In 1991, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition (MBCC) was founded by women concerned with the lack of attention to breast cancer, with a goal to bring awareness to the prevention of the environmental causes of breast cancer. MBCC’s drive to bring attention to the disease leads Massachusetts to be the first state to officially recognize breast cancer as an epidemic.

When the Mass Department of Public Health published its first cancer rate by town report in 1993, MBCC believed that a new approach to breast cancer research was needed. Driven by the knowledge of elevated breast cancer rates in 11 of the 15 towns on Cape Cod, MBCC successfully lobbied for funding to start a research institute focused on the environmental links to the disease and founded Silent Spring Institute in 1994.


  • 30th Anniversary – Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition marks 30 years of working towards its mission of the prevention of environmental causes of breast cancer through community education, research advocacy, and changes to public policy.
  • Advocacy:
    • TURA Administrative Council – MBCC sends a letter to TURA Administrative Council in support of the Council’s decision to add PFAS (Per-and Poly-fluoroalkyl Substance) Not Otherwise Listed to the TURA list of Toxic and Hazardous Substances. MBCC also signs on with other environmental health organizations to support the Council.
    • 2021 PFAS in Food Packaging Campaign – As part of its 2021 Campaign, MBCC brings together multiple panels of state legislators, town leaders, scientists, and concerned citizens to address the importance of eliminating toxic chemicals from food packaging in Massachusetts. MBCC also provides oral and written testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Health in support of bills S.1494 and H.2348 for the removal of PFAS from food packaging.
    • PFAS in Pesticides – MBCC joins with other organizations across Massachusetts in calling on the Pesticide Board to take action regarding fluorinated pesticides as a class and to suspend the use of all pesticides containing PFAS.
    • Children and Firefighters Protection Act – In a multi-year effort, MBCC successfully advocates within a larger campaign for the passage of the Children and Firefighters Protection Act, banning highly toxic flame retardants in Massachusetts.
    • National Cancer Institute – MBCC joins with organizations across the country in calling on the National Cancer Institute for the inclusion of environmental exposures (specifically cancer-causing chemicals) in information about breast cancer risk factors in the Breast Cancer Prevention PDQ on the Institute’s website.
    • PFAS in Consumer Products – MBCC provides testimony to the Joint Committee on Public Health in support of bills S.1387 and H.2350 for the removal of PFAS from consumer products.
  • Education Resources:
    • MBCC continues to expand the Let’s Talk Prevention: Actions You Can Take environmental health education program for students introducing a new module on PFAS.
  • National Health Projects:
    • MBCC engages with residents, policymakers, public officials, and the media on Cape Cod and throughout Massachusetts, and organizes events to share key findings from the studies.
    • MBCC moderates national webinars to promote broader understanding of the health effects of PFAS.
    • MBCC recruits over 100 children and adults to participate in the national health studies.
    • MBCC Executive Director is invited to serve on the Local Community Feedback (LCF) planning committee support the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) Multi-Site Study. MBCC was nominated by Dr. Laurel Schaider, Senior Scientist at Silent Spring Institute in recognition of our demonstrated commitment to recruit a diverse cohort of study participants that reflects the diversity of Hyannis, MA.
  • Margo Simon Golden Distinguished Service Award – In honor and memory of former MBCC Board President Margo Simon Golden’s passionate commitment to MBCC’s mission of breast cancer prevention, MBCC commissions this award to be presented annually to an individual who best exemplifies Margo’s dedication to preventing the environmental causes of breast cancer.


  • National Health Projects:
    • STEEP – MBCC becomes a community partner in the STEEP (Sources, Transport, Exposure and Effects of PFASs) Superfund Research Center 5-year project on private well water testing on Cape Cod for PFAS, led by the University of Rhode Island and includes researchers from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Silent Spring Institute, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
    • REACH – MBCC becomes a community partner on a 5-year project, PFAS-REACH (PFAS Research, Education, and Action for Community Health), studying the effects of PFAS on children’s health, led by the Silent Spring Institute along with researchers from Northeastern University, Michigan State University, and community partners Testing for Pease and Toxics Action Center, funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS).
    • ATSDR/CDC – MBCC becomes a community partner for the Silent Spring Institute-led investigation of the health effects of PFAS exposure from drinking water, including researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Eastern Research Group, along with the People of Ayer Concerned about the Environment, supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR).
  • Advocacy:
    • National outreach to EPA – With growing concern about the impact of PFAS on the public health, MBCC joins with environmental health and justice groups across the country to support a North Carolina petition the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for testing 54 PFAS manufactured by The Chemours Company at its chemical production company in Fayetteville, NC.
    • PFAS in Food Packaging Campaign – MBCC launches a PFAS in Food Packaging campaign, advocating for the passage of the bills S.1315 & H.3839, geared towards the removal of harmful PFAS from food packaging.
  • Water Quality Campaign – In 2019, MBCC launches its Water Quality Campaign, calling on the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) to establish enforceable drinking water standards for PFAS. MBCC also called for soil and groundwater standards for PFAS at contaminated sites, and for transparency of current PFAS levels in Massachusetts drinking water supplies. Through the tireless efforts of MBCC and other organizations, MassDEP announces new drinking water standards.
    • Water Quality Forums – MBCC host two educational forums at the Massachusetts State House to address the need to expand water quality research.
    • 3-D Mammography – MBCC successfully urges Cigna Insurance to retract their decision to no longer provide coverage for 3-D mammography, which offers far greater resolution than conventional 2-D mammography. In September of 2016, Cigna announced a new revised policy, covering 3-D mammograms.
    • Drinking Water Research – As part of a dynamic coalition, MBCC campaigns for the passage of the Bill H.2919, an act to establish a specific research trust fund for Silent Spring Institute’s research on drinking water and groundwater in Massachusetts.
    • Safe Cosmetics Act – MBCC successfully advocates in the campaign Proctor & Gamble to terminate usage of two toxic chemicals, diethyl phthalate (DEP) and triclosan, in their personal care products.
    • The National Campaign for Consumer Safety – This campaign is set in motion by environmental health groups across the country, including MBCC, to urge companies to stop the usage of toxic ingredients in favor of safer alternatives.
    • Boston Fire Code – MBCC successfully advocates with other organizations for the Boston City Council to change the City Fire Code, allowing flame-retardant free furniture in institutional and public buildings with sprinkler systems.
  • Challenging “pinkwashing”:
    • Pink Ribbon Papers – MBCC publishes multiple papers challenging the pink ribbon as a symbol of corporations eager to jump on cause-related advertising as a vehicle to promote their products, many of which contain ingredients that actually contribute to rising cancer rates.
    • “Towards a Cancer Free Economy” Forum – MBCC leads a forum of environmental, social, and community groups in a discussion of the economy’s harmful dependency on carcinogenic chemicals and strategies for building a cancer-causing-toxins-free environment.
    • “Go Green” Campaign – MBCC launches the “Go Green” campaign to focus attention on chemicals of concern in an effort to expand the definition of “breast cancer awareness”.
    • Pink Ribbon Inc. – MBCC partners with Women 4 Women and Students for Environmental Health Action to sponsor a screening of Pink Ribbons Inc. This documentary shines a spotlight on how the fight against breast cancer has led to a financial windfall for some corporations, while doing little to eradicate the disease.
  • Demanding more of national retailers – As a board member of Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families and An Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, MBCC successfully participates in the “Mind the Store” campaign to convince national retailers, including Home Depot, Walgreens, and Target, to publicly commit to eliminate toxic chemicals from their products
  • Equal Access – MBCC continues it work to bring media attention to the lack of equal access to breast cancer screening and argues against limitations based on socioeconomic status or health insurance coverage.
  • Educational Resources:
    • Research Updates Video Series – MBCC launches the MBCC Research Update video series to translate environmental health research into actionable items to reduce toxic exposures.
    • The Let’s Talk Prevention: Reducing Toxic Exposures Program – This community education program launches in 2014 to encourage a dialogue between health professionals and patients on the health risks that arise from environmental exposures. From 2014 -2020 the Program tour reached thousands of residents in over 200 locations across the state, with program materials available in seven languages: Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, and English.
    • MBCC Webinar Series – In 2016, MBCC launches a webinar series featuring renowned educators, scientists, and community leaders addressing a range of public health topics.
    • Let’s Talk Prevention: Actions You Can Take Program – MBCC’s new environmental health education program for high school students launches in 2017 with a pilot program in Massachusetts high schools across the state. Partnering with leading scientists and educators, MBCC continues to add new modules to the program, addressing a range of topics including household toxins, tap water quality, cell phone radiation, and PFAS water contamination. In 2020, MBCC significantly expands the program to include age-appropriate materials for both middle and elementary school students. In response to Covid, MBCC adapts all program materials are a to accommodate both in-person and remote learning.
  • “Champion of Toxic Use Reduction” – In 2017, Toxics Use Reduction Institute (TURI) recognizes MBCC at a ceremony at the Massachusetts State House for our Let’s Talk Prevention: Actions You Can Take educational program.
  • “The one hundred” – Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center twice honors MBCC as one of “the one hundred” organizations making a difference in the fight against cancer in 2014 and 2016.


  • “Black Women and Breast Cancer” Conference – The Boston Public Health Commission’s Center for Health Equity and Social Justice’s REACH (Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health) Coalition honors MBCC for its work on breast cancer disparities among various communities, including hosting the “Black Women and Breast Cancer” Conference.
  • Coalition building:
    • MBCC becomes a founding partner of the state-based coalition, Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, lobbying for education and awareness of the risks of toxic chemicals in consumer products.
    • MBCC becomes a founding partner of the nationwide Campaign for Safe Cosmetics to urge companies to use safer ingredients. 
    • MBCC partners with other organizations nationwide in An Alliance for Accountability in Breast Cancer to address concerns about cause-marketing of breast cancer.
    • MBCC aligns with Prevention First, a coalition committed to promoting the Precautionary Principle.
  • Advocacy –
    • Mercury Products Phase-Out Bill – MBCC successfully advocates in collaboration with other organizations for the passage of the Mercury Products Phase-Out Bill and for regulation banning Bisphenol A (BPA) from baby bottles and children’s sippy cups.
    • Flame retardants ban – MBCC partners with Silent Spring Institute on the study oftoxic flame retardants in Cape Cod homes, kickstarting the campaign for legislation on the ban of these harmful chemicals in furniture products and public facilities such as hospitals, schools, and libraries.
    • Expanded access – As part of a larger campaign, MBCC successfully advocates for the passing of legislation on complete access to screening and funding towards treatment among low income and uninsured women in Massachusetts.
    • Research funding – MBCC partners with other organizations to successfully advocate the passing of legislation on increased state funding for research into environmental links to breast and cervical cancer treatment for Massachusetts residents.


  • “Breast Cancer and the Precautionary Principle” Conference – MBCC collaborates with Clean Water Action and the UMass Lowell Center for Sustainable Production on the Precautionary Principle Project, and hosts the first statewide initiative to incorporate the principle into policy. 
  • “Face to Face” Exhibit – MBCC’s photo exhibit tours statewide to raise public awareness of the magnitude of the breast cancer epidemic. 
  • “Putting People First” Campaign – MBCC collaborates with national organizations for women’s health, including the Boston Women’s Health Book Collaborative, Breast Cancer Action, and National Women’s Health Network to bring awareness to the dangers implicit in the direct-to-consumer advertising of drugs by pharmaceutical companies.
  • Challenging “breast cancer awareness month” – MBCC places full-page newspaper ads challenging National Breast Cancer Awareness Month as a public relations ruse by sponsors who reap enormous profits from breast cancer.
  • Challenging the National Cancer Institute – MBCC challenges NCI’s release of initial Tamoxifen clinical trial results as to its efficacy for healthy women.
  • Advocacy:
    • Genetic privacy law – MBCC successfully advocates as part of the larger campaign for the passing of a new genetic privacy law in the state of Massachusetts, addressing protection of individual genetic information as well as discrimination in employment, disability, and health insurance.