Cosmetic Company Must Stop Using Chemicals that Cause Breast Cancer

Target: Sherilyn McCoy, CEO of Avon Products

Goal: To get cosmetic company to stop using chemicals linked to breast cancer in its products

Cosmetic company Avon has been celebrating Breast Cancer Awareness Month for many years by donating a portion of its profits to help find a cure for the disease, in addition to holding walks around the country to raise funds for research and treatment.

However, many of the products that the company sells, including some of the products marketed specifically for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, contain chemicals associated with breast cancer. The company must end its hypocrisy by discontinuing the use of chemicals known to cause cancer in its products.

The company is using its awareness campaign to appeal to consumers by linking its products with finding a cure for breast cancer while simultaneously contributing to causing breast cancer. Avon is not the only company taking advantage of consumers’ generosity; pink products are ubiquitous during Breast Cancer Awareness Month while the amount of money being donated, or even to which organization, is often unclear.

Like any other corporation, the central goal is to encourage consumerism and make money, not to save lives. Other companies that have been criticized for the cancer-causing elements in their products have promised to stop using them, while Avon has not made efforts to discontinue use of these dangerous chemicals.

Breast cancer awareness campaigns such as Avon’s have become excuses to sell products and the goal of saving women’s lives is often forgotten. Even more deplorable than its promotion of consumerism is the use of chemicals that cause the disease the company claims to be trying to eradicate. Avon must join other cosmetic companies that have agreed to stop using cancer-causing chemicals in their products, instead of just using the deadly disease as an excuse to gain customers.


Dear Sherilyn McCoy,

Your company’s Breast Cancer Crusade has raised a considerable amount of money for breast cancer research and treatment through the marketing of pink products and the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, for which you should be commended. However, many of your products have been identified to contain chemicals that cause breast cancer, including some of the products sold as part of the breast cancer awareness campaigns.

Avon considers itself a leader in empowering women, but it is hard to be empowered by products that could be contributing to the very disease that the company is trying to cure. Additionally, if the company contributed more of its funds to preventing the disease and finding environmental causes, many more lives would be saved.

I am asking that your company become a real leader in empowering women by ensuring that the products being sold are not causing the disease that kills so many women. Avon must begin an honest fight against breast cancer, and not just a crusade to increase profits for the company.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Koko Nut via Flickr.

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  1. We are bombarded by so many chemicals 24/7, and then wonder why there is so much cancer and neurological disorders. More research isn’t going to mean much in these circumstances.

  2. Stephanie Chan Stephanie Chan says:

    Great petition. Way to raise awareness!

  3. Vickie Peebles says:

    I sure would like to know which cosmetics have the chemicals. Does anyone know? Very concerned!

  4. I used to sell Avon. I was concerned about one of the lipsticks. Needless to say, I do not sell in any longer!!!

  5. This is the Australian Society of Cosmetic Chemists position paper on preservatives from their website (please note, they have no invested interest for or against the use of parabens):

    A review on preservatives would not be complete without a final word surrounding the controversy about Parabens. Following one article “Concentrations of Parabens in Human Breast Tumors”, Dabre PD. Et al, Journal of Applied Toxicology, 24, 5-13 (2004), reports proliferated about the dangers of parabens. The scientific community immediately refuted the claims made by Dabre, pointing out the poor science used in the methodology and conclusions. Recent evidence also shows that while parabens may have weak estrogenic activity, this activity is short lived and the degradation products do not show this effect.
    At this stage, and despite many studies, no regulatory authority has made any attempt to limit the use of parabens in cosmetics or foods, citing their benefits and lack of adverse findings.

    Still bad news persists, and despite overwhelming evidence that parabens do not have the effects presumed, the public still appear to consider any product with parabens, are harmful. This is probably also fuelled by uninformed press and companies reacting to public opinion.

  6. Lorraine says:

    I just watched the movie entitled “Pink Ribbons, Inc.” (you can rent it on Netflix). Compelling documentary about breast cancer research and the lack thereof; the lack of coordination in where all these “monies” are going when we walk, dive, swim, jump, run, pull up , sit up for breast cancer awareness….the softening use of “Pink” and how the color pink was chosen…….

    I really am totally pissed with Avon, Komen, the government, Astra-zeneca and other pharmaceutical companies!!!!

    Please watch this documentary……very enlightening on what they are NOT doing for prevention/causes.

  7. Victoria Cole says:

    Ironic that while Avon has restarted testing on animals unlike most ethical brands (which do not use animal experimentation) they still have cancer causing chemicals, even if something is linked to cancer they will still use like L’oreal and P&G ? It also should be listed what charities this money is going to, will it support real care for people suffering and give them chance or comfort and hope like Teenage Cancer Trust and Macmillan or just be used for more misleading dog experiments ? Why not support more reliable non animal use charities

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