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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
We found a total of 338 SECRET fragrance chemicals in the 25 personal care products we tested.
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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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® 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.
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.
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.
When I was invited by BCPP to pledge support for SB574, I expected to be part of a large group where we would collectively pledge our support. Easy. I can show up and do that.Read More
Guest Post by Joanne Starkman, cofounder of Innersense Organic Beauty
When I was invited by Breast Cancer Prevention Partners (BCPP) to pledge support for the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019 (SB574), I expected to be part of a large group where we would collectively pledge our support. Easy. I can show up and do that.
After arriving in California’s state capitol, I quickly discovered I would have the opportunity to share my personal story first-hand with legislative staffers. My very personal story shared publicly in ways I never imagined. Flooded with emotion, life since my daughter’s birth flashed before me and it felt like a full circle was completing itself.
At 22-months, my daughter Morgan was diagnosed with Williams Syndrome. This rare genetic and beautiful condition takes place at the time of conception where 26-28 genes are spontaneously deleted on chromosome #7 ultimately affecting one’s health and intellectual abilities.
At the time of Morgan’s diagnosis, I had questions. So many questions. Why did this happen? Was this a result of something I did or was exposed to? Could I have done something differently? I became an avid researcher and detailed label reader to leave no stone unturned.
What I discovered shocked me. I learned toxic ingredients are used in food, personal care products, manufactured goods and more. More disturbing, I found out these unhealthy ingredients were commonplace.
Our body burden was becoming flooded with known toxic ingredients. These known toxicants were already directly proven to adversely affect health and were connected to cancers, skin conditions, endocrine disorders and more. It was eye-opening to find many of these ingredients weren’t disclosed to the consumer. Plus, our ecosystems and wildlife were also being impacted as the by-products of these toxic ingredients were making their way into our waterways and environment.
As a hairstylist, I discovered my exposure to toxic chemicals in the salon placed me at a much higher risk for diseases. In fact, chemical exposure as a hairdresser or barber is classified as a ‘probable carcinogen’ by the International Agency for Research on Cancer, the leading global research agency.[i]
Studies also show that my job may be linked to reproductive harm.[ii] Data across 19 studies found that women who work as hairdressers and cosmetologists had increased time to birth, increased risk of premature birth, increased risk of having a baby who was small for gestational age, increased risk of having a baby with low birth weight and increased miscarriage.
I was stunned.
And, I became motivated. Not only was it my purpose to create a safe and healthy household for my family, it was now my purpose to care for my salon professional colleagues knowing the toxic environment they worked in every day. Stylists care for their beauty guests in many ways, including their role as confidant, counselor and friend. They all deserve to work in a safe and healthy environment, plus use safe products in their hands.
My research left me with a newfound purpose to develop a salon professional haircare line using safe and healthy ingredients. Finding ingredients from Mother Nature offering salon performance was tasked to my husband in his new role as conscious chemist. Transparency became our focus—each ingredient used in formulations would be fully disclosed—as we established the highest standard for what is now known as clean beauty.
Over fourteen years later since Innersense Organic Beauty was officially founded, I am now able to share my story in a way I never dreamed of. I spoke first-hand with several California legislative staffers to share about my daughter Morgan, the importance of ingredient transparency and to officially pledge my support for SB574. I also asked staffers to encourage their legislators to co-author this bill. California has the opportunity to lead the way in ingredient transparency as this is the first bill in the country to require manufacturers to disclose toxic fragrance and flavor ingredients in products sold in California.
It’s here where I discovered my story comes full circle and where I can make a positive difference to facilitate much needed change.
And, Morgan. She is now 23 years old and brings great joy in my life! She is a teacher of love, inclusiveness and compassion. We can all use more of these characteristics in our life, which fosters positive change in our world, too.
I hope through my story the world becomes a better place. And, we have the opportunity right here in California and it starts with SB574. Thank you BCPP for giving me a voice in a way I never expected. I am grateful for the unexpected nudge!
Joanne Starkman is a BCPP supporter and cofounder of Innersense Organic Beauty.
From naming a new CEO, to taking on Strength of Nature for their toxic shampoo, to a new CA Right to Know bill, and a fresh one-of-kind science video series, it’s safe to say we’ve been busy at BCPP this past quarter! Check out our bulletin below for the top news from your trusted breast cancer prevention organization.Read More
By BCPP Staff Erika Wilhelm
From naming a new CEO, to taking on Strength of Nature for their toxic shampoo, to a new CA Right to Know bill, and a fresh one-of-kind science video series, it’s safe to say we’ve been busy at BCPP this past quarter! Check out our bulletin below for the top news from your trusted breast cancer prevention organization.
SB 574: Let’s end toxic secrets in fragrance & flavors
BCPP and our partners – Black Women for Wellness and Women’s Voices for the Earth – teamed up with Senator Connie Leyva to draft and introduce the California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act of 2019 (SB 574). For the first time ever, manufacturers that sell beauty and personal care products in CA will be required to report hazardous fragrance or flavor ingredients to the California Safe Cosmetics Program. In addition, companies will not be allowed to claim trade secret or confidential business information protection for any of these ingredients.
BCPP is leading advocacy efforts such as educating legislators about the need for fragrance disclosure, building coalition support within the NGO and business communities, and utilizing our action network and social media channels to generate broad-based support for this bill.
It’s our supporters who give us this momentum. The past two years we’ve prioritized Right to Know advocacy and your donations and actions have helped to make these goals a reality. We did it first with our Cleaning Product Ingredients bill (SB 258) and then again with our Salon Products bill (AB 2775). Help us push SB 574 through. Donate today to support our efforts!
No more cancer-causing shampoo
Not only do we take our fight for safer products to legislators, but we also go straight to companies demanding change! Our current target? Strength of Nature.
Last year, BCPP released our report Right to Know: Exposing toxic fragrance chemicals in beauty, personal care and cleaning products, which investigated to what extent companies that make beauty, personal care, and cleaning products hide unlabeled toxic chemicals in their products. Out of the 32 household products we analyzed, the kids’ shampoo Just for Me, made by Strength of Nature, had the most toxic chemicals – including 4 carcinogens, 6 developmental toxicants, and 19 hormone disrupting compounds!
So, last month we sent a call to action to our supporters, asking them to join us in demanding Strength of Nature remove these toxic chemicals from their shampoo. Thousands within our community rallied. Shout out to those of you who already took action. But our demands are not done until Strength of Nature ditches their toxic formulation. Will you act today and share this action with a friend? Every voice helps move the needle for corporate accountability.
Going Behind the Science with renowned experts
Science is our backbone. That’s why BCPP is committed to grounding our work in the latest scientific information on the complex relationships between environmental factors and breast cancer. We’ve got a go-to crew of top-notch scientists that help make this happen. Our Science Advisory Panel (SAP), made up of over 20 experts, are always there for us to offer advice when we are exploring scientific data or planning new initiatives based on the latest evidence.
Because we rely on these experts, we thought you should too! So we launched the first episode of our Behind the Science video series which covers adult and prenatal chemical exposures. This unique online series will consist of exclusive interviews with our SAP scientists covering a variety of breast cancer and environmental health topics that matter to you. We’ll answer frequently asked questions from our community, so let us know what you’d like to ask a scientist!
Welcome Amanda Heier – Our new CEO!
On April 2nd, BCPP officially announced that Amanda Heier will serve as our new Chief Executive Officer. After carefully conducting a national search that considered many highly impressive candidates, the BCPP search committee and board unanimously selected Amanda. A passionate public health leader, Amanda has extensive non-profit experience mobilizing diverse teams, enhancing programs that optimize community impact, and implementing organizational growth. She is equipped with the talent, experience, and heart needed to lead this organization closer to our goal of stopping breast cancer before it starts.
Amanda will be only the third person to hold the position of CEO since the founding of BCPP (formerly Breast Cancer Fund) in 1992.
Amanda has previously served as Executive Director for Raphael House, the Mary Elizabeth Inn and, most recently, as CEO of the San Francisco General Hospital Foundation. Amanda’s first day at BCPP will be May 8.
P.S. Will you be free the evening of May 23rd? Join us for a female-focused exclusive LUNAFEST San Francisco film festival event at Dolby Laboratories. Tickets are going fast!
At BCPP, our partners in prevention are businesses that value the health and well-being of people and the planet. Check out these safer brands with products that are all the rave this month!Read More
At BCPP, our partners in prevention are businesses that value the health and well-being of people and the planet. Check out these safer brands with products that are all the rave this month!
The Futon Shop brings Earth Day into your home with mattresses made in San Francisco, and sourced with only natural and certified organic ingredients, bringing your family the healthiest night’s sleep.
The Futon Shop partners with BCPP to donate 1% of your purchase to fight against toxic chemicals in our environment.
Clearly Filtered provides the most advanced sustainable water filters on the planet. Their independently tested and certified water filter technology removes over 230 toxic chemicals, providing you and your family peace of mind for your drinking water.
Clearly Filtered is generously donating 50% of sales to BCPP this April, when you use this link!
A partner of BCPP for almost 20 years, Seventh Generation has been a leader in redefining clean. This Earth Month, save a tree, swap to 100% recycled bath tissue! Or find your new go-to, no-rinse botanical disinfecting wipes, spray or cleaner.
Shop Seventh Generation’s full line of non toxic cleaning products.
Grow Fragrance air + fabric fresheners are mindfully made with 100% plant-based ingredients. These toxic free home fragrance products help eliminate odors and refresh fabrics. Now available in limited edition Black Currant Rose for spring.
Grow is donating $1 to BCPP for every bottle sold in April, when you use this link!
For 12+ years Juice Beauty and BCPP have been partners in prevention. And every day is Earth Day at Juice Beauty! They’ve been championing organic farming since the brand’s very beginning in order to provide healthier ingredients and greater antioxidant protection for skin.
Try their best-selling Stem Cellular Anti-Wrinkle skincare collection powered by resveratrol-rich grape infused with fruit stem cells + Vitamin C.
Founded in Colorado, MyChelle Dermaceuticals transformed the natural beauty industry by being the first to use anti-aging peptides, plant stem cells and clinically proven dermatological ingredients that enhance the natural appearance of your skin. MyChelle formulates clean skin care that does not compromise personal health or the well-being of our environment.
Clif Bar has been a longtime supporter of BCPP. Their journey to use organic ingredients started in 2003, and they’ve been able to increase their use of organic ingredients every year, continuing their relentless quest toward using 100% organic ingredients. Together, BCPP and LUNA, the first nutrition bar aimed at women, also support women in film through LUNAFEST San Francisco.
Attend LUNAFEST —short films by, for, about women — May 23 at Dolby Laboratories.
If you’re like me, the first signs of spring are enough to make you want to throw open the windows, pull out your broom, and give those dusty corners a good sweep. But hold on there, Mary Poppins! Just a spoonful of broom sweeping and spraying toxic cleaning products can send a whole host of new and accumulated chemicals up into the air you breathe.Read More
How to clean house without toxic chemicals
By BCPP Staff Emily Reuman
It’s official—spring is here! I just returned from a desert camping trip in Anza Borrego and the desert is in full bloom. Wildflowers in white and yellow, pink cactus blooms, and even the red ocotillo blossoms peeking out. I woke up to a stream of butterflies coming up through the canyon walls, flying northward—the painted ladies. These beauties are out in full force through the desert on their trip up toward the Superbloom in Northern CA.
If you’re like me, the first signs of spring are enough to make you want to throw open the windows, pull out your broom, and give those dusty corners a good sweep. But hold on there, Mary Poppins! Just a spoonful of broom sweeping and spraying toxic cleaning products can send a whole host of new and accumulated chemicals up into the air you breathe. Think flame retardant chemicals (like PBDEs) from foam furniture like your old couch. Ew.
As much as possible, I try to avoid harsh chemicals, plastics, and disposables when I clean. I opt instead for non-toxic solutions and zero-waste options, which, in addition to being simpler and reusable, save me money. That’s winning in my book!
So before you turn the house upside down, check out my top recommendations for ways to make your home sparkle.
Step 1—Contain the grime
Vacuum with a HEPA filter
Do I have to? Broom sweeping seems easier.
I hear you. Vacuuming with a HEPA filter is by far the best way to keep dust and harmful chemicals out of the air you breathe. By safely capturing dust and particulate matter inside the vacuum bag, you help avoid stirring up the nasty.
HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air. A HEPA filter is a mechanical air filter that works by forcing air through a fine mesh. It traps harmful particles including pollen, pet dander, dust mites, and tobacco smoke. HEPA-equipped vacuums cut down on the dust that goes back out into the room as you vacuum. You can thank me later for that allergy sinus relief.
Step 2—Shine it up
Get yourself a reusable mop pad with a simple, homemade cleaning solution in a spray bottle.
- Skip the harmful chemicals in synthetic fragrance-laden cleaning products. Breathe easier. Reduce your cancer risk.
- Eliminate trash from wasteful disposables and plastic while you save money. Cha-ching!
- Many mop pads are machine washable, making clean-up a breeze.
I’m no chemist
Me neither. Easiest cleaning solution: 10 cups water + 1 cup white vinegar. Boom. Add lemon if you fancy.
Reusable mop pads—help me
Microfiber cloth pads work well to lift grime and can go in the wash again and again. Cheapest option? Wrap a towel, microfiber cloth, or even an old sock around a mop-shaped base and pin, clip, or stich together on the top. Heck crochet them, if you’re handy!
Step 3—Smelly things
De-odorize without masking
Baking soda neutralizes odors, eliminates dampness, and is especially tough on grime and hard-to-tackle stains. Vinegar is an easy and cheap de-odorizer as well. Just like grandma used.
What not to use
Cleaning products that either don’t list all their ingredients or include the word ‘fragrance‘ on the label. These products contain any number of unknown harmful chemicals that may increase your risk of breast cancer. Skip em.
Step 4—Still want to buy something?
I try to skip the plastic packaging whenever possible. For everything else, EWG’s healthy cleaning guide has brand and product ratings along with ingredient info. Find yourself a product.
Got more non-toxic cleaning tips?
We’d love to hear them! Share on our Facebook page, Tweet at us, or tag us on IG and include #springcleandetox
Fundraising for the T9 Mermaid Race was as easy as Ready. Set. Go!Read More
Guest Post by BCPP Development Manager Nicole Parker
Fundraising for the T9 Mermaid Race was as easy as Ready. Set. Go!
I love being outdoors, I’m training for a summer race and I’m passionate about the work Breast Cancer Prevention Partners does. So of course, the T9 Mermaid Series was a perfect fit for me. By committing to fundraise $500, my race fees were waived, and in addition, I got to spread the word about BCPP to all my friends on various social media platforms.
I was amazed to find that when I posted my story on social media, I reached my fundraising goal in just a week! More importantly, I reconnected with an old friend I hadn’t spoken to in years, who shared her recent breast cancer journey. In the past year, I’ve lost one friend to breast cancer, and learned of another going through treatment. Both are in their early 30s, and it definitely fuels me to spread the mission of BCPP.
While the emotions behind this event were difficult, the logistics for race day were easy. There were 3 days of packet pickup to accommodate everyone’s schedules, and on race morning, I was able to drive up to the start line and park (for free!). From check-in to parking, the race really treated everyone like a champ. I was greeted with a smile at every turn and walked away from the race with a branded tech t-shirt, mermaid necklace and huge finisher’s medal.
At the start line, all the participants were excited to start the race, snapping pictures and dancing to keep warm. My favorite part of this event was that it really felt like a community. There were families at the start line to cheer on those racing, and in addition to the kids’ races, there were even some running in the 10k with me. As I ran towards the finish line, the woman in front of me stopped to grab her young son and finish the race with him, together. The whole race was well-staffed and supported, from more than enough port-a-potties, to water and first aid tents. All race essentials!
As I crossed the finish line, I felt reflective on my morning and the experience. I ran the Mermaid Race to raise funds for BCPP to help continue consumer education in the safer products world, support its policy work, campaigns and other innovative programs that prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease. Moreover, I ran to remember those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and those we’ve lost. Looking at the participants at the event, including so many women and children, made me realize there is so much work to be done.
Run for a Cause: Mermaid Series
Check out upcoming races, learn more, and register to run! Email email@example.com with any questions.
My family and I joined BCPP’s community when one of my girlfriends was under 40 and diagnosed with breast cancer. She was determined to hike for prevention, so we decided to hike with her. Read More
My family and I joined BCPP’s community when one of my girlfriends was under 40 and diagnosed with breast cancer. She was determined to hike for prevention, so we decided to hike with her.
Traci has since passed. My mother also died of breast cancer in ’78 and I’ve had aunts and other relatives who have died of breast cancer too, so I just want to continue to do what it takes to help end this disease. Supporting BCPP is the best way I know how to make sure breast cancer will one day stop hurting and impacting other families.
Breast cancer is a horrible disease that puts every single person touched by it through so much heartache and pain. This is why my family and I back BCPP, because we think nobody deserves to lose their mothers, their sisters, their aunts, their grandmothers, or their best friends to breast cancer.
La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson, Team Elevate
We need your help to accomplish our big goals to save lives and prevent breast cancer. Can you chip in?