Mary Brune remembers the exact moment she got angry. She was nursing her baby Olivia, who had just turned six months old, while watching the evening news. A study of breast milk from 19 states found that all the milk samples were contaminated with perchorate, a component of rocket fuel.
“I’m sitting there on the couch nursing my daughter and I was stunned,” Mary said. “I thought breast milk was as pure as it came as a food source for children, to find out there’s all sorts of stuff in there… I was up all night thinking about it.” Mary didn’t just get mad; she got together with other new mothers and launched a nationwide effort to get toxic chemicals out of breast milk – called Making Our Milk Safe (MOMS).
Andrea Martin launched the Breast Cancer Fund from her living room after her second breast cancer diagnosis. Today, Andrea’s legacy lives on in the only national organization focused solely on preventing breast cancer by eliminating environmental causes of the disease.
So what do breast milk and breast cancer have to do with safe cosmetics? Carcinogens and other harmful chemicals; which do not belong in the environment, in our breast milk, or in the products we slather on our bodies every day. Yet one third of personal care products contain chemicals linked to cancer – even products made by those billion-dollar companies (Revlon, Estee Lauder, Avon) that put pink ribbons on their products to convince you they care about breast cancer (see chapter six, ‘pinkwashing,’ in my book “Not Just a Pretty Face“). But hey, let’s not just get mad or scared, let’s agitate like hell – like Mary, like Andrea – and take our bodies back from the corporate polluters.
Tonight I got to share the stage at the Women’s Building in San Francisco with Mary and two of my other favorite s-heroes, Dr. Sarah Janssen, MD, PhD, MPH, and Lisa Archer of the Breast Cancer Fund and national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics . These women are changing the world, and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Join up with MOMS at www.safemilk.org and help prevent breast cancer here .