No Fracking Way! Pink Drill Bits “For the Cure” Cause Uproar

by Jenny Little

The month of October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and the latest efforts by Susan G. Komen for the Cure appears to be a somewhat misguided attempt to promote the cause.

A partnership between Komen and Baker Hughes, a Houston-based drilling service company, has left us questioning their current pink-washing method. The campaign, “Doing Our Bit for the Cure” involves a $100,000 donation from Baker Hughes to Komen, and 1,000 drill bits receiving the pink touch. The pink drill bits will be packaged in a pink container and shipped along with information packets addressing breast cancer risk factors and tips for self-screening. In doing so, the hope is that the employees that receive the drill bits will become better educated about breast cancer.

While they may have good intentions, the fact that these drills will be used to support fracking makes this partnership problematic. Hydraulic fracturing (or fracking, if you’re nasty), the process of drilling wells to release natural gas from the earth, has come under fire because of the negative effects the drilling has on the environment. Harmful chemicals are used during the process to break apart the soil and can potentially contaminate the surrounding environment and water supply. While the exact chemical cocktail is unknown, a few of these harmful chemicals include lead, uranium, and mercury.

Breast Cancer Action has spoken out against the partnership, citing the link between fracking and cancer-related carcinogens. An abrasively sarcastic public statement released by the advocacy organization “commended Baker Hughes and Komen for their ingenious pinkwashing profit cycle, whereby Baker Hughes helps fuel breast cancer while Komen raises millions of dollars to try and cure it.” With the slogan “Think Before You Pink” on their website, Breast Cancer Action is not pulling any punches in their opposition to Komen’s strategy. In fact, they are encouraging people to speak up against the Komen and Hughes partnership.

This is not the first time Komen has been linked to controversy. In 2012, the foundation caused a huge stir when they attempted to remove their funding from Planned Parenthood. The decision was later reversed after a public outcry.

To learn more about fracking visit

Images via Salon and ProPublica. 

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