Environmental Justice

At Breast Cancer Action, we recognize that low-income communities of color in the United States bear the heaviest burden of environmental toxins that harm human health. Because of this, a broad social justice approach is needed to decrease involuntary environmental exposures that put people at risk for breast cancer. We advocate for stronger chemical regulations, safer cosmetics and personal care products, and healthier work and home environments.

Our Commitment to Social Justice

Breast Cancer Action recognizes that the breast cancer epidemic is a social justice issue. Breast cancer is a widespread women’s health crisis in a male-dominated and profit-driven society, and addressing and ending the breast cancer epidemic requires profound changes at every level of our society.

The current breast cancer epidemic impacts communities unequally and leads to unacceptable differences in who develops breast cancer and when it develops, who gets high quality and timely treatment, and who dies from breast cancer. In order to address and end the breast cancer epidemic, we must tackle the root causes of these health inequalities, which are the result of a complex interplay of culture, power, economics, racism, and sexism.

Achieving health justice requires that each of us be free from oppressions that prevent all of us from living healthy lives in healthy communities. We believe that no single injustice can be effectively addressed in isolation, and we recognize that injustices in our society reinforce each other in many ways and at many levels.

In mainstream U.S. culture, breasts are linked to femininity, sexuality, and attractiveness. As a result, breast cancer is a highly sexualized and gendered disease. As a feminist organization with roots in the women’s health movement, we challenge the narrow definitions of femininity, womanhood, and sexuality that mainstream narratives about breast cancer impose on people at risk of and living with the disease. We recognize and honor the many ways people express their gender identity, including outside of the either/or of man/woman. We work to challenge mainstream assumptions about gender and sexuality as it relates to breast cancer risk, diagnosis, and treatment in order to make room for people of all gender identities in the breast cancer movement.

In our work for health justice, we strive to practice principled allyship by using the power and privilege we hold as an organization to build solidarity with communities who currently and/or traditionally have had less access to power, information, and resources.