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Fracking Industry Giant Uses Pink Drill Bits For Breast Cancer Awareness

October 9th, 2014

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and organizations ranging from the NFL to the WWE are promoting breast cancer awareness with pink shirts, hats, and memorabilia. The Susan G. Komen Foundation, one of the leading breast cancer advocacy groups, has also partnered with Baker Hughes, a giant in the fracking industry, to produce 1,000 pink drill bits for their drilling rigs during the month of October. Meanwhile, health and environmental safety groups are questioning the wisdom of an anti-cancer group joining forces with the fracking industry, which has been blamed for using and producing carcinogenic chemicals.

“Pinkwashing” the Fracking Industry?

The term “pinkwashing” refers to the marketing partnerships of some non-profit organizations with for-profit companies to raise awareness for their causes. The non-profit groups receive higher visibility, while the for-profit entities enhance their public images. With numerous reports of health problems, noise pollution and environmental damage related to the fracking industry, the Baker Hughes partnership with the Komen Foundation, along with the company’s $100,000 donation, has been cited as a case of “pinkwashing” by biologist and cancer survivor Susan Steingraber in a recent op-ed for EcoWatch.

Fracking Industry And Komen: Another Misstep?

The recent partnership between Baker Hughes and the Komen Foundation has not been the only time the charity has joined with a corporate partner engaged in questionable practices. Aside from partnerships with both Baker Hughes and Chesapeake Energy in the fracking industry, the group has also partnered with Kentucky Fried Chicken and Yoplait yogurt, both of which had ingredients which had been linked to breast cancer. The charity has also been criticized for its partnership with the NFL in light of recent domestic abuse charges against some of its players.

Fracking Industry Waste Products

While the fracking industry has enabled oil and natural gas producers to drill into reserves that were previously unreachable by conventional drilling methods, their methods have also produced their share of problems. Fracking industry waste products include volatile organic compounds (VOCs), such as benzene, toluene, and xylene, all of which are known carcinogens. Benzene exposure has been linked to several different types of cancer, including leukemia and breast cancer.

Fracking Industry And Male Breast Cancer

A recent study showed that young male workers exposed to benzene in the drilling industry have a higher incidence of breast cancer than those of the same age in other industries. A study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control found that urine samples of workers in the fracking industry showed high levels of benzene. Workers in the fracking industry are also at risk for exposure to radioactive elements, such as radon and radium, which have also been linked to breast cancer.

Source: EcoWatch

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