300,000 Women Have ‘Ticking Timebomb’ Breast Implants: French Industrial Silicon Scandal
THE French false breast scandal is growing. The grim news is that false breast manufacturer Poly Implant Prosthesis had been cutting corners to save costs, using industrial silicone instead of medical-grade padding. An estimated 30,000 women in France are affected by the stuff commonly used in computers as an electrical insulator. That’s one tenth of the world total of people wearing cheap PIP implants. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps!) estimates 50,000 British women could have the faulty implants.
Worse still, the implants are known to leak.
Women are protesting outside the French health ministry.
One women says:
“I’ve always suffered from depression and mental-health problems linked to body image. I earn €1,000 [£840] a month in a factory. I couldn’t afford breast surgery until my late 40s. But after the implants I felt better, I came off the antidepressants, I was able to face work. Then I find out the implants are poison. The tests say they’re still in place but I’m having them removed anyway. I’m terrified they’ll rupture or explode at any moment.
“I try to sleep on my back, if I sleep at all. Some people try to avoid extreme physical exercise for fear of damaging the implants, but I do hard labour on a factory line.
“I go to bed feeling bad, I wake up feeling bad. It’s like living with a ticking bomb inside you.”
Another woman says:
“I breastfed for eight months with these implants in place – at what risk to my child? Flat-chested, I never felt like a woman. After the implants, I felt transformed. When I saw the TV reports of faulty implants, I went to have them removed. Tests had shown mine had not ruptured or leaked, but during surgery the doctor found they were in fact leaking.”
The French Health Products Safety Agency or AFSSAPS’s investigations have thus far concluded that health risks from having PIP implants are no different than those normally encountered with other types of implants. In spite of this a higher rate of ruptures (and inflammation around the implant site following ruptures) has been observed. These reactions are not serious and the recommended treatment is to have the implants replaced.
But what if you can’t afford to?