2020 has been, without a doubt, a difficult year. We, our loved ones, our communities, and our world have faced many losses and challenges. Despite these obstacles, individuals and groups stepped up and supported countless causes, issues, and people in need. I am pleased to share that your unwavering support helped BCPP rise above our struggles and make huge strides toward preventing breast cancer.
Below, you can read about the historic progress your dollars made possible this year. Thank you for your commitment to breast cancer prevention. And, if you haven’t already, please give your year-end gift today to strengthen next year’s path towards prevention!
Stopping EPA Rollbacks on Air + Water Protections
n March, the EPA used the coronavirus as an excuse to relax air and water pollution prevention laws, allowing industrial facilities to ignore federal air, water, and hazardous-waste-reporting and monitoring requirements. We asked for your help and collectively sent 1,000 letters demanding the EPA reverse this rollback and boost, not undermine, public health protections during this unprecedented health crisis. We also authored a blog drawing the connections between higher susceptibility to COVID-19, air pollution, and the disproportionate impact on communities of color, particularly Black communities. After the outcry from BCPP and our allies, the EPA announced they would abandon the policy, showing that raising our voices in resistance makes a difference!
Victory! Three Historic California Laws
All three of our BCPP-sponsored CA bills passed into law this year! This means BCPP has been a central leader in passing 15 national and state bills in total. Collectively, these bills set the stage for strong federal toxics reform. The California Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Ingredient Right to Know Act makes CA the first government in the world to require public disclosure of secret, hazardous fragrance and flavor ingredients and sets an important right-to-know precedent by revealing the hazardous ingredients in personal care products. The Toxic Free Cosmetics Act is the first statewide product chemical ban in the U.S. It bans 24 highly toxic chemicals in cosmetics in California, all of which are already banned by the EU. And finally, the Eliminating PFAS in Firefighting Foam Act bans the sale and use of firefighting foam containing PFAS ‘forever’ chemicals and requires disclosure if the gear contains PFAS. Given CA’s market and policy influence, all three bills will help protect the health of homes across the nation.
International Outcry Against #ToxicTalc
BCPP led a coalition effort rallying 200+ NGOs from 51 countries to oppose Johnson & Johnson’s decision to continue global sales of its iconic talc-asbestos cancer-causing baby powder. We powered a social week of action that reached 650k+ people and 35+ media outlet features around the world. Together, we will continue to pressure the healthcare giant to stop aggressively marketing this hazardous product to women of color and using the world as a dumping ground for its toxic talc.
After November: Telling Elected Officials What We Want and Deserve
Though the legislative landscape around us constantly shifts, we want you to know that our mission to protect the health of you and your loved ones remains steady. We will create a blueprint for immediate action through Executive Orders, reversals of damaging regulatory rollbacks, and recommended policy priorities for the FDA, EPA, CDC and NIEHS. This transition memo will make clear the urgent need for public health protections to reverse the rising incidence of preventable breast cancer in America.
Paths to Prevention – What’s Next?
In September, we launched Paths to Prevention: California’s Breast Cancer Primary Prevention Plan—a groundbreaking plan to use primary prevention and tangible, systemic interventions to reduce the rate and risk of breast cancer. You may be wondering, what’s next for Paths to Prevention? Currently, BCPP is in the midst of creating a process to work with our environmental justice partners to identify their priorities; and then vet, assess and create a California Environmental Health (EH) and Environmental Justice (EJ) policy agenda for breast cancer prevention. We will consult with key stakeholders to decide which policy recommendations are both politically salient and represent priorities for EJ communities. Then will form a package of free-standing bills to prevent breast cancer by eliminating toxic chemicals in our air, water, soil, com- munities, workplaces, and consumer products. This framework and grounding in racial justice and social equity will help ensure these policies serve the communities most impacted.
The $220 billion cosmetics industry can and does use toxic chemicals in the beauty and personal care products we use daily. These chemical exposures have been linked to cancer, infertility, miscarriage, poor infant and maternal health outcomes, birth defects, learning disabilities, obesity, asthma, and many other serious health concerns. Everyone is at risk, but women and girls of color face the greatest exposure from the beauty products that are marketed to them. That’s why BCPP co-hosted a virtual Congressional Briefing: Health Impacts of Toxic Personal Care Products on Women and Girls of Colors featuring our very own Director of Program & Policy, Janet Nudelman, alongside the offices of Rep. Jan Schakowsky and our partners at WE ACT for Environmental Justice.
New Science Resources
Adjusting to the pandemic and the high consumer demand for digestible science, we created “Cleaning Safer and Toxic-Free with BCPP.” In this quick video, you get expert advice and health protective tips directly from BCPP’s Director of Science, Sharima Rasanayagam, PhD. Are you living with a diagnosis or know somebody who is? Go beyond safer cleaning and get our new downloadable tip sheet. Take, as you are able, these steps to positively affect your health.
Alcohol Warning Label Petition
When it comes to alcohol there is a well-established body of science that provides clear and strong evidence that drinking alcohol increases breast cancer risk. The more one drinks, the higher the risk, and even light drinking increases risk. But the reality is most women don’t know about this connection. Which is exactly why BCPP joined seven other groups to petition the agency responsible for warning labels on alcoholic beverages, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The goal is to improve the existing government warnings by including “According to the Surgeon General, consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause cancer, including breast and colon cancers.” Such a warning would save lives.
Commitment to Racial Equity & Justice
2020 brought to the forefront the generational injustices and trauma experienced by Black people and the BIPOC community. BCPP reflected on our shortcomings as allies and ways we can be better supporters for racial justice. We can do better. We will do better.
Virtual Debuts: Changemakers’ Chat, Peak Hike & More
To educate, engage, and expand our community of supporters, we launched a new webinar series and hosted several national events. Did you catch any of the four episodes of Changemakers’ Chat, our provocative discussion series? We featured scientists, business and community leaders, and policy professionals to bring you unique experiences related to science, the COVID-19 crisis, current issues, and prevention. We also converted the 25th anniversary of our signature CA-based Peak Hike into a national virtual benefit hike, recruiting 378 incredible hikers from 39 states and raising over $170,000 for prevention.
You powered this work. You made this happen. With your dedication to prevent breast cancer before it starts, we have much hope for a safer, healthier future.