BCPP Diaries

Happy Earth Day! BCPP Spring 2022 Bulletin

Happy Earth Day! BCPP Spring 2022 Bulletin

BCPP Spring Q1 2022 Bulletin

Happy Earth Day!

At BCPP, earth day is every day. And we’ve been busy as ever this first quarter, protecting people and the planet from toxic chemical exposure! Check out our BCPP Bulletin for updates below and please consider making a donation to sustain our life-saving work.

Safer Beauty for All Call In Day of Action April 27

Win a new Naturepedic mattress

Our partners in prevention at Naturepedic are here to hook you up! Naturepedic is passionate about providing Safe Healthy Sleep™ for the whole family. This Earth Day and for the remainder of the month, every $25 donated to BCPP, you’ll gain 1 entry to win a brand-new organic mattress (valued up to $4,299!!).  The EOS Classic Organic Mattress combines customizable comfort and organic luxury to deliver your best night’s sleep. Naturepedic has eliminated toxic materials like flame retardants, PFAS ‘forever chemicals’, and polyurethane foam from their line of certified organic natural mattresses, supporting a holistic lifestyle while protecting the environment. For every additional $25 you gift, you gain an additional entry. Give & Enter to Win Today

Safer Beauty for All Call In Day of Action April 27

SaferBeauty4All: Week of Action

We’re building momentum for our historic federal Safer Beauty Bill Package, a package of 4 bills that will 1) ban the worst ingredients, 2) disclose secret fragrance and flavor ingredients, 3) better protect women of color & salon workers, and 4) help companies get the supply chain information they need to make safer products. In January, we held two advocacy trainings: one designed for NGO leaders, community members, salon workers, nurses, breast cancer survivors, activists, and scientist spanning 16 states plus Canada, and another tailored for clean beauty companies. Starting April 25th, we will hold a week of action, enlisting the support of YOU and our NGO and business partners, to build broad-based awareness of and advocacy for the important bill package. This will include our first national Call-In Day on April 27th. Get Involved 

HBO Not So Pretty

#NotSoPretty now streaming on HBO Max 

We are thrilled that HBO Max just launched a four-episode docuseries called Not So Pretty that features BCPP’s very own Janet Nudelman.  Each episode ends with a qr code directing viewers to our action resource page! Make sure you check it out and tell a friend.

CA Bills: Get PFAS out of Textiles and Cosmetics

2 New California PFAS Bills

BCPP is continuing our leadership role to ban toxic PFAS from our everyday environment. Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of chemicals that are both toxic and highly persistent, earning them the name “forever chemicals.” They have been linked to numerous health concerns, including breast cancer, other cancers, hormone disruption, kidney and liver damage, thyroid disease, developmental toxicity, and immune system impairment. PFAS are still used in personal care and beauty products (e.g., lotions, cleansers, hair care products, and make-up) and in textiles (e.g., apparel, footwear, bedding, drapes, and upholstery).

This year, BCPP is helping lead two state legislative initiatives, the Safer Clothing and Textiles Act (AB1817) which would ban the sale in CA of any textile articles containing PFAS, and the No PFAS in Cosmetics Act (AB2771) which would ban PFAS chemicals from beauty and personal care products sold in California.

We’ve banned PFAS in firefighter foam, food packaging and kids’ products – now it’s time to get them out of the clothes we wear and the products we slather on our bodies and our babies!

BCPP 30th Birthday: Faces of Prevention

BCPP’s 30th Birthday, 30 Faces of Prevention

Happy Birthday, BCPP! 2022 marks 30 years since BCPP’s founding. All year long, we’ll be reflecting on our many victories that have shifted laws and the marketplace to better protect us and the lives of people we love. During the month of March, we celebrated 30 Faces of Prevention: 30 individuals who’ve demonstrated their commitment to breast cancer prevention over the last 30 years. We went through the archives to celebrate legacy-bearers, made sure to honor star fundraisers and Board members, highlighted our science community and celebrity endorsers, and showcased newer movers and shakers in the breast cancer prevention movement. And, with the generosity of a matching $10k gift from our longtime partner Klean Kanteen, we raised over $26,000 in honor of BCPP’s 30th anniversary. 

Outdoor Events for Breast Cancer Prevention

Above and Beyond: Ridge Hike and Sacred Treks

We are so excited to share that our annual Ridge Hike for Prevention and Sacred Treks: Patagonia concluded in a smashing success. After a 2-year hiatus, Ridge Hike organizer and breast cancer survivor Caroline White convened with her team to hold our first springtime Ridge Hike. Over 260 Danville residents gathered for the local event and raised $180,000 and counting for prevention. On the other side of the equator, longtime BCPP supporter and owner of Cattara Adventures with Insight Cathy Ann Taylor led an adventurous group of 10 through the hills of Patagonia. The small but mighty team also surpassed their fundraising goals, raising over $86,000 for prevention. We celebrate these trail heroes and partners in prevention!

Curious about what’s next for our outdoor explorers? Save the date for our annual New England Peaks for Prevention, September 9-11 and Peak Hike, October 15. Events 

Burger King

Burger King Victory

Fast food giants like Burger King use toxic PFAS ‘forever’ chemicals in food wrappers to make them grease-resistant—and when people eat food contaminated with PFAS, they absorb these harmful chemicals. This past quarter, we celebrated the victory of the Burger King campaign in conjunction with our partners at Mind the Store. Thanks to your support and letters to Burger King, Burger King will phase out PFAS from its packaging worldwide by the end of 2025.

Diet and Nutrition

Healthy Living Tips from a Scientist

Did you catch the new blog by Dr. Elisa V. Bandera, MD, PhD on Diet, Nutrition and Breast Cancer? “The good news is that this healthy lifestyle can prevent not only cancer but other chronic diseases and promote healthier aging. It is our best investment for our future selves and our families.” Read the Blog

Dr. Sharima Rasanayagam

Saying Farewell to Dr. Rasanayagam, BCPP’s Director of Science

10 years ago, Dr. Sharima Rasanayagam, Ph.D., joined BCPP as our founding Director of Science. For over a decade, she spearheaded BCPP’s science efforts, ensuring that all of BCPP’s activities were backed by credible, peer-reviewed science. In addition to the publication of the historic Paths to Prevention, we celebrate many other achievements during Sharima’s tenure with BCPP. It is with a heavy heart that we say goodbye – but we are thrilled for her new chapter, joining the California Breast Cancer Research Program at UCOP as the Program Officer on Environmental Health and Policy Science. While this new position is not with BCPP, Sharima will continue to work with all of us to implement our shared vision for a future without preventable breast cancer. Read More

To both replace and build our staff, BCPP is seeking to hire not only a new Director of Science, but also a Senior Engagement & Partnerships Manager and Senior Organizing Manager. We’re Hiring! 

 

As always, thank you for your generous support in BCPP’s efforts to reduce toxic exposures linked to breast cancer. Donate

BCPP’s 30 for 30

BCPP’s 30 for 30

Spotlighting 30 Faces of Prevention from the last 30 Years

For our 30th birthday, we honor 30 individuals who’ve demonstrated their commitment to breast cancer prevention over the last 30 years!

Amy Ana

Amy Ana
Loan officer, pharmacist, mother/wife

Since my cancer wasn’t genetic, like 90% of all breast cancer cases, I am convinced it was caused by what I had been exposed to. I have joined the fight to prevent breast cancer so that, together, we can make an impact from my story and the thousands of stories like mine. We all have a role to play if we want to create change that will result in prevention. I hope that you will join me in the critical movement to prevent breast cancer, which affects even young mothers like myself. Our opportunity for change is NOW.

Linda Birnbaum Dr. Linda Birnbaum

Dr. Linda Birnbaum
Former Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program

What an honor for me to be able to celebrate Breast Cancer Prevention Partner’s leadership in science policy and advocacy to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals. As a daughter of a breast cancer survivor I have no problem with treatment and cures but how much better to prevent breast cancer in the first place. While we can’t change our genes, we can change our environment! As the 2012 recipient of the BCPP’s heroes award, I applaud BCPP for focusing on what my grandma always told me, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/linda-birnbaum-birnbaum-387a2125/

Merijane Block Merijane Block

Merijane Block
Former program manager, BCPP, cancer support group facilitator, much-loved friend to so many, Contributor to Art.Rage.Us. May 10, 1953 – February 28, 2017

Merijane Block lived with cancer for 25 years, 20 of them Stage IV. She worked for organizations focused on education and advocacy for women with cancer, including BCPP. When diagnosed in 1991 with breast cancer, Merijane started a lifelong journey of connecting with and sharing support with others. She was an artist and poet who used her writing to bring skill, wisdom, and insight to the cancer journey. In April 1992, this poem came to her one week after her second surgery. It was included in Art.Rage.Us., Art and Writing by Women with Breast Cancer:

22 April 1992
Everything takes longer
than you think it should
or thought it would.
Except your life.

Senator Cory Booker Senator Cory Booker

Senator Cory Booker
U.S. Senator of New Jersey

There is nothing we cannot accomplish when we lead with love and inspire it in others. When it comes to breast cancer, BCPP’s unique leadership, light and love work to prevent this disease. We must understand the grave disparities that are affecting black women. Black women are significantly more likely than white women to get breast cancer and at an earlier age. One of the reasons why is because of systemic racism. The number one indicator of whether you live around toxics, drink dirty water, breathe dirty air, have access only to unhealthy foods and food deserts, even living around superfund sites is race. We know that environmental injustice and racism is one of the principal drivers of disease illness and cancers in our country. We cannot address this issue unless we name it, know it, and make ourselves determined to combat it. This is why I am inspired by BCPP focusing on the injustice pushed upon Black women facing racial discrimination in our systems from health care to economic justice to environmental justice to even encounters with the police. All of these things create environments that are wholly unhealthy to mind body and spirit. If we are to truly prevent breast cancer we must focus together on understanding that Black’s women’s injustice is our injustice. So thank you, BCPP, for your light, your leadership, and for your love. This organization inspires me in my work and may we all ignite the light and the love of our nation to end this injustice and make real the promise of America that we should be a nation of life liberty and justice for all!

IG: @corybooker

Chris and Jen Carr Jenn & Chris Carr

Jenn & Chris Carr
Shasta Mountain Guides, BCPP Heroes

Prevention is important to us because we believe the planet can be a healthier place for all of us to not just survive but thrive. At first glance mountain climbing is about personal achievement, but if you take a deeper look at what we do as a company it is really about connecting with others and nature. We believe in Breast Cancer Prevention Partners’ mission wholeheartedly. We also believe that business can be used to improve our world. We see the difference Climb Against the Odds makes in the lives of the climbers first hand and we believe that the funds raised are being used to make the world a healthier place for all. It is fabulous to us that what we do as guides can be used for the greater good.

Nothing significant is ever accomplished by one human being. We each have an important role to play in progressing the prevention of breast cancer. BCPP is fostering change built on a scientific foundation that has the potential to reduce or remove breast cancer for generations to come.

IG: @shastaguide

 

Deb Cole
Retired systems analyst, the founder and director of New England Peaks for Prevention

I am a 17-year breast cancer survivor, a member of the 2009 Climb against the Odds team, an avid hiker, kayaker, master gardener, basket weaver and most importantly the mom of 2 beautiful young women.

Prevention is important to me because of my daughters, my friends and my family. I have seen how breast cancer and cancer in general destroys families. I lost my own Dad to cancer when I was young, and recently I lost a dear friend to breast cancer. I saw how my disease impacted my daughters as they went through the experience with me. I know we can do much better in preventing these horrible diseases and the work of BCPP is vital for both educating the public and changing the policy to keep us all safe, from toxins lurking in our everyday environment. I think everyone should support the work of BCPP because we all want a better future for the next generation, one where we can trust the air, the water and everything we use in our daily lives – because of the important work they do. People should support BCPP because they are the ones who not only talk the talk but they walk the walk too. We would all like to see cancer eradicated for future generations and the way to do that is through prevention. Bravo to BCPP for 30 years of exemplary work in the field of prevention.

Wanda Cole-Frieman Wanda Cole-Frieman

Wanda Cole-Frieman
Human Resources Executive – CommonSpirit Health, BCPP Board Member

I want to be a part of something larger than me. A breast cancer diagnosis is devasting and fatal for far too many women. Prevention means healthier communities and I hope that I am doing a small part to help.

BCPP recognizes that breast cancer is a social justice issue. The organization employs science and policy to move the needle to make our communities healthier. We should all support BCPP”s efforts as the work is so integral to the health of our collective environment and our sustainability for the future.

David Cooper David Cooper

David Cooper
Husband, father, physician, regular person, someone who has breast cancer.

Like most of us, I have witnessed many people live with, struggle with, and die from cancer. Some were family, some friends, all were someone’s loved one. I happen to have breast cancer, but all cancers are frightening and can be awful. While cures, if possible, are wonderful, prevention would be so much better.

BCPP is working to identify environmental causes of breast cancer, and to eliminate our exposure to them. When they succeed, we can know what to avoid to limit our risk. Even better, BCPP can lobby to eliminate carcinogens from our diet, products we use, and our environment. This work can make breast cancer, and all of the sadness and loss that it brings, a rare disease, rather than the all-too-common curse that it is. That is a cause that I believe we all can support.

La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson (2)

La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson
Daughter, sister, wife, mother, writer, life coach.

My mother died of breast cancer when she was only 53 years old. I was a 17-year-old, high school junior. I made a decision that I would find out as much about this disease as possible and do my best to share that information with others. Prevention is the best medicine and once I discovered there were indeed things that increased risk (environmental carcinogens) and ways to reduce risk (early detection/screening, diet, stress) I was all in. The year my mother died changed my life and I have done what I could to prevent others from suffering the same loss.

It is simple. BCPP makes a difference and is the only organization focusing its energy and resources to PREVENTING breast cancer. The diagnosis of breast cancer brings with it a sense of powerlessness. BCPP empowers us to take action and gives hope that one day breast cancer will be something that “used to” happen to people.

Mia Davis Mia Davis

Mia Davis
Safety & Sustainability expert, Boundary-pusher for beauty industry, Activist, Ally, Reader, Thinker, Do-er, Mom, Friend, Animal-lover, Food and wine enthusiast

When we think with a solution mindset, prevention is really the only way forward. Stop breast cancer before it starts, whenever we can. Thinking of breast cancer as something strictly to be treated and cured isn’t going to get us where we all want to be. Likewise, the thinking the leads us to “ban” one toxic chemical or process at a time– that’s also not going to get us there. A holistic, prevention- focused approach will protect health and quality of living, allow for less heartache and pain, and more productive days and an overall healthier economy–and most importantly, more dinners with friends, more memories with families.

BCPP is the leading organization working on preventing breast cancer before it starts. We are living in a time when we need science-based guidance, critical thinking, and collective action to stop the use of toxic and unsustainable chemicals, materials and processes linked to cancer and reproductive harm. BCPP is here for that work, and helping to protect our children’s children.

Nancy Evans Nancy Evans

Nancy Evans
Health-Science writer, Breast-Cancer survivor and activist and an advocate for women’s health

Prevention is the only way to stop the epidemic of breast cancer and other cancers. Current treatment and “curative” measures employed by clinicians have limited efficacy and benefit the pharmaceutical companies and health care providers substantially more than they do the patients. Identifying and eliminating the causes would prove to be much more effective and economical. As long as we diagnose and treat cancer with a known causative agent (radiation) we will never achieve true prevention.

Prevention should be the primary focus on eliminating the growing epidemic of cancer in our society, not the costly “curative” treatment regimens that are currently in-use and only marginally effective in eliminating the disease. Identifying and eliminating the causes are the only logical means to get rid of this fatal foe.

Vivian Fan Vivian Fan and team

Vivian Fan
Daughter & Friend

As the daughter of a cancer survivor, I’ve seen first-hand how one’s environment can dictate one’s risk for the disease – even with the utmost of care. For me, prevention means accountability for those in power to provide a safer tomorrow for ourselves and our loved ones.

The amount BCPP has accomplished across multiple arenas is astounding. How many other organizations can boast dozens of laws passed year over year? How many other organizations can claim that they take major corporations to task and invoke change? All the while, how many can do so while creating advocates and partners at a national scale? In short, BCPP has a history entrenched in results.

Betsy Gordon Betsy Gordan

Betsy Gordon
Climb Against the Odds 2011, Sacred Treks 2012: Ladakh, Volunteer & Supporter, Funder of BCPP’s science work: The Falling Age of Puberty and State of the Evidence

Prevention matters to me because it saves lives. That’s the most important thing. Prevention makes sense to me and BCPP is doing the important work for us all. What they do is helping all of us live better, healthier lives, and protecting future generations too.

Janet Gray Janet Gray

Janet Gray, Ph.D.
Mother, grandmother, scientist, teacher

Prevention means healthier and less scary futures, especially for our children’s and grandchildren’s generations. Prevention means taking action to stop disease before it develops, and also to enhance the beauty and viability of the environment in which we all live.

BCPP is an incredible organization, small but mighty. Its work is science-based, community-oriented and powerfully impactful. I am so very proud to have worked with the staff of BCPP as a volunteer for over 15 years.

Ellen Kahn Ellen Kahn

Ellen Kahn
Long time board member, mother, wife, attorney

Prevention is key to stopping this disease; living with safer products will benefit all of us living on this planet.

I believe we have an obligation to take care of each other, our children, our grandchildren, and all those who come after. For 30 years BCPP has been at the forefront of creating safe products, eliminating toxic chemicals, advocating for legislation to ensure a safer future for of us, and translating the science so that we all understand that toxic chemicals are causing breast cancer. The important work of BCPP will help us protect ourselves and our children.

Mather Martin Andrea Martin

Mather Martin in honor of Andrea Martin
BCPP Supporter, BCPP Board Member, Founder Ravinett Strategies

I’ve been part of the BCPP community for most of my life. My mother Andrea Martin, a two-time breast cancer survivor, founded the Breast Cancer Fund in 1992 when I was nine years old. I remember my first job was stuffing envelopes with the organization’s inaugural fundraising letters. Thirty years later, I’m proud to be a donor, advocate and active member of this vital community. Please support BCPP so they may continue the journey that my mother so courageously embarked upon three decades ago.

Dr. Jasmine McDonald Faces of Prevention

Dr. Jasmine McDonald
Black mother, educator, author, scientist, doctor, BCPP Board Member, BCPP SAP Member

What is breast cancer prevention to me?
1. Life course strategies to reduce breast cancer risk through the mitigation and elimination of carcinogenic external exposures, especially those that can be eliminated by upstream macro-level factors. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners is critical to this goal. BCPP can impact and change the laws, regulations, and policies that harm Black women. For example, endocrine disruptor chemicals in hair care products, those commonly used by women of color, are associated with a host of adverse health outcomes. Yet, the onus to avoid these chemicals should not be on the individual but instead restricted by our laws.
2. Screening and early detection is available and achievable for every woman.
3. Improving overall survival for young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and are simultaneously raising the next generation.
Will you join me and support BCPP’s mission today? Together, let’s advance breast cancer prevention!

Alyssa Milano Alyssa Milano and Janet Nudelman

Alyssa Milano
Actress & Activist

“I’m Alyssa Milano and I support Breast Cancer Prevention Partners! I will go out on a limb and use my voice for things that I believe in. Originally, a California legislator contacted me and said, we have this bill, let me send you some information. And I have to tell you, when she sent me the information, I was appalled that there are so many chemicals in our cosmetics and our products – things like shampoos and deodorants! I didn’t understand why it was a state bill first of all. We should be eliminating all of these toxics from our products on a federal level, not just a state level. I think women’s health is really important. I think it’s an important thing to fight for. You know, having toxics in our cosmetics is just another example of how that fight needs to be fought – we just have to do a better job. We are very good in this country at being reactionary; we’re not very good at being preemptive. I’m hopeful that together we are able to educate and empower our young girls and women on these toxic chemicals that are in our products so that they can continue the fight!”

Alex Morgan

Alex Morgan
Olympic World Medalist, 2x World Cup Champion

As a new mom and in honor of wanting the absolute best for my baby girl, I’m supporting Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and their mission to prevention the disease.

Kaki Moyce and Team Em the Gem Kaki Moyce

Kaki Saxon Moyce
Registered Nurse, Twenty seven year breast cancer survivor-Bilateral mastectomies with reconstruction

Peak Hike is my favorite day of the year!

I lost my 35 year old younger sister to breast cancer. Her diagnosis preceded mine. Because of her diagnosis, my physician went on “high alert,” I was much more fortunate than Emily (Em the Gem). My daughter is vigilant about her breast exams. I tell all I know, “Know your breasts!” EVERYONE is aware of breast cancer – we all know someone that has been affected by it. We need to PREVENT it. And that is a primary goal of BCPP. That’s why I support this organization. I encourage all my friends and family members to donate to BCPP. We need to protect future generations.

Chris Pehl Chris Pehl

Chris Pehl
Once a teacher/ forever a teacher, kin to many

Prevention means we live in a clean world where disease, therefore pain, is reduced significantly. As the child of a depression-era mother, it means we can save money spent on treatment because we have eradicated the cause. We have created a toxic dump for our children, we can begin cleaning it up now. We truly can save lives.

Sarah Reines Sarah Reines BCPP 30 for 30 Faces of Prevention

Sarah Reines
Angeleno, Avid runner and hiker, mother of three amazing children, and breast cancer survivor.

I have discovered a passion for mountain climbing through BCPP’s Climb Against the Odds for breast cancer prevention and will make a second attempt to summit Mt. Shasta this summer.

I count at least 20 breast cancer survivors among my family and friends — way too many! I want a world without breast cancer for my two daughters, son, and other loved ones.

Toxic chemicals are causing way too many cases of cancer. We don’t have to live like this! Please help BCPP advocate for the removal of these toxins from products we all use. Please help me raise money for BCPP by going to https://donate.bcpp.org/teamsarah

Joan Reinhardt Reiss Joan Reinhardt Reiss

Joan Reinhardt Reiss
BCPP’s 1st Legislative Advocate, Champion of SF’s Precautionary Principle, Commentator for ads and voiceovers.

Prevention matters to me because it avoids all kinds of radiation and chemotherapy and helps to avoid breast cancer. It doesn’t say that you’ll never get it, but it works in amazing ways. BCPP works to actually stop breast cancer cases in the future and the causes related to chemicals, radiation, and other environmental exposures. We can’t avoid everything, but we can significantly decrease our risk and that’s what Breast Cancer Prevention partners strives to do!

Jeanne Rizzo Jeanne Rizzo

Jeanne Rizzo R.N.
Former President & CEO of BCPP, Chair of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control Board of Environmental Safety.

Why prevention matters: as a woman, mother, grandmother, auntie and nurse, preventing future generations from the devastation of breast cancer is a personal mission. Precautionary Principle serves as the Hippocratic Oath of the environmental health and justice movement. BCPP has been in the vanguard of the breast cancer prevention movement – rooted in academic and citizen science, BCPP‘s advocacy for innovative policy and business accountability relies on the generosity of donors. Here is the link associated with my Chair-ship: https://dtsc.ca.gov/bes/.

Michael Sevy  Michael Sevy BCPP 30 for 30 Faces of Prevention

Michael Sevy
BCPP supporter

I’ve had friends and family impacted by cancer. And thank goodness for modern medicine and procedures to help. But what if removing exposure to some [hidden] chemical was the difference between having to deal (battle) cancer in the first place? What if preventing cariogenic chemical from going into shampoo or cosmetics is the difference?

I don’t know if it’s cultural or instinctual, but we all want to leave something for the next generation. And we want to leave something ‘better.’ BCPP’s mission is to help leave a better, happier, and healthier environment. Environment can be a micro as our bodies or home, or macro like our community or world.

Jackie Speier Jackie Speier

Congresswoman Jackie Speier
U.S. representative for California’s 14th congressional district

BCPP has been as effective as ever, building on 30 years of historic gains. In the last two years, BCPP had four bills signed into law by governor Newsom, laws that will make a difference in the lives of so many. Laws that will help us march forth to our vision and goal to have fewer people hear the dreaded words ‘you have breast cancer’ from their doctors. It’s been my distinct honor to work with BCPP over many years to march towards the goal, both while I was in the California legislature and now in the U.S. congress. We all know that partnerships on the state and federal level are crucial to eliminate cancer. We’ve had a significant victory on the federal level with the breast cancer research stamp being reauthorized, which your late founder and my dear friend Andrea Martin advocated for. Since it was signed into law, more than a billion stamps have been sold over the last 20 years, generating more than 89 million dollars for critically needed research funding at no cost to the taxpayers. We still have a quarter million cases of breast cancer a year in the U.S. – almost 30,000 alone in California. Every single one of them is one too many. Your work is truly making a difference, and I know you won’t stop until there are none. Congratulations on all your achievements over the last three decades.

Joanne and Greg Starkman- Innersense Joanne and Greg Starkman family

Joanne and Greg Starkman
Co-Founders, Innersense Organic Beauty, pioneers of clean, pure, organic and non-toxic professional quality hair care products, Parents of Morgan and Max

Innersense Organic Beauty has doubled down on our commitment to preserving the health of stylists and consumers by uniting with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP), a leader in science-based policy and advocacy.

As co-founders we support BCPP and their Campaign for Safe Cosmetics because they advocate for the health of consumers, workers, and the environment.

Through public education, corporate accountability and sustainability campaigns, and legislative policy, BCPP aims to eliminate dangerous chemicals in cosmetic and personal care products linked to adverse health effects.

Cathy Ann Taylor Cathy Ann Taylor

Cathy Ann Taylor
BCPP Hero, International Travel and Mountaineering Guide, Founder, Cattara, Adventures with Insight.

Every year I add another friend to the list of people in my life who have been diagnosed with/or passed away from cancer, and this year is no different. That’s why I’ve supported the organization for 25 years and lead a team of inspiring women and men on Sacred Treks to benefit BCPP. I climb to honor my grandmother and many other friends who have faced breast cancer. BCPP remains the leading science-based policy and advocacy organization working to prevent breast cancer (and all cancers) by reducing our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease.

Bridget and Leslie Vanoni Mt. Shasta Background_Climb Against the Odds to prevent breast cancer Bridget Vanoni smiling Mount Shasta Climb Against the Odds

Bridget in honor of Leslie Vanoni
BCPP Climber, Daughter, Sister

On my fourth birthday, my mom was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. She was just 36 years old. 10 years later, her cancer returned. This time the diagnosis was devastating – Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer to her bones and lungs. On February 26, 2019, I lost not only my mom to breast cancer, I lost my best friend and the person in my life I loved the most.

When my mom got sick, her greatest wish was to ensure a healthy and disease-free future for me and my twin sister – especially since she was unsure about her own future. My mom put her trust in BCPP as the only national organization solely focused on the science linking breast cancer to chemicals in our everyday lives. She knew how important it is to find out what causes breast cancer so that she could protect her daughters from getting it.

Today, BCPP continues to guide my everyday decision-making by translating the science and making it easier for people like me to live a healthier life. If BCPP tells me that toxic chemicals are in a specific shampoo or product, I stay clear of it knowing that I am potentially making a life-saving decision about what I put in and on my body.

BCPP’s interventions reduce risk, improve the environment, and increase the safety of our products, while reducing health disparities for people in vulnerable communities.

Caroline White
Wife, mom, daughter, friend to many, survivor, Founder of Ridge Hike for Prevention

I pride myself on being a compassionate wife, mom, daughter and friend to many. As a survivor, I would like to think that I am a mentor to many newly diagnosed women. I really take it to heart when I receive a call from someone who’s world has suddenly crashed down around them, as a result of their diagnosis. A breast cancer ambassador or welcome wagon to a club nobody wants to be in. Why does prevention matter to you? Anything that we can do to prevent others from having to go through the process is a bonus. Fighting so others don’t have to.

As my cancer was most likely environmental, it is important that we continue the research to eliminate toxic chemicals in everyday products. BCPP gives me the perfect avenue to do this.

Wendy Young Wendy Young

Wendy Young
World explorer, hiker of mountains, lifetime learner

If one looks at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, as simply an organization I support, and raise funds for, they would be correct, but it is so much more.  Becoming involved with BCPP, has been one of the greatest personal growth opportunities I’ve experienced, and I am beyond honored to have been chosen as one of their 30 Faces of Prevention.

The people I’ve met, the inspirational stories I’ve heard, and witnessed, and the relationships I’ve formed, have far outweighed any efforts I’ve made on behalf of BCPP.

My Daughter, Granddaughter, Sister, Nieces, Aunts, and friends are my driving reasons for supporting BCPP.  The work this organization does is awe inspiring.  BCPP is working to eradicate cancer causing ingredients,  and focused on creating and passing legislation to help keep people safe from exposures while at home and work.  BCPP also provides up to date information on chemicals, and information to make safe product choices, and much much more.

I’ve been proud to represent BCPP, and spread the word of all the available information, and support that they provide.  If you have been looking for a worthwhile organization, that you can feel good about supporting – BCPP is it…they are a well ran organization with a huge heart, that work tirelessly to effect a safer future for everyone.

A most Happy 30th Birthday to this amazing organization, and I  look forward to witnessing many more years of their ground breaking work.

Match your donation: double the good. Give a birthday gift today!

In honor of BCPP’s 30th birthday month, Klean Kanteen will match donations dollar for dollar this March. Will you help raise $10,000 to prevent breast cancer?

Healthy Living Tips from a Scientist: Diet, Nutrition, & Breast Cancer

Healthy Living Tips from a Scientist: Diet, Nutrition, & Breast Cancer

Interview with Dr. Elisa V. Bandera, MD, PhD, Professor and Chief, Cancer Epidemiology and Health Outcomes; Co-Leader, Cancer Prevention and Control, and Unilever Endowed Chair for the Study of Diet and Nutrition in the Prevention of Chronic Disease, Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and Professor of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. 

We asked BCPP Science Advisory Panel Member Dr. Elisa Bandera, MD, PhD, about her tips for healthy living. She shared with us the most important lifestyle steps that we can all take to improve our health through our diet, nutrition, and physical activity to reduce our breast cancer risk and the risk of other diseases. Whether it’s what we eat, or move our bodies, these are simple steps that we can take to maintain a healthy lifestyle that ultimately can have a huge, long-term impact on our wellbeing over the course of our lives. After her top tips, Dr. Bandera also shares with us about her journey to become a scientist and how she landed in the critical field of breast cancer prevention, including her key scientific research findings. Her words below.

Nutrition guidelines for cancer prevention and control

Healthy nutritious food

One of the most gratifying parts of my academic career has been my involvement in the development of nutrition and physical activity guidelines for cancer prevention and control at a national and global scale.

There is an enormous body of literature accumulated over the years with some times inconsistent findings linking specific nutritional factors and cancer, as well as a lot of misinformation propagated through social media. For this reason, it is extremely important to evaluate the best scientific evidence using rigorous methodology to summarize and translate this evidence into public health guidelines. I have been fortunate to participate in this process with the American Cancer Society, and the World Cancer Research Fund International/American Institute for Cancer Research. Recommended sources of information are below (Resources).

Overall, the current guidelines emphasize a healthy lifestyle pattern, rather than individual factors, for cancer prevention. 

 

This healthy lifestyle pattern includes:

  1. Maintaining a healthy weight
  2. Incorporating exercise in your daily routine: Adults should do at least 150 minutes to 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes to 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Prolonged sedentary time is discouraged.
  3. Eating a healthy dietary pattern that emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and beans, minimizes red and processed meat, fast foods, and other processed foods high in fat, starches or sugars, and avoids sugary drinks.
  4. Avoiding or limiting alcohol consumption
  5. Not smoking

My top diet and nutrition tips for preventing breast cancer or a recurrence:

Nutritious food meal for healthy lifestyle

  1. Avoid weight gain during adulthood and after a breast cancer diagnosis by making healthy dietary choices and having an active lifestyle.
  2. Don’t obsess about individual foods that you hear you must have to prevent breast cancer (plenty of disinformation in social media). Rather, think of your overall diet being healthy, for example, by choosing nutrient rich foods (e.g., vegetables) rather than energy dense foods (e.g., donuts).
  3. Choose water or unsweetened tea, rather than alcoholic beverages or sodas.
  4. Watch your portion size too.
  5. Try to do some exercise every day, even a 15-minute walk can do wonders for our physical and mental wellbeing. Our hectic lifestyle makes is hard to carve time for this, but keep in mind that more is better, but some is better than nothing.

My Story

Feels like a long journey

I grew up in a beautiful small town in Southern Spain called Yunquera, where life was and remains simple, but with limited resources. Unlike many of the other kids in town, I was fortunate to be able to move to Ronda, a larger nearby town, when I was 14 years old to complete high school. I moved again to complete my Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Malaga. Halfway through medical school it became obvious to me that what I wanted to do was to prevent disease, rather than treating it.
 

After graduating with my M.D. degree, I moved to the United States and was accepted in the Master’s program in Epidemiology at the Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, School of School of Medicine & Biomedical Sciences at the State University of New York at Buffalo. After my first semester I was offered a postdoctoral fellowship with funding from the National Cancer Institute. That was a pivotal moment in my career. With the postdoctoral fellowship funding, I decided to pursue a doctoral degree in epidemiology and community health with a focus on the nutritional epidemiology of cancer.Elisa V. Bandera UCTV Presentation

After graduation and a maternity leave, I accepted a position at Rutgers University, Department of Nutritional Sciences, as a Research Scientist, which was crucial to launching my academic career. There I wrote a K07 Career Development Grant to evaluate the impact of phytoestrogens on endometrial cancer risk, which was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Shortly after receiving this grant, I was recruited by the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey as Assistant Professor where I have been for almost 20 years, climbing the academic ladder through a combination of hard work and sacrifices, rejections and successes, and a dash of luck.

I am now a tenured professor, chief of cancer epidemiology, and co-leader of cancer prevention and control program at the Rutgers Cancer Institute. I still go back every year to Yunquera, one of the “Pueblos Blancos” located in the Sierra de las Nieves National Park. No chain restaurants, only a few “restaurantes” serving locally grown food. No air pollution. Walking everywhere is part of daily life, for example to buy the freshly baked bread at the local bakery or to get some fish that was just caught in the nearby coastal towns. My annual visits there keep me grounded and help me forget (at least temporarily) the non-stop rush of academic life.

My involvement with breast cancer

When I joined the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey my daughter was 6 years old and two close relatives developed breast cancer. Because she was in one of the known windows of susceptibility of breast cancer, the peripubertal period, I became very interested in the topic. Both higher growth velocity from childhood through adolescence and an earlier age at menarche have been consistently found to increase breast cancer risk. Furthermore, the rapid growth and differentiation of the mammary gland associated with pubertal breast development represent a period of increased vulnerability to environmental mutagens, which may be critical in defining breast cancer risk in subsequent years. However, I noticed that the modifiable risk factors for early puberty were not well understood.

The Jersey Girl Study

This led me to start the Jersey Girl Study, a cohort study in 9 and 10 year-old healthy girls aiming to evaluate factors affecting puberty in girls. One of the major findings of the study was the impact of estrogenic mycotoxins or mycoestrogens, such as zeranol and zearalenone (ZEA), during puberty in girls, a period highly sensitive to estrogenic stimulation. ZEA mycoestrogens are present in grains and other plant foods through fungal contamination, and in animal products (e.g., meat) through direct administration of zeranol during beef/meat production or indirect contamination through consumption of contaminated feedstuff. Zeranol had been banned for use in animal husbandry by the European Union and other countries but was still widely used in the US. In the Jersey Girl Study, we found that free (unbound) ZEA mycoestrogen were detectable in the urine of 78% of girls, with suggestion that they may play a role in delaying the pubertal height spurt take off and onset of breast development, suggesting anti-estrogenic effects similar to those reported for isoflavones.

I tried to obtain additional funding from NIH to further evaluate the role of mycoestrogens in girls by collaborating with the CYGNET Study (PI: Dr. Larry Kushi), a cohort of girls aged 6-7 years at baseline based in the San Francisco Bay Area. To support the grant submission, we conducted a pilot study in 30 girls participating in the CYGNET Study and found that levels were higher in the California girls than the levels found in the Jersey Girl Study. Unfortunately, convincing reviewers of novel ideas is hard sometimes, and the study was not funded. However, our manuscript was featured as “extramural paper of the month” at NIEHS Online News in December 2011, and I was also invited to present these finding at multiple academic institutions and at national and international scientific meetings, including the NIEHS/NCI Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program Annual meeting in November 2012 in San Francisco, CA. There I started to interact with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and have been since then, including reviewing their materials and serving in the Scientific Advisory Board since 2013.

I am also conducting studies of evaluating risk factors for breast cancer risk and survival in minority and underserved populations in New Jersey, including the Women’s Circle of Health Study, a case-control study evaluating risk factors for early and aggressive breast cancer in Black/African American women and the Women’s Circle of Health Follow-Up Study, a cohort study of approximately 2000 Black breast cancer survivors in New Jersey, which is evaluating a range of factors, including neighborhood, lifestyle, reproductive factors on patient reported outcomes, quality of life, and survival.

My interest in obesity and body composition in underserved populations

There are well known racial and ethnic disparities in the prevalence of obesity, as well as breast cancer risk and survival, with Black women being more likely to be obese, develop aggressive forms of breast cancer and to experience the worst survival rates than any other racial/ethnic group.

We also know that obesity plays a major role across the breast cancer continuum, as it has been associated with increased risk of postmenopausal breast cancer, delays in diagnosis, more complications related to surgery and radiation, possible reduction in chemotherapy dosing, and reduction in efficacy of chemotherapy and endocrine therapy, as well as worse prognosis and patient-reported outcomes, such as sleep disturbance, fatigue, and health related quality of life.

This is an active are of research for me. For example, in the Women’s Circle of Health Follow-Up Study we found that simple measures of waist and hip circumferences can identify Black breast cancer survivors at higher risk of mortality, which can be easily implemented in clinical practice in survivorship plans for breast cancer survivors. Our study, in agreement with results reported by other studies, show that body mass index (BMI) may not be as useful. However, women with a BMI greater than 30 should be recommended to lose weight to reduce risk of other cancers and other chronic diseases and to improve survival and health-relate quality of life. We also compared patient-reported outcomes between Black and Hispanic breast cancer survivors and found that obesity was associated with lower quality of life, and higher prevalence of severe fatigue and sleep disturbance, particularly for Hispanic women.

There is still a lot to learn regarding the impact of obesity and related factors on breast cancer and particularly its impact on cancer health disparities.

 

Resources

  1. Bandera EV, Alfano C, Qin B, Kang D-W, Ciarán P. Friel CP, Dieli-Conwright C. Harnessing Nutrition and Physical Activity for Breast Cancer Prevention and Control to Reduce Racial/Ethnic Cancer Health Disparities. ASCO Educational Book 2021 Mar;41:1-17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33989021/
  2. World Cancer Research Fund/American Institute for Cancer Research. Continuous Update Project on Food, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Cancer. Online at wcrf.org and www.aicr.org
  3. American Cancer Society:

Want more healthy living tips?

Check out our tips for prevention! 

Saying farewell to BCPP Director of Science, Dr. Rasanayagam, Ph.D.

Saying farewell to BCPP Director of Science, Dr. Rasanayagam, Ph.D.

Dr. Sharima Rasanayagam, Ph.D., joined BCPP as our founding Director of Science. For over a decade, she spearheaded BCPP’s science efforts, ensuring that everything we do and say is backed by credible, peer-reviewed science. Science is the backbone of all that we breathe and do at BCPP, and Sharima elevated the truth and exposed environmental risk factors linked to breast cancer like no scientist ever did for us before.

And now, after more than 10 wonderful years at BCPP, it is with a heavy heart that we must say goodbye to her.

In Sharima’s words, “I have learned and grown so much over the last decade working with the phenomenal team at BCPP, translating the science of breast cancer prevention for our supporters, regulators and legislators. I look forward to continuing to work with them all to reduce the burden of preventable breast cancer in California and beyond.”

Dr Sharima Rasanayagam PhD BCPP Director of Science with Connie Engel
Dr Sharima Rasanayagam PhD BCPP Director of Science_poster presentation

We are thrilled for her new chapter, joining the California Breast Cancer Research Program at UCOP as the Program Officer on Environmental Health and Policy Science. While this new position is not with BCPP, Sharima will continue to work with all of us to implement our shared vision for a future without preventable breast cancer.

“Sharima was the first in-house Director of Science to work at BCPP. Her ability to translate scientific research into policy initiatives was critical to making the organization a leader in environmental breast cancer prevention.” – Sarah Janssen, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., and Laura Fenster, Ph.D., M.P.H., BCPP Science Advisory Panel Co-Chairs

Dr Sharima Rasanayagam PhD BCPP Director of Science_Sacramento advocacy day
Dr Sharima Rasanayagam PhD BCPP Director of Science_poster presentation

With Sharima’s departure, we will absolutely continue to carry our science work into the next era of prevention. Our plans to hire a new Director of Science are advancing. And in the meantime, we are in good hands and pleased to announce Dr. Janet Gray, Ph.D. as our interim Science Director. Dr. Gray has supported BCPP’s science for more than 15 years. She is an original member of BCPP’s exemplary Science Advisory Panel and the lead author of our cornerstone State of the Evidence  publication. Dr. Gray brings a wealth of expertise on the intersection of environmental risks and breast cancer.

We are tremendously grateful that Sharima’s talent in translating scientific research to inform our policy initiatives and educate the public has established BCPP as the trusted, go-to environmental health and breast cancer prevention organization.

Dr Sharima Rasanayagam PhD BCPP Director of Science quote

In addition to the publication of the historic Paths to Prevention, we celebrate other achievements during Sharima’s tenure with BCPP including:

  • Publishing the seventh edition of State of the Evidence: An Update on the Connection Between Breast Cancer and the Environment in the journal Environmental Health.
  • Publishing two peer-reviewed papers on work and female breast cancer in the journal New Solutions.
  • Releasing the landmark report Right to Know: Exposing toxic fragrance chemicals in beauty, personal care and cleaning products.
  • Releasing the influential report: Pretty Scary 2 Unmasking Toxic Chemicals in Kids Makeup.
  • Releasing the Buyer Beware Report, which looked at BPA and regrettable substitutions in canned food lining.
  • Publishing the Report: Anti- Aging Secrets: Chemicals linked to breast cancer in skin care.
  • Being cited by the American Public Health Association for Working Women and Breast Cancer: The State of the Evidence as influential in studying occupational exposure related to breast cancer.
  • Receiving recognition from UCSF for BCPP’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics as a factor in moving cosmetic companies away from phthalates and decreasing people’s exposure to certain phthalates.
  • Passing several laws securing stronger and broader health protections:
    • The California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act of 2021 (AB 1200)
    • The Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act (AB 2762)
    • The Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2020 (SB 312)
    • Firefighting equipment and foam: PFAS chemicals (SB 1044)
    • The California Cleaning Product Right to Know Act (SB 258)
    • The California Salon Product Ingredient Disclosure Act (AB 2775)
  • Revamping BCPP’s website to include the Glossary of Exposures – a comprehensive web resource of environmental exposures linked to breast cancer.
  • Helping to successfully implement the California Safer Consumer Products Program.
  • Leading winning campaign to secure an FDA ban on BPA in baby bottles.
  • Being featured in numerous high-profile media articles.
  • Partnering with researchers and academic institutions across the state (UC Berkeley, UCLA, UC Davis, UCSF etc.) to ground their research on workplace exposures, air toxics, and water systems in breast cancer prevention and to help present their conclusions to communities, regulators, and legislators.
  • Elevating the science and the message of prevention to thousands of people (legislators, scientists, NGOs, and the general public) through countless in-person and virtual presentations and educational videos.
  • Serving on several scientific groups and advisory panels, including the Health Science node of the Cancer Free Economy Network; the Science Advisory Panel of MADE SAFE; and the Science Advisory Committee of the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative.

 

The search for a cure for breast cancer must continue, but the physical and mental impacts of diagnosis and treatment cannot be underestimated. For too long, many have not given breast cancer prevention the priority needed to stop this disease before it starts. Sharima gave this priority to prevention, and we at BCPP will carry that torch forward.

Dr Sharima Rasanayagam PhD BCPP Director of Science meeting with community partners
Dr Sharima Rasanayagam PhD BCPP Director of Science with Marie DeJournette Nancy Buermeyer and BCPP volunteer at Peak Hike for Prevention
BCPP’s Clean V-Day Gift Guide 2022

BCPP’s Clean V-Day Gift Guide 2022

BCPP Clean Vday Gift Guide 2022

Clean Valentine’s Day offers from BCPP’s Partners to you! 

This Valentine’s Day, our partners in prevention are bringing you cleaner products that value your health and the planet. Check out the lovely products below! Inspired by our partners at Goodlight Candles, whose “mission is to provide truly affordable clean-burning candles while contributing to positive change in the world,” we’ve curated fabulous offers from some of our favorite partners! 

Goodlight Love tin

Goodlight Candles 

Goodlight Candles generously supports BCPP every February. This Valentine’s Day, Goodlight Candles is partnering with select retailers to offer a limited edition “Love” candle scented with their popular Honeysuckle blend. They’re contributing 50¢ from the sale of every Love tin to BCPP. Candles

Vibrant Body Company

Vibrant Body Company is a Body First™ company defining a new Certified Clean First Layer™ category. Bras, tanks, and underwear free from harmful toxins and dyes and always designed with women’s bodies in mind. Use code BCPP100 at checkout between Feb. 2-14 and Vibrant Body Company will generously donate 100% of sales back to BCPP! Intimates

Naturepedic

Naturepedic

Since 2003, Naturepedic has been leading the organic mattress revolution with handcrafted GOTS certified organic mattresses from naturally comfortable materials like organic cotton, wool, and latex. Their mattresses are MADE SAFE® certified, so you can trust they are made without flame retardants, polyurethane foam, PFAS, formaldehyde, or other harmful materials. Fall in love with safer, healthier sleep this Valentine’s Day!

This February, use code BCPP10 for 10% off your purchase. Plus, they will donate another 10% to BCPP with every purchase! Mattress

Clif Family Winery

Clif Family celebrates food and adventure in everything we do. Clif Family crafts artisan foods for indulgent snacking, entertaining, gift-giving, or enjoying in your favorite recipes. Give your valentine the gift of artisanal treats! Now through March 31, take 20% off your entire online purchase when you use code: BCPP20 Treats

Clif family treats
Innersense Organic Beauty

Innersense

Innersense Organic Beauty is proud to promote BCPP year-round. “Prevention is the most sustainable way to support women’s breast health. We must start by eliminating toxic exposure and encouraging self-care.” Joanne Starkman, Co-founder & President, Innersense. Use code SELFLOVE20 for 20% off your purchase until February 15th. Hair

ettitude

Bamboo bedding, bath, and sleep essentials (we’re in love with their loungewear!) that are gentle on your skin and our planet. The innovative CleanBamboo fabric is soft like silk, breathable like cotton, cooling, and hypoallergenic for a comfortable night’s sleep. All ettitude® products are Climate Neutral certified, water-saving, sustainably, and ethically made. ​​​Use code BCPPVDAY to receive 10% off from February 2-7. Bedding+

Ettitude

REMINDER: These products come from fabulous companies that financially support our efforts to prevent breast cancer, so purchases you make also support BCPP!

You can also donate directly to prevent breast cancer.

*Clif Family: This offer is one-time use only. It can’t be combined with other promotions. Excludes Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Zinfandel, corporate gifts, and virtual tastings.

*ettitude: Apply code at checkout to receive 10% off the total order, excluding gift cards. Discount excludes shipping fees, customs, and taxes with no minimum order. Valid from Feb 2- Feb 4, 2022. Discount code can’t be used in conjunction with other promotions including the sleepwear buy one get one free promotion.

Faces of Prevention Pt. 6: Dr. Jasmine McDonald

Faces of Prevention Pt. 6: Dr. Jasmine McDonald

Dr Jasmine McDonald BCPP Face of Prevention 2021

Guest Post by Dr. Jasmine McDonald, BCPP Board Member 

Like all women, I am many things.

First and foremost, I am a Black mother. After that, in no particular order, I am a daughter, a sister, an auntie, an educator, an author, a scientist, a doctor, a researcher, a scholar, an innovator, a dancer, a gardener, a choreographer (in my imagination), a friend, and I am exhausted.

I am sure I could think of more titles, but my last title prohibits.

I began my career studying Schistosomiasis, a worm infection, in a basic bench-science laboratory. However, I left the bench in search of conducting research that could benefit the human population. Besides, the lab snails were awful conversationalists.

In my quest, I met inspirational and brilliant female scientists who subsequently trained me as a molecular epidemiologist specializing in breast cancer. Thus, my path to breast cancer research was not direct, but it was clandestine. Because, as a Black woman, it is hard not to know someone who has been diagnosed.

I am a Face of Prevention. And so are you.

 Dr Jasmine McDonald BCPP Faces of Prevention

1 in 8 Black women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime (compared to 1 in 12 for the general population). Thus, it is hard to be a Black woman and not know a Black woman who has suffered a breast cancer diagnosis.

For me, it was my brilliant grandmother Mrs. Jessie Clark. Grandma was the best cook and had the energy of a 3 year old. I took naps just to keep up with her. Monday through Saturday by 10 am, she would have made 3 sets of breakfast, 2 cakes, washed all the dishes, started dinner, and could detail her prediction of who would be the next Nascar race champion. On a Sunday, she could do all of this by 8 am. But my grandmother, despite being an excellent swing dancer in her youth, never ever overweight, never ever a drinker, never ever a smoker, and being all things healthy, developed and died of breast cancer.

In my opinion, it was the lived life of my Black grandmother that brought on cancer. The social determinants of health – the environments in which my grandmother lived, worked, and played, and the structural and systemic inequity that governed those places – impacted her risk for developing breast cancer. And her lived experiences are also within me.

Be a Face of Prevention

Dr Jasmine McDonald_BCPP Face of Prevention 2021

The first title I ever held was “Egg.” Specifically, my mother’s egg in my grandmother’s womb. Thus, every social and structural inequity that led to my grandmother’s most adverse, chronic, and cumulative environmental exposures are within me.

But this fact is why I love epidemiology! I have the ability to collaborate on how the lived experience and adverse environmental exposures impact breast cancer to ensure that future generations have the opportunity for better. 

Thus, my passion for my work comes from being a Black mother.

About half of women who are diagnosed before age 45 years are diagnosed within 10 years of childbirth. These women are in the midst of child-rearing. Yet, they are faced with a 3x’s greater risk of cancer metastasis, the spread of cancer outside the breast. 

However, this group has been largely ignored – which also means Black women have been largely ignored.
​​​​
Dr Jasmine McDonald BCPP Faces of Prevention (2)

So, 6 years ago after the birth of my son, as a breast cancer researcher I knew all my personal risk factors for developing breast cancer after childbirth. And as a Black woman, I also knew all of the facts on the type of aggressive breast cancer I was more likely to get and my likelihood of dying.

I was scared and I remain scared. But the fear assaulted me when my friend of nearly 20 years told me on my birthday that she was diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer. Her son was 6 years old at the time.

So, what is breast cancer prevention to me?

1. Life course strategies to reduce breast cancer risk through the mitigation and elimination of carcinogenic external exposures, especially those that can be eliminated by upstream macro-level factors. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners is critical to this goal. BCPP can impact and change the laws, regulations, and policies that harm Black women. For example, endocrine disruptor chemicals in hair care products, those commonly used by women of color, are associated with a host of adverse health outcomes. Yet, the onus to avoid these chemicals should not be on the individual but instead restricted by our laws.

2. Screening and early detection is available and achievable for every woman.

3. Improving overall survival for young women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and are simultaneously raising the next generation.

Will you join me and support BCPP’s mission today? Together, let’s advance breast cancer prevention!

Be a Face of Prevention

Faces of Prevention Pt. 5: Jeana Thurston

Faces of Prevention Pt. 5: Jeana Thurston

Jeana Thurston BCPP Faces of Prevention

[TW: breast cancer]

Guest Post by Jeana Thurston, Crunchi wellness activist 

In September 2018, my annual mammogram showed a small irregularity. Since I had no family history of breast cancer and could not feel anything during my self-breast exam, I was only recommended a follow-up in six months. Although the follow-up showed the same results, I pushed for a biopsy, because I knew I would not be able to get it out of my mind.

On April 3, 2019, I got the call. “I am sorry. It is breast cancer.” I was numb, shocked, in disbelief, and in tears. The diagnosis: invasive lobular carcinoma. The words played in my head over and over like a broken record.

My oncology team recommended a genetic test and blood work, because I am the first in my family to be diagnosed and because I have a sister and daughter. The genetics test was negative, but the blood work showed high estrogen levels. The big question was, “Where is the extra estrogen coming from?” With no clear medical evidence, everything pointed to environmental causes. This is what BCPP focuses on, and you can help support their vital work today!

The next three months were a storm of side-effects and frustration as I tried to figure out why this all happened. The tumor was 90% estrogen receptor-positive, and much larger and more advanced than expected! I faced a rigorous schedule of three kinds of chemotherapy, followed by radiation, and sudden-onset medical menopause.

I started my quest to find the cause of my elevated estrogen levels by looking into the products that I was using. Everything from shampoo, conditioner, bath soap, lotion, deodorant, toothpaste, nail polish, sunscreen, skincare, and makeup had “endocrine disruptors” – ingredients that have been found to interfere with the endocrine system. I was appalled!

Jeana Thurston BCPP Faces of Prevention

After purging all the products containing endocrine disruptors, I didn’t have much left in my collection of personal care products. Through my diagnosis, my family and friends were suddenly made aware of environmental toxics lurking in their homes.

That’s when I discovered Crunchi (or maybe Crunchi found me). As a safer skincare and cosmetics company, Crunchi and its community of advocates gave me a vast sisterhood of strong, supportive, and heart-forward women who shared not only their research with me, but also their love.

I first learned of BCPP when researching ingredients during my cancer treatments. I love that BCPP is a science-based advocacy organization that has worked to prevent breast cancer by eliminating exposure to harmful chemicals and radiation for the past 30 years. I appreciate that BCPP works to pass legislation reducing toxic chemicals in our environment. Help them continue this important work in 2022!

Jeana Thurston BCPP Faces of Prevention (2)

When I found out that BCPP and Crunchi were partners, my heart became full. I was one of the 268,600 women with a newly diagnosed invasive carcinoma in 2019. As a survivor, I do not want to see or hear that another person must face this diagnosis.

Until the day comes when we can all celebrate the passing of legislation that bans companies from putting toxic chemicals in products, we must protect ourselves and each other.

Please support the lifesaving work of BCPP by making a generous year-end gift today.

P.S. My recommendation to all: be an ingredient detective and avoid toxic chemicals. We have a choice to not support companies who choose to use toxic ingredients in their products. Here are some useful resources to help: BCPP’s website and Clearya

P.P.S. Please consider making a special year-end gift to BCPP and take advantage of the CARES Act deduction! The IRS is allowing the $300 deduction for cash donations for people who take the standard deduction, AND they’ve added a $600 deduction for married joint filing. So, give generously!

Be a Face of Prevention

Faces of Prevention Pt. 4: Lindsey Shelley

Faces of Prevention Pt. 4: Lindsey Shelley

Lindsey Shelley Mindfully Beautiful Mama_BCPP Faces of Prevention header

Guest Post by Lindsey Shelley, Mindfully Beautiful Mama 

As a mother of four daughters, it has always been my mission to lead them on a path that will positively impact their health. Being a mom is no easy task! Knowing that I will not always be able to make choices for them, I want to normalize clean living and show them how to make educated decisions as consumers. Having an open mind about new ways of living and becoming informed were the first steps I took to learn how to reduce our exposure to toxic chemicals. We are supposed to take a company’s word at face value that their product is safe for us. I want to change that and promote being a smart consumer. I began by learning how to read ingredient labels and avoiding chemicals of concernUsing apps, like Clearya, has helped me understand which ingredients to avoid and how they impact my health, so I can shop healthier. Some top ingredients we avoid in personal and household products includes: Fragrance, all ParabensTriclosan, and Alkylphenols. When my daughters ask about a product, we know to turn it over, and look for red flags, and not be fooled by pretty packaging.

I am a Face of Prevention. And so are you. 

Lindsey Shelley BCPP Faces of Prevention

Part of normalizing clean living is talking about what impacts our health in everyday conversation. When my girls are looking at a fun colored hand sanitizer, for example, I not only help them find the “fragrance” listed, but also throw in facts they can understand at their level. For example, casually telling them that “fragrance” can mean hundreds of ingredients that companies don’t need to tell us about.To children, anything secretive is taken as unfair, so they immediately question why that’s allowed. This leads to conversations with my older two daughters about BCPP’s current bills in Congress that will require companies to disclose exactly what secret toxic ingredients are in their products.

Will you help support BCPP raise the funds needed to pass the Safer Beauty Bill Package?

Normalizing clean living means being open to talking about choices we make for the whole family. This can be as simple as choosing paper sandwich bags and sharing how this helps reduce our plastic use and how BPA (which is harmful to our health) is used in some plastics. BCPP has also shown a light on toxic PFAS “forever” chemicals in our cookware and food packaging. Because of what I’ve learned from BCPP’s science, I now know how dangerous they can be to our health. So, I am ditching the Teflon cookware I have for a safer alternatives like ceramic, stainless steel, or cast iron!  

There are risk factors that are out of our control, but there are choices we can make that will reduce our risk of breast cancer, one being the products we bring into our homes. BCPP provides clear ways to make simple changes. Through BCPP’s guidance, I have learned which areas to focus on that’ll have the biggest impact. Clean living is the way of the future! 

Through my Mindfully Beautiful Mama Instagram and consulting, my goal is to empower women to become educated consumers and make choices that will reduce their toxic exposure. 

Lindsey Shelley BCPP Faces of Prevention (2)

With your support, BCPP can reduce our rate and risk of breast cancer, now and for future generations. Please consider a gift to advance BCPP’s life-saving work to create a safer, healthier world for ourselves and our loved ones.

Be a Face of Prevention

BCPP Bulletin: Year in Review 2021

BCPP Bulletin: Year in Review 2021

BCPP Bulletin Year in Review 2021

We are happy to report that this past year has been a transformative one for BCPP. Through your loyal support and the diligent work of our staff, we were able to reach several major, health-protective milestones and grow the ever-increasing voice for primary prevention. Check out the quick gist of 2021’s victories that we can celebrate because of your continued dedication to the cause, and click the buttons to learn more.

If you haven’t already, please give your year-end gift today for breast cancer prevention!

mother and son cooking brooke-lark-UX87Pz74ukY-unsplash

VICTORY! Pushing PFAS out of our food

On October 5th, Governor Newsom signed the BCPP co-sponsored California Safer Food Packaging and Cookware Act (AB 1200) into law, marking the 16th law made possible because of BCPP’s leadership! With your letters and stories, we helped pass a momentous law that will DOUBLE the number of people protected in the U.S. from PFAS, from 38 to 77 million. AB 1200 1) bans the use of PFAS in paper-based food packaging 2) requires cookware manufacturers to disclose the presence of hazardous chemicals 3) and prohibits misleading advertising on cookware packaging. Now, nearly 25% of the entire U.S. market will no longer be forced to use toxic-laden food packaging! And we’re not stopping here – in 2022 we’ll be expanding our PFAS work via federal legislation.

President Joe Biden 2021

Dear President Biden…

With a new Administration in place, we leapt at the chance to articulate a federal roadmap toward preventing breast cancer. We developed a 22-page Federal Policy Agenda for Breast Cancer Prevention, which recommends actions President Biden can take (issuing executive orders, reversals of regulatory rollbacks initiated through the previous Administration, and launching key research & policy initiatives) to reduce breast cancer. And we didn’t just write this Agenda – we delivered it directly into the hands of key decision-makers! Working with our D.C. partners, we distributed this Agenda directly to President Biden, crucial members of his Administration, First Lady Jill Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, and key congressional offices.

BCPP Bulletin Year in Review 2021

Countering the injustice of beauty: BCPP’s new Safer Black Beauty List

In response to prolific marketing of Black beauty companies selling products that contain hazardous ingredients – such as skin lighteners, hair straighteners, etc. – BCPP is partnering with scientists and leading nonprofits (NGOs) to develop a first-of-its-kind list of “safer” Black-owned beauty brands that make and sell beauty & personal care products to Black women and girls. We will raise awareness about the hazardous chemicals in Black beauty products; equip women with resources they can trust to make safer choices; create a “do not use” list of chemicals in Black beauty products to help retailers and manufacturers make and sell safer products; and elevate companies that create safer beauty & personal care products for all. Coming soon!

BCPP Bulletin Year in Review 2021

Moving prevention forward, virtually

In March, we held our first-ever virtual gala, March Forth, to celebrate and invigorate our movement to prevent breast cancer and create a healthier world for everyone. The evening was filled with amazing energy and featured outstanding entertainment, high-profile celebrity speakers, and diverse environmental health and justice leaders. From scientist to senator, artist to athlete, the speakers glowed, and the BCPP community showed up. Over 700 BCPPers joined us virtually and came together strong, raising over $227,500 for prevention!

Safer Beauty Bill Package #SaferBeauty4All

Everyone loves a package deal: #SaferBeauty4All

The current U.S. law governing the $100 billion personal care and beauty product industry is old, outdated, and only 2 pages long. It’s way past time to upgrade our cosmetic safety laws! Which is why we developed a federal Safer Beauty Bill Package, officially introduced to Congress on October 8th. Championed by 4 strong, incredibly dedicated, and passionate female members of Congress, these bills will 1) ban the worst ingredients, 2) disclose secret fragrance and flavor ingredients, 3) better protect women of color & salon workers, and 4) help companies get the supply chain information they need to make safer products. To introduce and build excitement for this package to key decision-makers, NGO and business partners, and our base, we held a kick-off press conference, launched a letter-signing campaign, and garnered support from 140 NGOs and businesses.

Paths to Prevention: Breastfeeding

Paving Paths to Prevention

After producing our groundbreaking Paths to Prevention, we continue to push this statewide model for primary breast cancer prevention to the national level, with the goal of encouraging other states to adopt systemic actions to reduce hazardous environmental exposures. This year, we developed and published three factsheets on risk factors and interventions associated with Race, Power, and EquityBreastfeeding; and Alcohol, respectively. Now, we are working with the CDC and National Association of Chronic Disease Directors to develop and present a series of webinars to 1) educate other state agency staff about the connection between cancer and the environment and 2) provide them with the tools they need to incorporate policies addressing chemical exposures in their state cancer plans.

BCPP Climb Against the Odds 2020_ClaytonHerrmann244

Pioneering the outdoors for prevention

COVID might have stuck by our side through 2021, but that didn’t stop the revival and success of our signature annual events! In June, we had our biggest Climb Against the Odds yet, as 2 teams of 41 climbers total – including mother/son duos, breast cancer survivors, doctors, activists, and BCPP staff – faced high winds, sharp inclines, and even sleet as they ascended Mt. Shasta in the name of prevention. Our in-person portion of the 26th year of Peak Hike moved to a new, gorgeous location. With a small but mighty group of 186 in-person hikers, paired with virtual hikers across the country, we raised nearly $125,000 to stop breast cancer!

Your support powers and makes our prevention work possible—thank you!

Our shared mission is to expose and eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer – toxic chemicals in our food and water, consumer products, and workplaces. We promote health equity by working with communities that experience worse outcomes, earlier onset, or greater toxic exposures. We partner with lawmakers, businesses, and like-minded organizations to accelerate our impact. When we prevent breast cancer, we also prevent many other cancers and diseases. Your generous giving makes all this work possible. Thank you so much for your support to move prevention forward, and we wish you a happy new year!

BCPP By the Numbers 2021
Faces of Prevention Pt. 3: Heather Buren

Faces of Prevention Pt. 3: Heather Buren

Kimberly Mulqueen BCPP Board Member Faces of Prevention

For years we at BCPP have been exploring the relationship between occupation and breast cancer and we remain focused on building a healthier workplace.

Hear from our Face of Prevention Lieutenant Heather Buren, San Francisco Fire Dept., Board member of the United Fire Service Women:

Guest Post by Lieutenant Heather Buren, San Francisco Fire Dept., Board member of the United Fire Service Women 

For the past 24 years I have proudly worked alongside my SFFD brothers and sisters saving the lives and property of the residents and visitors of San Francisco. Currently working on a busy engine company in the Mission, I don’t choose when me and my crew fight fire. We NEVER pull up in front of a fully involved burning building and say, “Oh that looks toxic, I don’t think I’m going to fight this fire.” Not on your life! We ALWAYS choose to step into the burning building, we choose to locate, confine and extinguish the fire, while looking for and saving victims along our path. And sadly, we are learning that our actions are in fact taking our lives!

Years down the road, we are being diagnosed with cancer and dying because of the “toxic soup” of chemicals we are exposed to in every fire we fight and because until recently, firefighters were not taking the simple and necessary steps to quickly remove the soot and chemicals off our body, gear, tools, and apparatus. If toxic chemicals weren’t allowed in couches and mattresses and carpets and turnout gear, we wouldn’t be exposed in the first place. Through chemical policy change, it’s crucial that our elected officials do everything they can to protect us from the toxic chemicals linked to cancer.

The science-based approach to prevention that BCPP takes has educated me and my colleagues, causing us to alter our decontamination behavior. Thank you, BCPP, for taking science and making it action-based and helping to protect us all!

I am a Face of Prevention. And so are you.

Heather Buren Firefighter BCPP Climber Face of Prevention 3

I proudly serve the residents of San Francisco, and after 24 years I am still loving the work and challenges I face each day as a SFFD firefighter. Through their focus on prevention of breast cancer through a science-based lens, BCPP has given me the tools to keep myself and my crews safer!

Won’t you please give today and help BCPP continue their vital work in 2022? 

Firefighters, like me, are exposed to many substances linked to health problems, including PFAS “forever” chemicals. Multiple studies have demonstrated that firefighters are at a higher risk for cancer or serious illness through occupational exposure to dangerous substances.

Biomonitoring

About 10 years ago, I was concerned about the breast cancer many of my SFFD friends and colleagues were being diagnosed with. I wondered if we were at a higher risk because of our occupational exposures in the fire service. At the time I could not find a single study that assessed this risk among female firefighters. I was convinced that the absence of data did not equal an absence of risk. So to better understand the elevated risk of breast cancer among our ranks, we (United Fire Service Women) partnered with researchers and advocates like BCPP to create the Women Firefighters Biomonitoring Collaborative (WFBC), to collect blood and urine from firefighters and office workers in San Francisco.

Researchers analyzed the blood and urine samples for the presence of PFAS “forever” chemicals, PAHs, and flame retardants and other chemicals of concern and wrote up their findings in this article. It concludes that women firefighters are exposed to higher levels of PFAS chemicals compared to office workers, suggesting that some of these exposures may be occupationally related.

While working with BCPP in this research study I learned that when it comes to preventing breast cancer, only 10% of cases are attributed to genetics. Preventable causes of the disease include exposures to toxic chemicals and other environmental factors.

Policy

PFAS “forever” chemicals in firefighting foam are a major source of drinking water contamination and pose a risk to communities where firefighting foam is used and to the firefighters who use the foam. That’s why BCPP passed a new law that bans toxic PFAS from firefighting foam!

You Can Help

Help us continue this vital work in 2022. Tomorrow is #GivingTuesday, a national day of giving, and BCPP is excited to announce this year’s generous partner: Innersense Organic Beauty.

Kick start our matching gift challenge by tripling your donation TODAY! This week you have the opportunity to TRIPLE your impact for advancing breast cancer prevention!

P.S. As a special gift, Innersense Organic Beauty has a special offer for 20% off of products this #GivingTuesday until 12/31/21 for our BCPP community. Use code GIVING20 at checkout.

X3 Match for Giving Tuesday

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