We Can’t Be Pink’d: The EPA


See full details and action steps on our Breast Cancer Action site at bcaction.org/we-cant-be-pinkd/epa

In this year’s Think Before You Pink® campaign, we are saying “We Can’t Be Pink’d: Say NO to Pink Policies.” Since 2002, Breast Cancer Action has led Think Before You Pink campaigns each October in response to “Breast Cancer Awareness Month.”

We’re taking on the lack of leadership, from the President down to agency leaders, in addressing the breast cancer epidemic. Each week in October we’ll take on the leadership of one of these four agencies that needs to do better: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Department of Justice (DOJ).

The first week, launching Monday, October 5th, we’re focusing on the leadership of the EPA and how the agency favors industry while ignoring public health science, at the direction of this anti-science, profit-before-people administration. We have two actions you can take right now, to stop this blatant disregard for public health that increases women’s exposures to known and suspected carcinogens. Tell the EPA We Can’t Be Pink’d with the following actions:

  1. Email Andrew Wheeler, EPA Administrator, and demand that the EPA stop the environmental rollbacks now and protect our health!
  2. Tweet this political cartoon directly to the EPA and Andrew Wheeler, to show them exactly what you think their pink policies are doing to the EPA. Toggle between the email and Twitter icons in the top right of the action alert page to complete both actions – don’t forget to do both!

Cartoon Andrew Wheeler smashing the EPA building.

The book, EPA Under Siege: Trump’s Assault in History and Testimony, says it best:

 “The Trump administration currently poses the greatest threat to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its entire 47-year history.

In the United States, 70 to 80 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no known risk factors. Involuntary exposure to toxic chemicals, that are often unregulated, in our environment increase our risk of breast cancer.

The EPA is charged with protecting human health and the environment, yet this administration is actively rolling back critical rules and regulations that protect us from toxic chemicals that can increase risk for breast cancer and other health protections. This has to stop!

Tell the EPA to stop the rollbacks and protect our health!

In 2017 an Executive Order was issued that “directs agencies to repeal at least two existing regulations for each new regulation issued in FY 2017 and thereafter.” The EPA wasted no time. In under four years, more than 70 critical rules and regulations that protect our air, water, and vulnerable communities from carcinogenic chemicals have been dismantled.

The EPA shows no signs of stopping– the website currently lists 33 more rules and regulations they are working to weaken or eliminate. Currently this list includes proposals to weaken worker protections and clean air and water standards. We need strong regulations that reduce pollution, ensure pesticide safety, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and prioritize protecting women from harmful chemicals. The EPA’s proposed actions undermine everybody’s safety and are especially threatening to many low-income communities and communities of color, who are disproportionately exposed to industrial pollution.

Some specific examples of completed rollbacks that have the potential to increase breast cancer risk include:

The current EPA Administrator, Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist, has been so anti-regulation and pro-industry that in 2019 four former bi-partisan EPA Administrators testified at a Committee on Energy and Commerce hearing to express their concern about the direction the agency has gone. They wrote:

“[w]e are united that there has never been a more important time for us to put aside our differences and advocate collectively for public health and the environment. Time is of the essence, and much is at stake.”[1]

This blatant disregard for human health increases women’s exposure to known and suspected breast carcinogens and minimizes the severity of root causes of the disease. Their systematic approach to dismantling the country’s health and safety rules and regulations is putting everyone’s health at risk!

These rollbacks are pink policies because while the EPA claims to protect public health, their actions fail to protect people living with breast cancer and increase breast cancer risk for all people, especially for women, people of color, and low-income people. If the administration really cared about people living with and at risk of breast cancer, they would enforce the regulations that protect us from harmful exposures, instead of the rollbacks we are currently seeing from the EPA.

Join us in saying NO to pink policies. Tell the EPA to stop the rollbacks and protect our health.

[1] Letter from Hon. Carol Browner, Hon. Lisa Jackson, Hon. Gina McCarthy, Hon. William Reilly, Hon. William Ruckelshaus, Hon. Lee Thomas, and Hon. Christine Todd Whitman to Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., Chairman, House Committee on Energy and Commerce and Rep. Greg Walden, Ranking Member, House Committee on Energy and Commerce et al. (Apr. 8, 2019).

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