The Worst Example of "Pinkwashing" We've Seen This Year

Every October, stores are flooded with pink products to raise money for breast cancer charities. We’re all for buying a cool pair of pink-tinted aviators or a cute new pink nail polish and supporting breast cancer research at the same time. But there are also a lot of other products that bear a pink hue or ribbon, but bring a dubious benefit to the cause—a phenomenon known as pinkwashing.

The latest example: Baker Hughes, a major oilfield services company, has pledged a $ 100,000 gift to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. To go along with its donation, Baker Hughes is painting and distributing 1,000 pink drill bits to oilfields around the world. Yes, pink drill bits.

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According to the company’s website, “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.” They’re calling it “Doing Our Bit for the Cure.” (Get it?!?)

Will a worker on an oil rig be more likely to donate to a breast cancer charity or urge a loved one to get a mammogram after seeing a pink drill bit in action? We’re not so sure.

Perhaps more controversially, the International Business Times reports that Baker Hughes has hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, operations and some studies have linked fracking and cancer risk. A spokesperson for Susan G. Komen told International Business Times that ”the evidence to this point does not establish a connection between fracking and breast cancer.”

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