In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, BBB warns consumers about “pink” product claims

October 22, 2012

Every October, thousands of products display the pink ribbon or pink packaging in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. While many of these products have a real tie to breast cancer charities, other pink-labeled products can be described as a form of “pinkwashing,” and provide very limited benefit to charities, if any at all.

“Pinkwashing” is a term used to describe unscrupulous companies that claim to support breast cancer, but never actually fulfill their claim about donating toward breast cancer charities.

It’s far too easy for a company to market itself as a benefactor of breast cancer charities. This is why BBB encourages consumers to be vigilant and thoroughly research any claim a company makes about giving back to charity.

If you want to support breast cancer charities by purchasing products, the BBB advises you to look into how that purchase will benefit a charity and which charity will get the money.

Additionally, consumers should:

• Inspect the product for information. Look for detailed information on the packaging that explains how much of the purchase price will benefit the charity, the duration of the campaign and any maximum amount.

• Check the company’s website. If the information isn’t on the product itself, go to the company’s website. If you still can’t find the information, call the company directly. And don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions about the organization and where your money will go.

• Research the charity. Check with your BBB at to get reports on how national charities measure up to BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. Confirm the organization is registered with the IRS as a 501(c)(3) and verify that the programs and distribution of money are in line with your goals. For local charities, ask for an annual report or a 990 IRS form to see a breakdown of where the money is allocated.

Make sure the money you give goes to a reputable charity.  Breast cancer affects us all in one way or another.  When you give, especially for someone you love, you want to make sure your money is being used in the most effective way possible.

*Thanks to the BBB Serving Central, Coastal, Southwest Texas and the Permian Basin for this informative article.