000 shiny pink drill bits. BCAction hailed this partnership as the most egregious example of “pinkwashing” they’ve ever seen and heartily lauded Komen and Baker Hughes for doing their bit to increase women’s risk of breast cancer with their toxic fracking chemicals. BCAction commended Baker Hughes and Komen for their ingenious pinkwashing profit cycle, whereby Baker Hughes helps fuel breast cancer while Komen raises millions of dollars to try to cure it.
“With all the toxic chemicals Baker Hughes is pumping into the ground, we thought they didn’t care about women’s health. However, this partnership with Komen makes it clear where both organizations stand on this issue,” said Karuna Jaggar, executive director of Breast Cancer Action.
Breast Cancer Action coined the term pinkwashing as part of their Think Before You Pink® campaign to describe a company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but also produces, manufactures and/or sells products linked to the disease. Over 700 chemicals are commonly used in the process of drilling and fracking for oil and gas. At least 25% of these chemicals increase our risk of cancer.
“Komen has been notably absent from all discussions about fracking and breast cancer, but with these pink drill bits they are thrusting this issue onto the national stage,” Jaggar said. “Now people will learn how fracking relies on carcinogens like formaldehyde and benzene. Personally, I love a good dose of benzene with my pink ribbon.”
As the story explains, when the pink drill bits are shipped in their boxes (and, yes, the boxes are pink, too), they come packed with information about “breast health facts, breast cancer risk factors and screening tips.”
And exactly whose breast cancer awareness quotient will be bolstered out there on the well pad? Inside the trailers and the trucks? Down on the drilling floor? Up on the derrick?
“The hope is that the roughneck who cracks open that container learns a little more about the disease that afflicts 200,000 women per year.”
Here’s what I’m wagering that roughneck does not learn from the literature shipped with his drill bit this October: I’m betting he does not read about the recent study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control that found dangerous levels of benzene in the urine of workers in the unconventional (aka fracking) oil and gas industry. Benzene is a proven human carcinogen.
I would wager a bet that most of the people that work those tracking rigs are males. This is a danish study from 2000. It's headline? Elevated risk for male breast cancer after occupational exposure to gasoline and vehicular combustion products. That includes Benzine. From the Ecowatch link above:
In addition to leukemia, benzene is also a suspected cause of, well, breast cancer.
Benzene exposure is known to induce breast cancer in laboratory animals and is modestly associated with breast cancer among women. But the best evidence we have for the benzene-breast cancer link comes from studies of young male workers exposed on the job. Male breast cancer is clearly linked to occupational exposure to benzene.
So, maybe those pamphlets really will come in handy in the man camps.
The carcinogenic dangers of fracking begin at the job site and extend far beyond. They include silica dust (a lung carcinogen); volatile organic air pollutants (linked to lymphoma); radioactive wastes, such as radon and radium (lung and breast cancers again); and drinking water contaminants, such as arsenic and brominated byproducts (both bladder carcinogens). Indeed, cancer hazards are present at every stage of the drilling, fracking, processing, and distribution process.
But hey! They donated money to hand paint Pink Drill bits to promote awareness of a cancer that they help cause!