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Be aware of”pink-washing” during breast cancer awareness month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and many products are promoted as benefiting charities dedicated to cancer research or survivor assistance. But some pink products may provide limited benefits to charity. October is the month that “pinkwashing” begins. “Pinkwashing” is a term used to describe unscrupulous companies that claim to support breast cancer research, but never actually fulfill their claim about donating toward breast cancer charities.

Many products lay out the amount they contribute to charities on the packaging, which BBB believes is the best way to inform consumers who are interested in buying products to support those charities. However, other products make only vague claims, or they require consumers to mail in proof of their purchase before donations can be made. If you want to support breast cancer charities by purchasing products, BBB advises that you look into how that purchase will benefit a charity and which charity will get the money.

Here are some tips for avoiding charity scams:

Inspect the product for information. Many companies clearly report on labels how much of their sales go to charity and specifically where the money goes.

Check the company’s website. If the information isn’t on the product itself, it often can be found at the website address printed on the product packaging.

If you still can’t find the information, call the company and ask for it. Firms that use charity tie-ins to market their products should be transparent to consumers.

Contact the charity directly if you have doubts they are receiving proceeds. Check out the charity to decide whether you believe it is worthy of your support.

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.

For additional information, please contact the Mid-Missouri BBB at or (573) 886-8965.

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