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Thousands of Concerned Citizens Deliver Petition to Keep Oil Wastewater Off Crops

November 4th, 2016
Center for Food Safety

Bee Sweet Citrus and Wonderful Company Feel the Heat

SAN FRANCISCO— Today Center for Food Safety and Breast Cancer Action delivered a petition carrying nearly 13,000 signatures—including those of women diagnosed with and at risk of breast cancer—to the heads of Bee Sweet Citrus and Wonderful Company, urging the corporations to stop pinkwashing and stop using contaminated oil wastewater to irrigate crops.

“We’re outraged that these companies claim to care about women with breast cancer and use pink ribbons to sell their products—while failing to protect women from the potential health risks of using oil wastewater to irrigate their citrus,” said Karuna Jaggar, Executive Director of Breast Cancer Action. “It’s pinkwashing, any way you slice it. And it’s one of the most deceptive acts of corporate hypocrisy we’ve ever seen.”

The petition delivery comes as a culmination of Breast Cancer Action’s October 2016 Think Before You Pink® “Toxic isn’t Tasty” campaign. Center for Food Safety will continue to pressure the companies to stop the harmful practice of wastewater irrigation.

Oil extraction processes rely on toxic chemicals to drill, maintain, and clean wells, and these chemical additives can be found in wastewater. The use of oil wastewater for food irrigation is expanding rapidly in California, the state that supplies over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits.

“There is absolutely no reason Big Oil should be making another dollar off of contaminating our produce and putting public health at risk. In the absence of government regulation, we need companies like Bee Sweet and Wonderful to take the lead in protecting our food and our health, and we won’t stop pressuring them until they do,” said Rebecca Spector, West Coast Director for Center for Food Safety.

A new report released last month examined the chemical additives used in oil operations that supply wastewater for crop irrigation. They found that “a total of 173 different chemical additives were used in these oil and gas fields, of which more than one-third (38 percent) were not able to be sufficiently identified for preliminary hazard evaluation, largely due to the withholding of information under proprietary claims.” Of the chemicals researchers were able to analyze, they found that 43 percent of them can be classified as “potential chemicals of concern from human health and/or environmental perspectives and require more thorough investigation.”

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