At first I thought this was some sort of a tardy April Fools spoof but in fact, it’s true. The breast cancer charity Susan G. Komen has entered into a year long partnership with fracking company Baker Hughes.
And get this: the company is selling 1,000 pink-painted drill bits as a “reminder of the importance of supporting research, treatment, screening, and education to help find a cure of the disease. They’re donating $100,000 to the charity.
Why are drill bits, hydraulic fracturing, and breast cancer awareness an odd combination? Let’s take a look at the irony: Some research has found links between cancer and the chemicals used in fracking. The chemicals injected into deep rock formations in order to allow gas reserves to migrate into wells, includes possible carcinogens like benzene, formaldehyde, sulfuric acid, and more.
According to Breast Cancer Action:
A 2011 study by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce identified over 700 chemicals used in fracking, including dozens of “chemicals of concern.” Of these chemicals, Benzene, Acrylamide, Ethylene Oxideiii, Bisphenol Aiv, and formaldehydev are well-known carcinogens with proven links to increased risk of breast cancer. Fracking also involves the use of endocrine disrupting chemicals such as lead and Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate that can lead to increased reproductive problems and breast cancer.
Strangely, Susan G. Komen’s website also includes a section entitled “Environmental Chemicals Are A Breast Cancer Risk”. However, a spokesperson at Susan G. Komen said that “the evidence to this point does not establish a connection between fracking and breast cancer.”
The response on the move has been, as expected, furious. According to Breast Cancer Action, “many people have wondered whether these pink drill bits are satire and whether The Onion came up with it. Unfortunately, no and no.” In fact, the fracking company even advertises their move under the tagline “Doing Our Bit for the Cure”.
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