Fracking and breast cancer awareness go together like, well, oil and water, but that hasn't stopped the Susan G. Komen Foundation from partnering with Baker Hughes, an oilfield services company. The result? A pink drill bit to raise awareness for breast cancer. No, seriously.
"Doing Our Bit for the Cure," reads the campaign's hokey slogan, and it's accompanied by an equally ridiculous illustration of a pink drill bit. Baker Hughes will distribute
d 1,000 of the pink bits worldwide and donate d $100,000 to Susan G. Komen.
"The pink bits serve as a reminder of the importance of supporting research, treatment, screening, and education to help find the cures for this disease, which claims a life every 60 seconds," the website said.
That's nice. It's an admirable sentiment, and a $100,000 donation is nothing to sneeze at. But as Salon's Lindsay Abrams points out, fracking isn't exactly synonymous with health. "We don't know a lot about the health risks of fracking, owing to drillers' and regulators' drill first, ask questions later strategy, and because the industry, in many cases, protects the precise mix of chemicals used as a 'trade secret,'" she wrote.
With this latest stunt, Komen is going up against Breast Cancer Action, a high-profile advocacy group also focused on breast cancer. BCA is staunchly opposed to fracking because, they allege, the practice exposes people to carcinogens linked to breast cancer.
It's a classic example of "pinkwashing." The term was coined to describe companies that make money by marketing breast cancer awareness products — the same companies that, in some cases, sell products linked to the disease. Proctor & Gamble Co., for instance, sold pink Swiffer products, which as the Huffington Post notes have been linked to various health problems.
Some Twitter users were also less than impressed with the initiative.