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From Pink to Green

Disease Prevention and the Environmental Breast Cancer Movement

Barbara L. Ley

Publication Year: 2009

From the early 1980s, the U.S. environmental breast cancer movement has championed the goal of eradicating the disease by emphasizing the importance of reducingùeven eliminating exposure to chemicals and toxins. From Pink to Green chronicles the movement's disease prevention philosophy from the beginning.

Challenging the broader cultural milieu of pink ribbon symbolism and breast cancer "awareness" campaigns, this movement has grown from a handful of community-based organizations into a national entity, shaping the cultural, political, and public health landscape. Much of the activists' everyday work revolves around describing how the so called "cancer industry" downplays possible environmental links to protect their political and economic interests and they demand that the public play a role in scientific, policy, and public health decision-making to build a new framework of breast cancer prevention.

From Pink to Green successfully explores the intersection between breast cancer activism and the environmental health sciences, incorporating public and scientific debates as well as policy implications to public health and environmental agendas.

Published by: Rutgers University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

I am indebted to the activists and scientists whose efforts first inspired me when I began my research on the environmental breast cancer movement in 1995. I also greatly appreciate the time they took over the years to speak with me about their work. Their devotion and dedication inspires my own work....

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Chapter 1: A Movement in the Making

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pp. 1-18

While shopping at a San Francisco bookstore in November 2000, I decided to purchase a postcard created by Susan Liroff of Spitfire Graphics, in Oakland, California. On the front of the postcard was a color photo of a topless white woman with short blond hair. A horizontal scar filled the space on her chest...

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Chapter 2: "End the Silence": Uncertainty Work and the Politics of the Cancer Industry

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pp. 19-44

On a Monday morning in October 1995, I walked the mile and a half from my apartment to WomenCARE to begin my twice-a-week volunteer work. WomenCARE—short for Women’s Cancer Advocacy, Resources, and Education—was located in a small duplex on Soquel Avenue in Santa Cruz...

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Chapter 3: From Touring the Streets to Taking On Science

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pp. 45-80

In February 1999, I began my job as a research associate for Devra Lee Davis, an environmental health scientist who had spent the past fifteen years researching and writing about environmental causes of breast cancer. At the time, Davis was a senior scientist and the director of the Health, Environment, and...

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Chapter 4: "We Should Not Have to Be the Bodies of Evidence": The Precautionary Principle in Policy, Science, and Daily Life

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pp. 81-105

On May 15, 1999, the Massachusetts Precautionary Principle Project (MPPP) embarked on a three-year campaign, launching it at a well-attended meeting. A partnership between environmental health advocacy, scientific, and academic communities, the MPPP was the first activist campaign in the United States directed exclusively at implementing the precautionary principle in environmental...

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Chapter 5: The Cultural Politics of Sisterhood

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pp. 106-136

In September 1999, the Breast Cancer Fund announced that it would be part of a new coalition, with Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the National Organization for Women (NOW), which would campaign for increased federal research on environmental causes of breast cancer. One of the coalition’s first efforts was a two-page letter to President Bill Clinton, copied to presidential...

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Chapter 6: Toxic Tours Move Indoors: Race, Class, and Breast Cancer Prevention

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pp. 137-161

Around the same time that the Breast Cancer Fund held its press conference on Capitol Hill urging Congress to devote more funds to environmental health research, the U.S. Navy was working to clean up Parcel A—a large tract of land in Hunters Point Shipyard (HPS), an EPA Superfund site. Located next to the Bayview Hunters Point neighborhood in southeast San Francisco, the shipyard...

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Chapter 7: Beyond Breast Cancer, Beyond Women's Health

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pp. 162-186

In February 2000, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held its annual meeting in Washington, D.C. One of its sessions was an all-day workshop titled “Environment and Fertility.” Organized by the National Audubon Society, Population International, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, and Planned...

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Chapter 8: Still in the Making

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pp. 187-204

In November 2006, my husband and I began in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments after several years of unsuccessfully trying to start a family. As much as I tried to focus on the process for its own sake, I often found myself filtering it through the lens of breast cancer. Given that I was writing a book that dealt with synthetic estrogens—and that I had done my best to avoid them since beginning...


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pp. 205-238


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pp. 239-252

About the Author, Further Reading

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E-ISBN-13: 9780813556529
E-ISBN-10: 081355652X

Page Count: 265
Illustrations: 5
Publication Year: 2009