Pinkwashing allows some to take advantage of cancer supporters

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – It is one of the deadliest cancers in our country. Breast Cancer will take the lives of hundreds of women in the Palmetto State this year.

As money and awareness is raised for the disease during October, some businesses are profiting from pink products.

It is called "pinkwashing," when a business takes advantage of Breast Cancer Awareness Month by selling products with pink ribbons on them without donating any money to credible charities or organizations, pocketing the profits instead.

As the American Cancer Society explains, the use of the ribbon comes from Estee Lauder, making the pink ribbon pretty popular. Since no one actually owns the pink ribbon, it can be used on almost any product.

Organizations like the ACS warn that just because the ribbon appears on a product you buy, or posters where you donate, doesn't mean the money is really going to research or supportive efforts.

"Check with the charity watch dog groups, and look up the organization online. It should be fairly transparent where the money is going,"suggested Denise Richbourg with the American Cancer Society.

"Pinkwashing" can hurt credible organizations, like the ACS, which depend on those donations.

"The American Cancer Society receives no government funding. Everything we do is based off of donations," explained Richbourg, adding, "without donations, we couldn't do the research. The groundbreaking research."

You don't need to stop donating to the cause, but should start researching where the money is going.

"We have to continue this fight, we have to continue supporting," Richbourg said.

Credible charity groups suggest checking online before donating, asking the store clerk where the money is going before purchasing a product, or looking up a business through The Better Business Bureau.

"You want to be careful that the one you're funding is doing the research, or doing the work in the community," urged Richbourg.

One local example of a credible organization is Caring In Our Lifetime.

"We are local. All of our funds stay here in Horry and Georgetown Counties," explained Julie Bostian with the non-profit group.

That money comes from events throughout the community.

Caring In Our Lifetime lists every event they support on their website

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