Racing Backwards

OK – I’m going to come right out and say it.

“I do not want to find a cure for cancer.”

That of course is not quite true, of course I support finding an end to the suffering of millions of men, women and children, and their families. Every week and often every day I come across a meme on Facebook, or an ad in a magazine with a heartfelt and passionate plea to find a cure for cancer in our lifetime. But what these ads remind me, is that the occurrence of cancer has grown exponentially within my lifetime and we are not talking about that.

The tipping point to this article came with the introduction of a Pink drill bit for fracking that the Susan B Komen Foundation and Baker Hughes is providing to fracking sites.

..each steel bit — weighing 85 to 260 pounds — is painted by hand at the company’s drill bit manufacturing facility in The Woodlands and then shipped to the drill site in a pink-topped container containing information packets with breast health facts, including breast cancer risk factors and screening tips.

Of course no where in that material will be any hint of relationship between the hazardous chemicals that the frackers are working with on a daily basis  and injecting into our landscape at a ferocious rate because Komen has bought the meme that:

“the evidence to this point does not establish a connection

between fracking and breast cancer.”

There is plenty of evidence of health risks associated with each of the hundreds of chemicals used in drilling fluids. Not so much, if any, about the hazards of those chemicals being used together.

The hope is that the roughneck who cracks open that container learns a little more about the disease that afflicts 200,000 women per year.

(no mention that the American Cancer Society estimates 2,360 cases of breast cancer in men will be diagnosed in the United States for 2014 , and 430 men will die of it.)

By the way – if I am reading their website correctly, Baker Hughes had an adjusted net income of $447 MILLION in just the 3rd quarter of 2014. Of that they donated just $100K to the Komen Foundation. Now – that’s a profitable pink-washing campaign.

The top 10 countries with the highest rates of cancer are all industrialized nations, with six occurring in Europe, two in the Americas, and the remaining two in the Oceania region. Research from GLOBOCAN* found the rate for all cancers (for cancers that occur in men and women) was 1.7 times higher in more developed compared with less developed countries, with 255 cases of cancer diagnosed per 100,000 in the more developed regions, compared to 149 in less developed regions. http://tinyurl.com/kyoyn9c

Cures would be so nice for the companies that profit off of the hazards that cause it (not to mention the companies that held the patents and rights to procedures for curing it.

And let’s be honest…..it would let us off the hook too. We could continue on our merry way, ignoring our complicity in our disease. I realize the hypocrisy of my statement as I type away on a plastic bound computer, probably made by slave-like labor in China, wearing polyester clothes and using electricity generated by coal or natural gas.

At least some of us occasionally recognize our complicity. Too often we shrug that off as it’s too hard to avoid. Or my least favorites: We can’t go backwards, We need to maintain our place in the world, If we don’t China will and then we’ll be behind.

We don’t have to be number one in dominance. You are not more successful because you have the latest gizmo or newer drapes or a new car every 3 years. We don’t need to douse ourselves in the latest body wash, elixir or cosmetic. We can grow and eat real food.

We can at least be aware of the perils we allow ourselves and our communities to be exposed to at every turn. It is not economically necessary.

The starting point for my research into the Hughes-Komen relationship was with this article at Salon.com