All posts by wildcardenvironmentalist

Helen Lynn has worked on issues linking women, health and the environment since 1995, initially at the Women’s Environmental Network where she was health co-ordinator for 12 years, then as a freelance consultant. She has worked internationally and at EU level with Women in Europe for a Common Future and is on their International Advisory Board. Her campaign work began with Putting Breast Cancer on the Map, which encouraged women to map local sources of pollution alongside incidence of breast cancer and she was one of the founders of the No More Breast Cancer Campaign. She is on the Soil Associations Health Products Standards Committee which develops and keeps under review standards for organic health and beauty care products. While at WEN she and the health team initiated the Getting Lippy campaign on harmful ingredients in cosmetics, the campaign covered all aspects of the issue including information on toxic ingredients, making your own cosmetics, misleading labelling and advertising of the products and which alternatives are available. Other campaigns Helen worked on included the Ban Lindane (a toxic pesticide used on crops) Campaign, Healthy Flooring, Enviromenstrual, and Multiple Chemical Sensitivity. She currently facilitates the Alliance for Cancer Prevention which works with occupational and environmental health specialists and activists to challenge the existing emphasis on control and treatment of cancer as the only way forward and to get equal recognition for primary prevention, particularly in relation to environmental and occupational risk factors. In 2014 along with fellow breast cancer activists she began the From Pink to Prevention campaign which aims to move the agenda towards Stopping Breast Cancer before it Starts. She is currently working on launching a new cosmetics campaign looking at toxic ingredients.

Beyond Brexit and breast cancer risk

This article was first published in the London Hazards Centre Magazine on the 26/6/17.

While you probably won’t have seen the words Brexit and breast cancer prevention appearing in any headline together, they are inextricable linked. Currently, EU health and safety and environmental laws exist to help protect us against the many exposures to harmful chemicals linked to cancer and illness and disease such as reproductive and development effects; infertility; asthma and allergies. While nothing is 100% effective if not implemented and monitored properly, these EU regulations  governing chemical and worker safety are seen as the best in the world, albeit there is always room for improvement.  Thanks to EU chemicals regulation we now have safer workplaces, cleaner beaches, healthier farming methods, and also better chemicals regulation for consumer products including cosmetics, food packaging, pesticides and plastics.

Many of the chemicals we come into contact with on a daily basis in our homes, workplaces and in the wider environment are linked to breast cancer. So what happens if we have a ‘hard’ Brexit removing the UK from being under the jurisdiction of these protections?
Continue reading Beyond Brexit and breast cancer risk

All the very best for 2017 and keep campaigning!

As we came to the end of a busy and productive year, we were delighted to be invited to write an article for ‘Women & Environments’ – a leading international magazine based in Canada and celebrating its 40th anniversary.  Just published, From Pink to Prevention’s contribution is on pink-washing with cartoon illustrations by Diana Ward.  It’s one of a number of excellent articles – you can read our piece on “Pinkwashing and the Breast Cancer Prevention Movement” here

http://www.yorku.ca/weimag/CURRENTISSUE/index.html

To all our friends, colleagues and supporters, we send all the very best for 2017 and  keep campaigning!!

Helen, Diana, Deb & Ho-Chih

Review: A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer

It wasn’t the subject matter which put me off, it was the singing. I’ve never liked musicals, not even supposed comedy ones, the songs always seem contrived, the melody sadly lacking in favour of the words which only serve to further the story or punch line. But I was pleasantly surprised by the catchy tunes by Tom Parkinson in a Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer sung by the cast of Complicite and the beautiful voice of Naana Agyei-Ampadu along with a wonderful cast and a touching performance from Amanda Hadingue. In fact some of them are still going around in my head. The refrain ‘my poor, poor body’ that particularly resonated as it evoked the care we feel surge in ourselves when our body enters the ‘Kingdom of the Sick’ as defined by Susan Sontag.

The book, a Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer by Bryony Kimmings and Brian Lobel translated into a stage production by the wonderful Complicite (having seen nearly every production by Complicite, it was one of the reasons I was keen to see this) and it is a very heartfelt and honest production. Certainly a brave attempt to expose the many unspoken aspects of cancer that patients recognise as so familiar yet so hidden.
Continue reading Review: A Pacifist’s Guide to the War on Cancer

Pink-washing at its most extreme

This October, the US Navy and Israeli Air Force each took a pink fighter jet to the sky to join the fight against breast cancer.  In the USA, the F9F-8 Cougar was painted a vibrant shade of pink called “Heliconia.” USS Lexington Director of Operations and Exhibits Rusty Reustle got the idea from a technique he saw during the filming of “Pearl Harbor.” The pink paint job is not permanent. A dishwashing liquid is added to the latex paint to make it removable.

These jets are weapons of war. This outrageous PR act serves only one end – to spin a weapon of war as a benign tool for public health and in neither country should this be allowed to stand. Continue reading Pink-washing at its most extreme

Tribute to an American activist who spoke out on breast cancer

On Monday 31st October, we had a very special evening to mark the final day of Breast Cancer Prevention Month with From Pink to Prevention’s evening dedicated to the writing of Barbara Brenner, hosted by UNISON. Barbara was the American activist who first described the commercialisation of breast cancer as ‘pink-washing’ and who, in her many years of campaigning, also spoke loudly about breast cancer as a disease with environmental and occupational risk factors which needed addressing urgently.

Barbara’s partner of 38 years, Susie Lampert, shared some of Barbara’s writings by reading a selection of extracts.  This included an incredibly moving article about the nature of activism and the need for health activists to stay true to their cause and beliefs, no matter how tough or how long the struggle may be. Continue reading Tribute to an American activist who spoke out on breast cancer