Writing letters to the editor is a great way to raise awareness about environmental health and to effect social change in your community.
To significantly increase the chances that your letter is printed, please keep the following points in mind:
- Use this sample letter as a guide, but put your letter in your own words. Try to frame your letter as a response to a recent article, editorial, or event covered by your newspaper. (We try to keep an updated list of recent press articles here.)
- Keep your letter concise and to the point. Check your newspaper’s website for guidelines on word count; bear in mind that most newspapers will only accept letters of 150-200 words.
- Make sure to give your contact details, including phone number. (Phone numbers will not be published; editors generally call authors to confirm the validity of the letter before publishing.)
- Include your affiliation with BCAM at the bottom of your letter if appropriate; however, be aware of how many times you mention the organization. Most newspapers will not submit letters that they find self-promotional. If you choose to mention your affiliation to BCAM please notify us via email and forward us a copy of your submission.
- Check with your newspaper’s website to submit your letter via postal mail, fax or email.
Note: If your letter is published, please send a copy to Breast Cancer Action Montreal, 5890 Avenue Monkland, Suite 201, Montreal Quebec, H4A 1G2. If it is published online, please forward a link to firstname.lastname@example.org
Other activists can get ideas from, and, more importantly, are encouraged by examples of your success.
(*Adapted from Amnesty International USA's guidelines)
Sample Letter to the Editor:
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and this year I am joining with Breast Cancer Action Montreal to take a stand regarding a lack of awareness about primary prevention and the environmental and chemical connections to breast cancer.
I am extremely concerned that the Government is not designating chemicals as “toxic” under CEPA 1999. The fact that some high-hazard chemicals are not being designated as toxic results in no government management and no research for, or testing of, substitutes. This is not right, particularly for high-hazard substances. The Government has taken actions that maintain the status quo regarding the use of substances, or at best, lead to slight reductions in environmental releases. This is unacceptable. The Government can do a much better job at evaluating chemicals and protecting Canadians’ health. The Government must ensure that substances are evaluated with consideration for real world exposures. When products are found to be carcinogenic, mutagenic or endocrine disrupting, the Precautionary Principle must be implemented and they must be taken off the market. If any cancer-causing substances are present in products, they must be identified with a hazard symbol so that consumers have appropriate information about the precautions that need to be taken when the product is used.
[your name here]
[Member, Breast Cancer Action Montreal]
[your address and phone number]