BCPP Diaries

Why cosmetic safety is important to me and what I’ve learned along the way

Why cosmetic safety is important to me and what I’ve learned along the way

While I’ll never really know what caused my breast cancer (I have no genetic link), the thought of potentially harmful ingredients being in the products that I used, makes me really angry. We shouldn’t have to wonder if the cosmetics or personal care products we used, caused our cancer.Read More

Guest Post by Sarah Clark, Breast Cancer Survivor

Hi, my name is Sarah Clark. And I’m a breast cancer survivor.  I’m married with two kids, a 15-year-old boy and a 12-year-old girl. I’m also a consultant and educator with Beautycounter. I wholeheartedly believe in healthy living and that knowledge is power. Whether it’s food, our environment or products we use on our skin every day – I’m all about supporting companies that are transparent and honest.

Currently, 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in the US, and that number is way too high. While I’ll never really know what caused my breast cancer (I have no genetic link), the thought of potentially harmful ingredients being in the products that I used, makes me really angry. We shouldn’t have to wonder if the cosmetics or personal care products we used, caused our cancer.

I was most surprised to learn that the labels on products don’t really mean anything in the US and that fragrance can basically contain a slew of ingredients that could potentially be harmful. Because fragrance ingredients don’t have to be disclosed, there’s no way to know what’s really in those products that contain fragrance. So, all the other ingredients in a product could be safe, but dangerous ingredients could be hiding in the fragrance.

We need federal cosmetic safety reform.

It’s frustrating to not know what’s really in the products we use and put on our kids. My search for safer products was the result of my son’s very sensitive skin when he was a baby and I couldn’t figure out why he’d still react to products labeled “safe”, “natural”, “sensitive skin.” It wasn’t until I heard about the lack of regulation in the US that it all made sense. Now, I try to educate everyone I can about the importance of being aware of what’s in the products they use.

Cosmetic safety reform affects every single one of us. What we’re using, what we’re putting on our babies and our kids, what our family members are using, none of us should be exposed to ingredients that are known to cause harm. Reducing our toxic load is important and not being exposed to endocrine disruptors (which are common in cosmetics and personal care products) is a really big deal for our developing children.

Having gone through 8 rounds of chemo and 20 radiation sessions last year, reducing the toxic load on my body while going through those treatments was very important to me. I used safer products and ate cleaner foods, and had little to no side effects, I think in part because my body didn’t have to filter out toxic ingredients and could just focus on the chem and radiation. Anyone who has been affected by cancer either personally or because of a loved one, should take care to avoid products with potentially harmful ingredients. It’s just not worth the risk.

It's time for a better beauty industry. We need your help!

Send a message to your congressional representative

Connect with Sarah

  • IG: @betterhealth.betterbeauty
  • FB group: better health.better beauty
  • FB page: Beautycounter by Sarah Clark

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SB 574 Stalled in Assembly Appropriations Committee

SB 574 Stalled in Assembly Appropriations Committee

California bill SB 574 would have been the first bill in the world to force companies to publicly disclose the fragrance and flavor chemicals in their beauty and personal care products. Though it did not pass in 2019, a new federal bill, the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Act of 2019 introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, would require full fragrance and flavor ingredient disclosure on a company’s website and disclosure of a product’s toxic fragrance and flavor ingredients on the product label.Read More

Janet Nudelman, BCPP Director of Program & Policy and Director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

California bill SB 574 would have been the first bill in the world to force companies to publicly disclose the fragrance and flavor chemicals in their beauty and personal care products. Though it did not pass in 2019, a new federal bill, the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Act of 2019 introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, would require full fragrance and flavor ingredient disclosure on a company’s website and disclosure of a product’s toxic fragrance and flavor ingredients on the product label. One bill after another, we’re stopping at nothing to move the needle toward cosmetics safety, transparency, and full ingredient disclosure.

In the spring of 2019, BCPP partnered with Black Women for Wellness and Women’s Voices for the Earth in cosponsoring the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act (SB 574 – Leyva). Our team:

  • Testified at 4 policy committee hearings in the Senate and Assembly alongside the bill author Senator Leyva;
  • Took over 30 amendments to the bill which neutralized the industry opposition;
  • And brought 15 lobby teams of hair stylists, breast cancer survivors, clean beauty companies and NGOs to meet with 71 legislative offices to discuss this important bill.

We did everything we could. Still, at the eleventh hour, the bill was killed quietly, held on the Assembly Appropriations Committee suspense file. Given the broad-based support for the bill, NO public industry opposition, and NO price tag, we expected it to sail through the Appropriations Committee. The bill’s surprise end came as a huge shock.

Despite this setback, we are proud of the amazing coalition of partners who joined together with us in support of safe cosmetics, the legislators we educated on toxic chemicals and women’s health, and how far we advanced this bill. With so much good work accomplished this year, we remain committed and plan to sponsor a new California fragrance disclosure bill next year. It’s not unusual for bills to take a few years to pass in California, given that bills enacted will typically impact all 50 states.

On the bright side, while this California bill waits, we are also working to pass a meaningful, health protective federal cosmetic safety bill, the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Act of 2019 (Schakowsky). The two bills complement each other nicely, given that the Schakowsky bill gives consumers fragrance information at the point of purchase, while the California bill aggregates this information in one publicly accessible database for consumers. Of course, the federal cosmetics bill also contains other great provisions that will make cosmetics safer, like immediately banning 20 known toxic chemicals from cosmetics.

Help us pass the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Act of 2019 today!

Send a message to your congressmember right now through our action center.

We believe that change occurs when the public is educated and engaged, when companies adopt safe use and chemical disclosure policies, and when state and federal governments enact laws that protect everyone from chemicals linked to breast cancer and other diseases. Which is why we’ll continue to advocate for full fragrance ingredient disclosure through public education, corporate accountability campaigns, and state and federal advocacy.

Thank you to all our supporters who worked so hard on SB 574. We are so proud of the work we accomplished this year and the amazing coalition we built. We look forward to continuing this important work next year.

We need you!

Please contact us at programinfo@bcpp.org if you are interested in meeting with your state or federal legislators to advocate for safe cosmetics. Or take action online by sending a message to your member of Congress right now.


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Janet Nudleman BCPP Director of Program and Policy Director of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics

It’s Breast Cancer PREVENTION Month

It’s Breast Cancer PREVENTION Month

For us at BCPP, October’s Breast Cancer Awareness is our chance to shine extra light on prevention. We teamed up with our partners in prevention to show you businesses that support BCPP and do pink products the right way: by valuing the health of people and the planet. Read More

For us at BCPP, October’s Breast Cancer Awareness is our chance to shine extra light on prevention. Most people don’t realize that only around 10% of breast cancer cases can be attributed to genetics. What does that mean? It means that most incidences of breast cancer are likely linked to other factors including environmental exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation.

Want to know more? Read about breast cancer science 101 and share with a friend!

Safer Products

We teamed up with our partners in prevention to show you businesses that support BCPP and do pink products the right way: by valuing the health of people and the planet. Check out the great products below that we picked out just for you.

Crunchi

Crunchi is committed to creating clean beauty products that are high-performance and toxic free. We are setting a new standard for cosmetic safety, and ultimately, redefining what it means to be beautiful.

TODAY ONLY, 10/10, Crunchi will donate $5 from every purchase to BCPP. Orders over $150 will receive a Pretty Please blush! 

Osprey

Osprey has long and proudly backed BCPP’s mission. We’ve supported Climb Against the Odds for over 15 years as sponsors and by sending a number of our team members to climb Mt. Shasta for prevention.

Our limited-edition pink Daylite pack sales benefit BCPP. Only available at Osprey.com, while supplies last.

Biossance

We formulate clean, nontoxic skincare using the highest standards in the industry through our commitment to transparency and our blacklist of 2,000+ toxic ingredients. The future is clean with us.

This month, we’re partnering with BCPP and featuring our pink Rosy Glow set.

Farmgirl Flowers

Decorate your home with prevention this month with our: “An Ounce of Prevention” bouquet – a living 6” anthurium plant potted in a ceramic, hand-designed vase. Farmgirl Flowers ethically sources their bouquets and are proud to support farms who pay living wages, avoid harmful chemicals, and have medical benefits for their teams.

For each bouquet purchased, we will donate $5 to support BCPP’s work to stop breast cancer before it starts.

Balega

At Balega, community is based on our founding principle, Ubuntu—a respect for humanity built on love and goodwill. We are dedicated to making the finest running socks and to spreading light through the community. This is why we support BCPP and salute the graceful warriors that inspire us all.

$1 from the sale of every Balega Grit & Grace socks benefits BCPP.

CRYSTAL

CRYSTAL deodorant pioneered mineral-salt deodorant over 35 years ago! Our products work to neutralize the bacteria that causes body odor – unlike ordinary deodorants that cover up odor with harsh chemicals.

We’re proud to support BCPP! Each CRYSTAL purchase made will help support a minimum donation of $10,000.

1MORE 

1MORE, a premium award-wining headphone manufacturer, honors breast cancer awareness month through its partnership with Breast Cancer Prevention Partners. Whether you are directly affected or not, 1MORE hopes to bring awareness to this cause.

During October, 1MORE will be donating 10% of all sales from the USA website to BCPP. Get 20% off all pink series products through Oct., USE CODE: BCPP

Movo

We’re a team of creators who stand behind our innovative products and love that they help you – an incredible, varied community of filmmakers, vloggers, photographers, and more – share your voices across countless mediums.

This month, we’ll donate 25% of our Pink Limited Edition VXR10 microphone proceeds to BCPP.

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

Please purchase or donate and share this with your loved ones.


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Erika Wilhelm_BCPP

Don’t let them hurt our kids

Don’t let them hurt our kids

This is Lucy. Lucy represents thousands of little girls of color in the U.S.Read More

meet lucy_photographer kiana bosman

Photographer Kiana Bosman

This is Lucy.

Lucy represents thousands of little girls of color in the U.S. who are unjustly exposed to toxic chemicals, like formaldehyde, in their hair products.

We know that black women are more likely to die from the disease and get breast cancer at a younger age than other women.

This is why we need beauty companies—especially those that target vulnerable women and children—to disclose all toxic ingredients. We can make this a reality with the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2019 (H.R. 4296)!

Protect Lucy and other girls like her. Pitch in today!

Last year, our shocking Right to Know fragrance report revealed what was really lurking inside 30+ common personal care products. Turns out, the worst beauty product we found was even more toxic than bathroom cleaner!

The culprit? Just for Me, a kids’ shampoo by Strength of Nature, marketed directly to kids of color. In it, we found a whopping:

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Photographer Kiana Bosman

 

This is why little girls like Lucy need your help!

Your dollars go to: uniting our community and business partners around this vital issue; scientific testing and research on dangerous product exposures; and educating legislators to get this bill passed.

Can’t give today?

Ingredients linked to cancer and birth defects should not be allowed to lurk in shampoo, soap, deodorant, lotion, toothpaste, and bubble bath. Enough is enough.

For the first time ever, H.R. 4296 will create the strongest safety standard for make-up and personal care products before they even hit store shelves in the U.S.

Protect yourself and your loved ones from toxic chemicals.

Give today to support our #safecosmetics movement so that we can pass this bill, backed by science, into law!

Thanks in advance,


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Climb Against the Odds: Pushing Personal Limits on Mount Shasta

Climb Against the Odds: Pushing Personal Limits on Mount Shasta

I’m a glamper, not a camper, so when I signed up for this adventure, naturally I was a bit tense. Three days on Mt. Shasta, sleeping on the snow and having to carry everything that belonged to me, (and I mean everything) only scratches the surface of this epic trip I embarked on.Read More

Guest Post by 2019 Climb Against the Odds climber, Katie Meyer

I’m a glamper, not a camper, so when I signed up for this adventure, naturally I was a bit tense. Three days on Mt. Shasta, sleeping on the snow and having to carry everything that belonged to me, (and I mean everything) only scratches the surface of this epic trip I embarked on.

You’d think a born and bred Colorado girl raised in the San Juan’s would have at least attempted a 14’er summit. But, you’d be wrong. Summiting a mountain, especially one in my backyard, has never been on my bucket list. I like hiking, running water and ‘glamping’ in my queen-sized bed, but getting to the top of a peak was not on my radar. For two years, I watched other Osprey sponsored climbers train and fundraise for this event, and their excitement and nerves inspired me to take on this challenge.

Photo by Cobi Krumholz

When I signed up, I agreed to not only train for this climb but to also raise $6,000 in support of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners’ research. I’m proud to say, with the help of my friends, family, and community, I surpassed my goal and raised over $7,000! Together, all of the climbers collectively raised over $340,000 for BCPP – way to go ladies!!

My training included early morning spin classes, LOTS of squats, snowshoeing, a backpacking trip, and many day hikes with my family and friends.

When I landed in Redding, CA, I caught my first glimpse of this majestic mountain. Let me tell ya, she was bigger than ANY mountains we have in Colorado. The beauty and fierceness this peak emanated when I first saw her still leaves me in awe. My first evening in the town of Mt. Shasta was full of laughs and tears as I met the other climbers, heard their inspiring stories, and immediately bonded with them. Many of these powerful women were breast cancer survivors, here to make a difference.

After eight hours by myself in a king-size bed (which as a mother and wife is hard to come by), the day I’d been preparing for for six months had finally arrived. It was time to climb Mount Shasta!

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Photo by Cobi Krumholz

With rental gear on and a backpack full of necessities including my son’s Godzilla toy, we hit the trail. We got to our first camp which was around 8,000 feet and with a few hours of daylight left, our guides taught us some life-saving skills; traversing, self-arrest, and glissading, all things of dire importance while you’re on Mt Shasta. At this point, I’d like to say my nerves had calmed some, but I knew that my adventure was only just beginning. In bed after our first day on Mt Shasta, I thought of my son and my family back home, of my warm bed, and of the security one can only feel while you’re in your comfort zone. My solace at that time were the ladies next to me – the women and their families that were pushed so far out of their comfort zone, not by choice, and still had the bravery and courage to not only fight within but help defeat the disease.

Before we left for our high camp the next morning, we had a powerful ceremony that represented why we were all there. We gathered together in a prayer circle with names of loved ones written on colored prayer flags of whom we were climbing for- mothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, everyone we loved that has fought so hard against the cards they were tragically dealt. It was a powerful and moving moment, one that unified us and made us even stronger as a team.

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Photo by Cobi Krumholz

With prayer flags securely fastened to the packs, we set off for our high camp. As we climbed well above the California treeline, the view was nothing short of magical. Our 2 A.M. summit morning was quickly approaching and our guides wanted us ‘horizontal by 5 P.M.’ Pro tip: a neck buff makes a great eye mask. At 1:30 A.M., summit day had begun. We filled our bellies with hot coffee and oatmeal, fastened on crampons, helmet, harness, and shimmied our packs on and began our ascent. Within minutes we were in a slow, methodical rhythm. Step, pole, step, pole, step… An hour into our climb, it was still dark and cold. The lights of the other climbers ahead of us was like a stream of fireflies showing the way. About every hour we’d stop to take a needed break where we’d nosh on jerky and almond butter, (my chosen snack).

As we wordlessly and rhythmically carried on, the sun began to rise and the magnitude of what we were doing began to sink in. I was on this beautiful mountain I’d first laid eyes on just a few days prior, climbing for a cause that resonates deeply with everyone that’s been impacted by breast cancer.

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Photo by Cobi Krumholz

While training for this climb, I learned of a term, ‘summit fever.’ I can comfortably say, I had the fever and more cowbell wasn’t going to help it. Not reaching the summit of Mt. Shasta just wasn’t an option for me. Inevitably, I was going to get to the bottom of that mountain, get on a plane and go home no matter the outcome, so why not push myself harder than I’ve ever pushed myself before and do just that? At 11,600 feet elevation,  2,500 feet shy of the peak of Mt. Shasta, I reached my personal summit. I realized at that point that I had pushed myself harder than I ever have before. I stepped out of my comfort zone and campaigned for a cause that every one of us can stand behind.

After camp was packed up, we started the long and hot descent of Mt Shasta. Each step came with mixed emotions. Disappointment that I didn’t summit but also an overwhelming feeling of achievement. Every year, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners uses this and many other fundraisers to support their research identifying and eliminating toxins in our everyday environment that are causing breast cancer in women that aren’t genetically predisposed to it.

High Camp_Mount-Shasta_Katie-Meyer-blog_2019_BCPP-Climb-Against-the-Odds

Photo by Katie Meyer

Coming away from this adventure, I’ve learned my limits. I’ve learned how hard I can push myself, but mostly how easy it is to campaign for something you believe in. I was able to do things on this expedition that I didn’t even know I was capable of. There’s one photo that I have of our high camp.  You can see snow, Mt. Shasta and a couple of tents. I love looking at this photo as it represents so much of what I never knew I could ever do. Even though I didn’t reach the summit of Mt. Shasta, I’m so proud of what the other climbers and I were able to accomplish.

Climb Against the Odds is looking for our next team of climbers!

Check out the full itinerary this year and our learn about past climbs through our interactive map journal! Email events@bcpp.org with any questions.


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Safer Choices, Safer Schools: Back to School Tips & Product Guide

Safer Choices, Safer Schools: Back to School Tips & Product Guide

5 Tips for Packing a Safer Lunch – Most people don’t realize that lunch gear commonly contains chemicals like hormone disruptors & carcinogens. These chemicals can seep into the food that you and your kiddos eat. The food you consume can contain hazardous chemicals too!Read More

Go Back to School the Right Way

5 Tips for Packing a Safer Lunch

Most people don’t realize that lunch gear commonly contains chemicals like hormone disruptors & carcinogens. These chemicals can seep into the food that you and your kiddos eat. The food you consume can contain hazardous chemicals too!

What are simple top tips for safer lunch packing?

  1. Choose a stainless steel or canvas lunchbox. Avoid materials like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and other plastics, which can contain phthalates, BPA, or BPA substitutes like BPS, and contribute to pollution.
  2. No single use plastic. Many single-use and reusable plastic water bottles are made with harmful bisphenols like BPA, BPS, or BPF that leach hormone-disrupting chemicals. Use reusable stainless steel (like Klean Kanteen) or glass bottles.
  3. Pack organic snacks. Organic fresh fruits and veggies are best to avoid cancer-causing pesticides. Choose lean meats and skip the processed lunch meats (like deli meats, salami, hot dogs) which are recognized as cancer-causing. Get Clif Bars, below.
  4. Swap sandwich bags. Choose biodegradable bags like paper or a cloth wrap. Beeswax wraps (natural fiber cloth, like cotton, coated with wax) are another safe option that keeps leaks contained while keeping your food fresh.
  5. Stay clean. For easy clean up, use an essential oil-based hand sanitizer. See the Everyone Products, below.

Safer Products

Our partners in prevention are businesses that support BCPP and value the health of people and the planet. Check out the best back to school items below that we picked just for you.

Everyone: School

Enjoy botanical body care at a great value with Back to School essentials from Everyone for Every Body. Stock up on our best-selling hand soaps and hand sanitizers to keep hands clean at home and in the classroom.

Receive 25% off our back to school bundles with code BTS2019. Valid through 9/30/19. 

Everyone: Dorm

Try our curated selection of dorm room favorites from Everyone for Every Body! This bundle includes all the products a college student needs to kick start a new year on campus. This special bundle has your healthy must haves: face cleanser, moisturizer, hand soap and sanitizer, and 3-in-1 soap and lotion.

Receive 25% off this bundle with code BTS2019. Valid through 9/30/19. 

Klean Kanteen

At Klean Kanteen, human and environmental safety is our top priority. All Klean Kanteen bottles feature our Klean Coat® finish that has been formulated to remove any chemicals deemed harmful for people and planet. When it comes to a truly clean bottle, trust that Klean Kanteen has your back!

Save 25% on your next purchase with coupon code BCPP25 at checkout. Offer for single use only.

MyChelle

Ban blemishes before the first bell rings with MyChelle Dermaceuticals Clear Skin products. The Clear Skin collection contains NatureClear Complex™, a powerful blend that helps to inhibit breakouts, counteract bacteria, protect against stress, and prevent impurities. These non-irritating ingredients help control oil and blemishes for a smoother face.

Use BACKTOSCHOOL code for 20% off your purchase. Valid until 8/31/19. 

Clif Kid

CLIF Kid Zbar® is an organic, baked whole grain energy snack, made with a blend of carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and fat to give kids energy so they can keep zipping and zooming along. Their products never include high fructose corn syrup or artificial flavors.

Childhood and imagination need fuel. Try their delicious wholesome goodies. 

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

Purchase or Donate and share this email with your friends. 


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Erika Wilhelm_BCPP

Climb the Mountains

Climb the Mountains

For me, that climb was the ultimate evidence of the quote, “while I had cancer, it didn’t have me.” I was 53, had never seen a 14,179 foot mountain, never mind climb one and yet in June of 2009, four years after my initial diagnosis, I stood on the summit of Mount Shasta in northern California and soaked in the glorious moments of pure joy, of pure living. Read More

Guest Post by 2009 Climb Against the Odds climber and New England Peaks for Prevention event organizer, Deb Cole

Originally published in Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 4.

The spring equinox represents new light and life, new beginnings, but in March of 2005 the dawning of spring brought a darkness I had hoped that I’d never know. Breast cancer. I’d lost my Dad to metastatic prostate cancer when I was in my late 20’s and here I was 20 years later being diagnosed with this most dreaded of diseases.

Prior to my own diagnosis I knew of only one other person who had been diagnosed with breast cancer, she was my friend’s mother and she passed away six months before my Dad. To me, cancer meant death.

Upon hearing my own diagnosis, I was terrified. I was suddenly thrust into an unfamiliar world with terms I didn’t understand and treatment options that seemed straight out of my worst nightmares. So I did what I always do, when faced with something I know nothing about, I began to read and research. I needed to make logical sense of what was going to happen to me and what and where my best treatment options were. Thankfully, Boston and its top notch hospitals and doctors were just an hour away and at that time the only doctor in the Northeast who performed the DIEP (deep inferior epigastric perforator) flap reconstruction was in Boston, and that was the surgery option I decided to pursue.

In the world of breast cancer, I was considered “lucky” to be diagnosed with high grade DCIS (ductal carcinoma in situ). My treatment required surgery, but no chemotherapy or radiation. At the time I resented doctors telling me how lucky I was; somehow a bi-lateral mastectomy, DIEP flap reconstruction and a sudden idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss in my left ear as a result of surgery didn’t make me feel “lucky.” I felt damaged and incomplete with the loss of my breasts and my new hearing impairment. I was in desperate need of an outlet to work off my angst and to find myself again.

I started to walk as a means of exercise and to feel like I had control of my life again. At first a few feet was more than I could manage due to the hip to hip incision required for the reconstruction and my friend would move a chair up and down the driveway with me so I could sit down every few minutes. Before long, I was up to a mile and then two and I just kept going from there. I participated in a local “pink” walking event with my family and discovered I was not alone. There were lots of other women and some men just like me who had been diagnosed with breast cancer and they had the support of each other and a much larger caring community. I was hooked! I realized that I could receive the support I needed and I could give something back by raising money to provide education and support to others. I also discovered my passion – prevention. Ultimately, I discovered my new mission. I needed to do whatever I could to prevent breast cancer because of two driving forces, my daughters, Lindsay and Hayley. Hayley was just nine years old when I was diagnosed and Lindsay was 21 and I couldn’t imagine them going through life without a mother or facing a diagnosis in the future themselves. I had to do something.

While working full time at a local University, I managed to dive into all things breast cancer related. For a number of years I captained teams for multi-day breast cancer walks, raising thousands of dollars. I have lobbied on Capitol Hill for continued funding of breast cancer research and policy. I completed the Project Lead scientific training courses offered by the National Breast Cancer Coalition. I joined the board of a local breast cancer organization funding research on prevention. I was the project manager of a “Men with Breast Cancer” calendar as well as the cover girl on another calendar.

I was a panelist for a Congressional staff briefing on prevention. I’ve given testimony at my local State House on fragrance. I immersed myself in the breast cancer community to do whatever I could to help make a difference in the lives of those diagnosed with breast cancer. In 2009, I joined a mountaineering expedition called the Climb Against the Odds, the signature event of the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP).

For me, that climb was the ultimate evidence of the quote, “while I had cancer, it didn’t have me.” I was 53, had never seen a 14,179 foot mountain, never mind climb one and yet in June of 2009, four years after my initial diagnosis, I stood on the summit of Mount Shasta in northern California and soaked in the glorious moments of pure joy, of pure living. I will forever be grateful to my East Coast teammates, who made sure we all stood on the summit together.

Arriving back in Rhode Island, high on that mountain climbing experience, I wanted to figure out a way to share it with friends, family and fellow survivors back on the East Coast. I wanted others to have that same feeling of community, accomplishment, support and the knowledge that they are doing something towards prevention of cancers and other diseases. After a couple of years of trying to figure out the details of exactly what it was I was going to do, the decision was made deep in the woods while hiking with two of my best friends, Patti and Shirley. I was planning to organize an event on Mt Washington and they committed to being by my side. We agreed that at least there would be three of us climbing that mountain.

To that end, I founded New England Peaks for Prevention (NEPP) in 2013 to benefit the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and the planning began in earnest. After much deliberation it was decided that participants of NEPP would take part in a two day hike through the Presidential Range to the summit of Mount Washington, with two overnights in two of the beautiful Appalachian Mountain club huts. They would return home with knowledge to protect themselves and those they love by taking actions for prevention. New England Peaks for Prevention provides a unique and empowering way for participants and survivors to turn awareness into action just in time for Breast Cancer Prevention Month. The event serves as an opportunity for individuals to honor the strength and courage it takes to face breast cancer as they challenge themselves to climb the highest mountain east of the Mississippi.

The first NEPP event was held on September 5-7, 2014, complete with a memorable mountaintop prayer flag ceremony in honor of survivors or in memory of those who we’ve lost to this disease. That first year Patti, Shirley and I were indeed there, but 52 other folks who joined us as well! I was absolutely thrilled that the inaugural event raised over $100,000! In the past 5 years over 200 unique individuals have participated in NEPP, and each year about half of the participants are back for a repeat experience. These repeat participants would tell you that it’s the people who bring them back year after year and the tremendous feelings of comradery and love. I have been blessed to have one or the other of my daughters climbing alongside of me every year as well as nieces and nephews. I have come to treasure this very special time we have created in the White Mountain National Forest of New Hampshire. My family realizes the benefit of prevention and are all working hard in their own lives to do what they can to thwart the advance of disease through prevention.

To date NEPP events have collectively raised over $410,000 for BCPP. This past September of 2018 we celebrated our 5th year of New England Peaks for Prevention. In a bittersweet gesture, the event was dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Shirley, who lost her life to metastatic breast cancer in March of 2018. While the spring was bringing new light and life once again, one more amazing light was extinguished by breast cancer.

In hindsight, when I was diagnosed in March 2005, it was a new beginning. I am nothing like the person I was prior to my diagnosis. I am stronger, braver and grateful for each and every day I have. I have been lucky, just like the doctors told me. However, many of the wonderful, courageous women I have met along my journey have not been as fortunate. Metastatic breast cancer kills, which is why I will continue to do whatever I can for as long as I can to make a difference in the world of breast cancer.

I am living each day to the fullest. Prevention is the key!

Climb Mt. Washington with New England Peaks for Prevention

Check out the full itinerary and sign up here to hike in support of breast cancer prevention!


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Deb-Cole_BCPP-Supporter_blog-author

Making Change for Safe Cosmetics: Fragrance and Flavor Lobby Day

Making Change for Safe Cosmetics: Fragrance and Flavor Lobby Day

The goal of the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019 lobby day was to sit down and share these views with legislators in Sacramento. The stories of women who have been directly affected by toxic ingredients in beauty care products were paramount in explaining to legislative aides why we need fragrance and flavor disclosure. Read More

By 2019 BCPP Program Intern Juhi Khemani 

I joined BCPP as a program and policy intern last month and worked with the team to help organize the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019’s first official lobby day. On May 22, 2019, Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, Women’s Voices for the Earth and Black Women for Wellness journeyed to the State Capitol Building in Sacramento to lobby for the bill, Senate Bill 574 (SB574). With a floor vote that could be as early as the next day, it was imperative to speak directly to our elected representatives in favor of this bill.

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Freda Cullina, Stylist, Nancy Buermeyer, Senior Policy Strategist at BCPP, and Kat Jones, Communications and Training Specialist at EO Products

Supporters of SB 574 who joined our lobby day ranged from clean cosmetic businesses who voluntarily disclose the fragrance and flavor ingredients they use, to breast cancer survivors who unequivocally support the consumer right to know focus of Senator Leyva’s bill. We at BCPP, along with our coalition of business and NGO supporters, believe in full disclosure of toxic fragrance and flavor ingredients in beauty and personal care products and SB 574 aims to do just that – hold manufacturers and companies accountable by mandating fragrance and flavor ingredient transparency.

The goal of the Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act lobby day was to sit down and share these views with legislators in Sacramento. Throughout the day, groups of advocates visited different senators’ offices to tell their impassioned stories and express to legislative staffers the importance of supporting SB 574 when the bill came before the full Senate for a floor vote. The stories of women who have been directly affected by toxic ingredients in beauty care products were paramount in explaining to legislative aides why we need fragrance and flavor disclosure.

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Katheryn Jones of EO; Lauren Doko of Innersense, Senator Connie Leyva, Paul Deacon of Juice Beauty, Janet Nudelman, and Joanne Starkman, CEO of Innersense

Salon workers shared their concerns about working with products that contained hidden toxic ingredients while beauty product businesses explained the benefits of ingredient transparency from an industry perspective. That we came with allies in the beauty product industry and other women’s organizations demonstrated to California legislators the broad-based constituent and business support behind SB 574 in California. Our lobby day was a final push in the Senate to explain the purpose of what this bill contained and what it could offer for consumers and workers alike. SB574 is the first bill of its kind in the nation and could build momentum for federal-level fragrance disclosure.

The landscape of consumer demands is going through a transformation – parents, families and individuals are demanding more transparency from companies in order to keep their loved ones safe. SB 574 would offer this transparency. BCPP, Senator Leyva, and our other co-sponsors of the bill, Black Women for Wellness and Women’s Voices for the Earth,– believe that the citizens of California should have the Right to Know whether toxic ingredients are hiding, undisclosed, in their beauty and personal care products.  SB574 calls the question on this important issue for California legislators: will they also support consumer and worker fragrance ingredient right to know?

Our lobby day was a success!  On May 29, 2019, SB 574 passed the California State Senate by a vote of 23 to 10. Now we are working to get SB574 through the California Assembly. It’s been a busy summer of advocacy and congressional visits at California’s capitol, but we are hopeful for the passage of SB 574. Without hesitation, we have already set our sights on the United States Congress. It’s time for the federal government to follow suit and care about cosmetic reform too because toxic ingredients shouldn’t be a secret anywhere in our country.

Tell your California legislators to Expose the Secret Chemicals in Cosmetics (SB574)

Passed the Senate, we’re halfway there! Send your CA Assemblymember a message to vote Yes on SB574 to expose toxic fragrance and flavor chemicals in beauty and personal care products.


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We all have a Right to Know if toxic chemicals are hiding in our fragrances and flavors

We all have a Right to Know if toxic chemicals are hiding in our fragrances and flavors

We tested 32 of the most popular beauty products from around the country to find out what exactly is hiding in these products. Grab a beauty product of yours, flip it around, and look at the label. Most likely you will see “fragrance” or “parfum.Read More

Post by BCPP Marketing & Communications Manager, Erika Wilhelm

Grab a beauty product of yours, flip it around, and look at the label. Most likely you will see “fragrance” or “parfum.” Did you know that dozens, sometimes even hundreds, of chemicals can hide under that one little word on beauty, personal care products, and cleaning products? And that scent could lead to serious health consequences.

That’s why we at Breast Cancer Prevention Partners tested 32 of the most popular products from around the country to find out what exactly is hiding in these products.

Our new report Right to Know: Exposing Toxic Fragrance Chemicals in Beauty, Personal Care and Cleaning Products exposes the real and honest extent of this problem. And lays the groundwork to change this dirty game. Check out some of the most jaw dropping findings:

338.

We found a total of 338 SECRET fragrance chemicals in the 25 personal care products we tested.

3/4.

An overwhelming majority (three-quarters) of the chemicals linked to chronic health effects, like cancer, birth defects, respiratory harm, neurotoxicity, hormone disruption, or aquatic toxicity, detected in the products we tested are fragrance chemicals.

It may be a fam fave.

Four of the fine fragrances we tested landed on our Top 10 Hazardous Products List: JLO Glow, Marc Jacobs Daisy, Taylor Swift Wonderstruck and the classic, White Linen by Estée Lauder.

The worst of the worst.

The product with the highest number of chemicals linked to chronic health effects is a kids’ shampoo, Just for Me, marketed to African-American girls in a hair relaxer kit. We found 4 carcinogens, 19 potential hormone-disrupting compounds, and 6 chemicals linked to reproductive and developmental toxicity.

Links to breast cancer.

We found several products with chemicals linked to breast cancer, such as benzene and 1,4-dioxane, which are associated with mammary tumors in laboratory studies. We also found a number of hormone-disrupting compounds with links to breast cancer: oxybenzone, propylparaben, and phthalates (DEHP and DEP).

Big takeaway:

Many of the personal care products we tested contained more hazardous chemicals than the cleaning products we tested! How can this be? A gaping federal loophole allows this $70 billion unregulated fragrance industry to keep these harmful chemicals secret. We say, no more!

That’s why we are supporting two bills that could change the game.

California bill:

The California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019 (SB574) would require companies that sell beauty or personal care products in California to report fragrance or flavor ingredients linked to harm to human health or the environment to the California Safe Cosmetics Program Database. SB574 would be the first law of its kind in the nation.

The time is now, to urge your CA legislator to support the ONLY bill in the nation that will reveal the harmful chemicals hiding in fragrance and flavor ingredients.

Federal bill:

The brand new bill introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (Democrat-IL) would ban chemicals linked to cancer and birth defects from retail and professional salon products. Unlike other bills, the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2018 is the only federal cosmetic safety legislation that would end secret ingredients by requiring full fragrance ingredient disclosure.

Take action! Pass the Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2018.

We all have a right to know what is hiding in the products that we use at home and work. No more secret toxic fragrance chemicals.

Let’s do this together.


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Erika Wilhelm_BCPP

Top ways to have a safer summer

Top ways to have a safer summer

Check out our sunscreen tips and summer partner products! Did you know that many sunscreens contain chemicals that can mimic estrogen in the body, disrupt the endocrine system, and play a significant role in breast cancer development? We think you shouldn’t have to choose between skin cancer and breast cancer.Read More

Check out our tips + fun in the sun products below

Sunscreen Tips

Did you know that many sunscreens contain chemicals that can mimic estrogen in the body, disrupt the endocrine system, and play a significant role in breast cancer development? We think you shouldn’t have to choose between skin cancer and breast cancer.

So, we put together a red list of sunscreen ingredients for you to avoid and other easy steps to minimize your exposure during this super hot summer season.

What are UV filters?
Ultraviolet filters, or UV filters, are chemicals that are able to screen out UV-A and UV-B rays from the sun.

What are the top tips to avoid exposure?
The best way to reduce exposure to UV filters is to avoid purchasing those that list chemical UV filters, such as octinoxate, octyl methoxycinnamate, benzophenone, oxybenzone, PABA and padimate O.

  • Choose sunscreens that use sun-blocking compounds derived from minerals, such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, in a non-inhalable form.
  • Avoid purchasing lipsticks, hair products, nail polish and other personal care products that list chemical UV filters such as octinoxate or octyl methoxycinnamate (OMC).
  • When spending long periods of time in the sun, use good sun sense. Wear a wide-brimmed hat, lightweight long sleeves, and pants. Apply a mineral-based sunblock liberally and frequently.

Safer Products

At BCPP, our partners in prevention are businesses that support BCPP and value the health of people and the planet. The products below come from stellar companies that financially support our efforts to prevent breast cancer, so purchases you make also support BCPP! Check out the hot items we picked for your sunny summer.

Earth Mama Organics

Keep summer, fall, winter and spring safe with effective herbal care, like sunscreen and deodorant with cutting-edge botanical ingredients and no toxic chemicals — because what goes ON the skin goes IN.

Save 25% on your purchase with coupon code EarthMama25. Offer valid on US orders only, expires 12/31/19.  

Crystal

Since 1984, CRYSTAL has been creating deodorants with Mineral Salts and Sodium Bicarbonate to provide safer and reliable odor protection. Natural minerals and other botanically-derived ingredients stop odor before it starts without blocking pores, allowing the body to function naturally. You can feel confident that you are doing right by your body and the environment.

Use code SAFERSUMMER on thecrystal.com to receive $3 off your $10+ purchase from June 10 – July 31.

Juice Beauty

Juice Beauty reef safe sunscreens are formulated without chemical SPF ingredients such as oxybenzone, which have been banned in Hawaii and Florida for harming coral reefs. Feel assured that you’re safeguarding your skin and our environment with Juice Beauty’s reef-friendly mineral zinc SPFs offering broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection.

Made with certified organic ingredients, try Juice Beauty this summer for ideal protection against premature aging and hyperpigmentation due to sun damage.

BUFF

BUFF® is the original multifunctional headwear brand, having premiered and innovated the tubular headwear category. Recognized by athletes and outdoor enthusiasts for its quality, craftsmanship, and customizable design and style options.

Many of BUFF® products are awarded the Seal of Recommendation by the Skin Cancer Foundation, check them out.

Crunchi

Meet Crunchi’s NEW CHARCOAL BODY BAR. Made with organic jojoba seed and infused with fresh citrus essential oil, Crunchi’s Charcoal Body Bar gently cleanses and exfoliates leaving your skin feeling soft and smooth. True health and beauty means caring not only about what we see in the mirror, but also the world around us.

Consciously produced and packaged, the Charcoal Body Bar is not only effective and long lasting, but by not using plastic bottles and wrappers has minimal environmental impact. Get yours today.

Balega

With blister resisting, moisture wicking, and antimicrobial technologies, Balegas are not only the running socks you need, but the socks you deserve. We proudly support BCPP and healthy futures every stride of the way.

Balega is on a mission of prevention by encouraging healthier lifestyles for women. Find your fit, you’ll fall in love.


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