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 Harbeer Sandhu
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Baker Hughes Wants to Fracking Drill Your Pink Bits

Baker Hughes Wants to Fracking Drill Your Pink Bits
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We all know what “whitewashing” means — to cover up wrongdoings or other ugly things with a thin, superficial coat of BS. In this era of post-industrial environmental crises, you might even have heard of “greenwashing,” or cheap public relations stunts that big companies like British Petroleum (BP) are wont to pull, like rebranding themselves “Beyond Petroleum.” But “pinkwashing?”

According to Think Before You Pink, a pinkwasher is:

A company or organization that claims to care about breast cancer by promoting a pink ribbon product, but at the same time produces, manufactures and/or sells products that are linked to the disease.

There is even a Pinkwashing Hall of Fame on Facebook and a great article by the UK Guardian goes into great detail about this ironic “corporate philanthropy.”

Local oilfield services company Baker Hughes seems to want to join that Hall of Shame. In a recent stunt, they are donating $100,000 to the questionable Susan G. Komen Foundation and painting 1,000 of their drill bits pink. Look at these things!

drill_bit Baker-Hughes-anti-cancer-pink-drillbit-Baker-Hughes-800x430 20141012_inq_sandyb12z-b pink-drill-bit-620x330

As Death and Taxes writes:

The grand irony, of course, is the fact that hydraulic fracturing itself actually causes health problems. A Yale study released this year found that people who live near fracking sites were more than four times likelier to have skin and respiratory problems than those who do not. Granted, due to the fact that these companies won’t tell us what chemicals they are using to do the fracking (because trade secrets!), we can’t even know which of these chemicals are causing these problems.

The Center for Disease Control has reported that breast cancer, specifically, is on the rise in communities close to fracking sites–despite the fact that it is decreasing everywhere else. The breast cancer rate in six Texas counties near fracking sites is 20% higher than the general population.

Houston is very much a pro-corporate town, and a lot of people here think it’s great that corporations like Baker Hughes donate money to causes like the Komen Foundation, but let’s please at least call this what it is. It’s pinkwashing. It’s putting lipstick on a pig. It’s letting a corporation that makes BILLIONS by endangering our health and destroying ecosystems off the hook by donating a measly $100,000 and painting some drill bits pink. That’s pretty gross.

Don’t believe the hype. If you want to help fight breast cancer, support Breast Cancer Action.