Ford Motor Company runs Warriors in Pink, a program they say is “dedicated to helping those touched by breast cancer.” But the exhaust from Ford’s vehicles increases breast cancer risk.
This hypocrisy is called pinkwashing.
Astonishingly, earlier this year Ford announced they will almost exclusively sell SUVs and trucks in the U.S.—vehicles with higher cancer-causing emissions—and will stop selling their only 100 percent electric, zero emission vehicle and nearly all other passenger cars.
Join us in telling Ford to stop pinkwashing and help put the brakes on the breast cancer epidemic by no longer making vehicles that produce exhaust.
Everyone knows that auto exhaust pollutes the air, but it can also pollute our bodies.
Scientists have known for decades that the chemicals in exhaust, such as carcinogens and hormone disruptors, cause breast cancer. Chemicals such as:
Benzene is a human carcinogen. The chemical is so toxic that it can cause breast cancer in men.
1,3-Butadiene is a mammary carcinogen.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of hormone disrupting chemicals that can also cause mutations in DNA. Diesel is enriched with nitro PAHs, which are particularly potent mammary carcinogens.
Auto exhaust is unavoidable, and virtually everyone breathes in these toxic chemicals, no matter what mode of transportation we choose for ourselves. But Ford can make a difference for us all.
Ford made its name by bringing cancer-causing combustion engine cars (the famous Model T) to the masses more than 100 years ago. It’s time for Ford to help put the brakes on the breast cancer epidemic by bringing an all-electric fleet to the masses.
As one of the Big Three automobile manufacturers in the U.S., Ford could make a big difference. But instead of leading the industry in making clean vehicles, Ford plans to focus on sales of higher-emission SUVs and trucks in the U.S. Ford is touting plans for future investment in electrification—most of which will be in China—but notably failed to showcase any electric vehicles at a major auto show earlier this year. Plus, they’ve decided to stop selling their only all-electric vehicle in the U.S.
Ford is telling us to hold our breath and wait for their promise of new, cleaner vehicles sometime down the road. Meanwhile, Ford is proudly introducing a new diesel F-150 truck this year. That means the F-150, America’s best-selling vehicle, is now offered with an engine that emits even more potent mammary carcinogens.
Ford wants to strengthen its corporate reputation by telling us they have “been active in the fight against breast cancer since 1993.” The well-known Ford Warriors in Pink program donates all proceeds from the sales of their branded clothes and other gear to four breast cancer charities. They also say they are “dedicated to fueling the spirit of those living with the disease” by providing tips, “inspirational postcards,” “healing music,” and profiles of 122 “Models of Courage” who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Ford Warriors in Pink distracts from the company’s role in driving the breast cancer epidemic by shifting the focus onto our attitude and emotions. Rather than cleaning up their cars, Ford tells us that we need to “harness that fighting spirit.” For some people, fight metaphors help return a sense of agency to a frightening experience that can feel largely out of our control. But the truth is, it doesn’t matter how hard someone “fights”—how strong or determined or hopeful they are—up to 30 percent of all breast cancers will go on to spread or metastasize. Ford says they want us to fight cancer, but in reality, they are asking us to just suck it up when it comes to the exhaust spewing out of their cancer-causing tailpipes.
TAKE ACTION: Tell Ford to Stop Pinkwashing
On its Ford Warriors in Pink website, the company asks, “What more can we do?”
Join us in telling Ford that if they really want to do more, they will put our health before their profits. The best way for Ford to show they care about people affected by breast cancer is to make the shift to 100 percent zero emission vehicles. Send your letter now directly to the executives of Ford and tell them to stop pinkwashing and help put the brakes on the breast cancer epidemic by no longer making vehicles that produce exhaust.
Dr. Sandra Steingraber