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From Pink to Green

From Pink to Green: Disease Prevention and the Environmental Breast Cancer Movement

Barbara L. Ley
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Rutgers University Press
Pages: 265
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  • Book Info
    From Pink to Green
    Book Description:

    From the early 1980s, the U.S. environmental breast cancer movement has championed the goal of eradicating the disease by emphasizing the importance of reducing-even eliminating exposure to chemicals and toxins.From Pink to Greenchronicles the movement's disease prevention philosophy from the beginning.Challenging the broader cultural milieu of pink ribbon symbolism and breast cancer "awareness" campaigns, this movement has grown from a handful of community-based organizations into a national entity, shaping the cultural, political, and public health landscape. Much of the activists' everyday work revolves around describing how the so called "cancer industry" downplays possible environmental links to protect their political and economic interests and they demand that the public play a role in scientific, policy, and public health decision-making to build a new framework of breast cancer prevention.

    From Pink to Greensuccessfully explores the intersection between breast cancer activism and the environmental health sciences, incorporating public and scientific debates as well as policy implications to public health and environmental agendas.

    eISBN: 978-0-8135-5652-9
    Subjects: Health Sciences, Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. Chapter 1 A Movement in the Making
    (pp. 1-18)

    While shopping at a San Francisco bookstore in November 2000, I decided to purchase a postcard created by Susan Liroff of Spitfire Graphics, in Oakland, California. On the front of the postcard was a color photo of a topless white woman with short blond hair. A horizontal scar filled the space on her chest where her right breast used to be. With one hand on her hip, she used her other hand to hold a sign that read, “invisibility equals death.” A chronology of the increasing rates of breast cancer incidence filled the space above the woman’s head: “1964—1...

  5. Chapter 2 “End the Silence”: Uncertainty Work and the Politics of the Cancer Industry
    (pp. 19-44)

    On a Monday morning in October 1995, I walked the mile and a half from my apartment to WomenCARE to begin my twice-a-week volunteer work. WomenCARE—short for Women’s Cancer Advocacy, Resources, and Education—was located in a small duplex on Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz, California, about a half mile from the downtown Pacific Garden Mall. Its office consisted of one room, a closet, and a tiny bathroom. With its couch, several coffee tables covered by assorted cancer literature, shelves of books, and a teapot, the front part of the room functioned as a meeting space for support groups,...

  6. Chapter 3 From Touring the Streets to Taking On Science
    (pp. 45-80)

    In February 1999, I began my job as a research associate for Devra Lee Davis, an environmental health scientist who had spent the past fifteen years researching and writing about environmental causes of breast cancer. At the time, Davis was a senior scientist and the director of the Health, Environment, and Development Program at the World Resources Institute (WRI), a nonpartisan environmental policy think tank located at Seventeenth and G Streets Northwest, a few blocks from the White House. In contrast to WomenCARE’s small stucco duplex and the American Cancer Society Santa Cruz chapter’s five-room Victorian house, WRI’s setting for...

  7. Chapter 4 “We Should Not Have to Be the Bodies of Evidence”: The Precautionary Principle in Policy, Science, and Daily Life
    (pp. 81-105)

    On May 15, 1999, the Massachusetts Precautionary Principle Project (MPPP) embarked on a three-year campaign, launching it at a well-attended meeting. A partnership between environmental health advocacy, scientific, and academic communities, the MPPP was the first activist campaign in the United States directed exclusively at implementing the precautionary principle in environmental health policymaking. The one-day event, held at Framingham College, a small school fifty miles west of Boston, exemplified the growing importance of the precautionary principle to environmental breast cancer activism and the bourgeoning environmental health movement more generally.

    The precautionary principle is a multifaceted framework for conceptualizing and alleviating...

  8. Chapter 5 The Cultural Politics of Sisterhood
    (pp. 106-136)

    In September 1999, the Breast Cancer Fund announced that it would be part of a new coalition, with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Organization for Women (NOW), which would campaign for increased federal research on environmental causes of breast cancer. One of the coalition’s first efforts was a two-page letter to President Bill Clinton, copied to presidential candidates Governor George W. Bush of Texas; U.S. senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey; and Vice President Al Gore. Written on Breast Cancer Fund letterhead, the letter called on the president to remedy the nation’s failure to address possible...

  9. Chapter 6 Toxic Tours Move Indoors: Race, Class, and Breast Cancer Prevention
    (pp. 137-161)

    Around the same time that the Breast Cancer Fund held its press conference on Capitol Hill urging Congress to devote more funds to environmental health research, the U.S. Navy was working to clean up Parcel A—a large tract of land in Hunters Point Shipyard (HPS), an EPA Superfund site. Located next to the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood in southeast San Francisco, the shipyard was established in 1869 as the Pacific Coast’s first commercial dry dock. In 1940, the U.S. Navy bought the 936–acre property for its shipbuilding and repair efforts. After World War II, the navy used the...

  10. Chapter 7 Beyond Breast Cancer, Beyond Women’s Health
    (pp. 162-186)

    In February 2000, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. One of its sessions was an all-day workshop titled “Environment and Fertility.” Organized by the National Audubon Society, Population International, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America, this session brought together more than thirty representatives from the environmental, population, public health, women’s health, children’s health, and learning disabilities communities. The purpose of the meeting was to assess the status of existing evidence linking endocrine disrupters to human reproductive health concerns, especially...

  11. Chapter 8 Still in the Making
    (pp. 187-204)

    In November 2006, my husband and I began in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments after several years of unsuccessfully trying to start a family. As much as I tried to focus on the process for its own sake, I often found myself filtering it through the lens of breast cancer. Given that I was writing a book that dealt with synthetic estrogens—and that I had done my best to avoid them since beginning my research in the mid-1990s—it was difficult not to think about the treatments in these terms. I felt uneasy about the various synthetic hormones—birth control...

  12. Notes
    (pp. 205-238)
  13. Index
    (pp. 239-252)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 253-254)