Breast Cancer Action Honors Acclaimed Ecologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber With Barbara Brenner Hell Raiser Award

For immediate release

August 20, 2015

Contact: Caitlin Carmody, Communications Officer – – 415.243.9301, ext. 22

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — Breast Cancer Action (BCAction), the respected watchdog for the breast cancer movement, announced today that acclaimed author, biologist and activist Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., will be awarded the organization’s Barbara Brenner Hell Raiser Award. The award presentation will take place at the organization’s 25th anniversary celebration on October 8, 2015.

“Dr. Sandra Steingraber is an exceptional leader, innovative thinker, extraordinary communicator and fearless activist whose work has informed and ignited the environmental health movement in the U.S.” said Karuna Jaggar, BCAction’s executive director. “Not only has Dr. Steingraber shined a light on the links between toxic chemicals and breast cancer, she has tirelessly brought her academic knowledge to the real world through political advocacy and direct action. We are deeply grateful for her visionary work, leadership, and truth-telling.”


Dr. Sandra Steingraber

Dr. Steingraber’s pioneering work in the field of toxins linked to cancer includes her highly acclaimed book, Living Downstream: An Ecologist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer and the Environment (which was adapted for the screen in 2010), serving on President Bill Clinton’s National Action Plan on Breast Cancer, and most recently helping to galvanize and organize the successful fight in New York to ban fracking. Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is an extreme form of energy extraction that is associated with a host of diseases and disorders ranging from respiratory illnesses to reproductive problems to cancers, including breast cancer. Twenty-five percent of the 700 chemicals used in the process of drilling and fracking for oil and gas have been linked to cancer.

The Barbara Brenner Hell Raiser Award was created and named in honor of BCAction’s first full-time executive director, Barbara Brenner. The award recognizes an individual whose fearless commitment to exposing environmental and systemic threats to human health, particularly concerning breast cancer, and whose leadership in effecting change to eliminate those threats, has inspired local, national, or global movement toward that goal.

“As all of us cancer patients know, the words “Barbara Brenner” are synonyms for integrity, truth-telling, courage, and the unmasking of every mendacity that comes wrapped in a pink ribbon,” Dr. Steingraber said. “And like everyone else in the environmental health advocacy movement, I labor in the vineyards that Barbara planted. So, it’s a humbling honor to receive an award with her name on it. She was my mentor, muse, and personal hero. Lord, let me live up to Barbara’s thunderbolts.”

Barbara Brenner

Barbara Brenner

Brenner was executive director of BCAction for 15 years, and under her leadership the organization grew into a national organization that changed the conversation in breast cancer advocacy from building awareness to demanding research on causes and prevention. “Barbara Brenner was a hell raiser of the first order. She was unafraid of controversy, deeply compassionate, and relentlessly committed to addressing and ending the breast cancer epidemic,” Jaggar said. “She changed the world in tangible ways for women living with and at risk of the disease. Her fierce integrity and unapologetic demand for change solidified the voice that defines Breast Cancer Action today.”

Dr. Steingraber will receive the award at BCAction’s 25th anniversary celebration on October 8, 2015, in the Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco, CA. She will also give a public lecture on the evening of October 12 in a to-be-determined location in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Breast Cancer Action ( is a national education and advocacy nonprofit organization whose mission is to achieve health justice for all women at risk of and living with breast cancer. BCAction has a strict conflict of interest policy and refuses to accept corporate funding from companies or organizations that profit from or contribute to the breast cancer epidemic.

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