Marketing Faculty Member and Students Bring Breast Cancer Message to Retailers
October 01, 2014
Cynthia Barstow, a lecturer in marketing at Isenberg, is the founder of Protect Our Breasts, a national organization that empowers students to raise awareness about endocrine disruptors and carcinogens in everyday products, including personal care products, foods, cleaning supplies, and packaging, that are linked with breast cancer. On September 17-20, Barstow, UMass endocrinologist Thomas Zoeller, and members of the Protect Our Breasts team attended Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore, where the two professors spoke at a workshop for retailers.
Of the 85,000 chemicals used in commerce, only about 7% have been tested for effects on human health, Barstow and Zoeller told their audience. Among those, more than 1,000 have been shown to be endocrine disruptors, which interfere with critical hormones and in some cases fuel cancer risk. What can a retailer do to protect customers from those chemicals? "Talk to your suppliers about the chemicals in their products and packaging," they emphasized. "Inform your floor staff about the basics of endocrine disruption and the common chemicals of concern. Stay informed about legislation through NGO and RSS feeds, including those of Protect Our Breasts and other groups."
The Baltimore visit is part of a concerted strategy by Barstow and Protect Our Breasts to bring their message to retailers and manufacturers. In December, Barstow will talk to retailers about toxins in their stores at SOHO Exposition 2014, organized by the Southeast Natural Products Exposition. And in March, Barstow and Zoeller will speak at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, attended by 67,000.