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Do pink items really support breast cancer?

Published On: Sep 16 2011 04:00:50 PM CDT
Updated On: Oct 13 2009 10:57:52 AM CDT
Pink Breast Cancer Bracelets

iStockPhoto/ftwitty

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you weren't already aware of it, all you have to do is take a look around you and take notice of all of the pink.

Pink, the color and ribbon associated with breast cancer, is making an appearance in department stores, grocery stores, airplanes and buildings.

But how many of those products are really helping breast cancer organizations?

"If the label says, 'Money will go to support breast cancer,' well, what does that mean?" Barbara Brenner, the executive director of the advocacy group Breast Cancer Action, told Daily Finance. "If it says it will support breast cancer awareness without being specific, it's not going anywhere."

Daily Finance said that the pink Swiffer sweeper was a product that had uninformative packaging. The label on the product didn't include information on how purchases will support breast cancer causes. Daily Finance also reported that, according to a Procter & Gamble spokeswoman, the company will make a 2-cent donation to the National Breast Cancer Foundation if a customer uses a specific coupon.

Daily Finance also says to be aware of the fine print on products, which could include donation caps.

"Consumers could be buying a product, and if the maximum has been reached, their product purchase doesn't help," Samantha King, the author of Pink Ribbons, Inc.: Breast Cancer and the Politics of Philanthropy, told Daily Finance.

One of the products Daily Finance looked at was Herr's Whole Grain Pretzel Ribbons. The company caps its donations at $15,000.

However, despite capping donations, some companies still stand by their attempt to raise awareness and money for breast cancer causes.

Hershey Co. told Daily Finance that aligning with breast cancer is a way to both be competitive in the market and also support a cause. The company is selling Bliss chocolates with pink packaging and will donate $300,000 this year to the Young Survivors Coalition.

"We see it not only as a competitive business strategy, but one that fits in with our corporate values," Hershey spokeswoman Jody Cook told Daily Finance. "We know the pink ribbon resonates well with our customer, and our main target for the Bliss brand is women and mothers, so it's a perfect fit."