Implants go platinum

New study reveals further risks in silicone breast implants.

By Rebecca Traister
April 10, 2006 6:01PM (UTC)
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Just as the Food and Drug Administration is about to allow silicone gel implants back on the market (Ah, the FDA. Emergency contraception? Sorry ladies, no way to tell if it's safe. Silicone implants? Go crazy!), there's a new study out that raises yet another concern about their safety. The journal for the American Chemical Society this week published a study by researchers who found high levels of platinum salts in the hair, urine and breast milk of 16 women with silicone implants.

There's been a debate about the potential harm of the platinum in silicone implants since the early 1990s, but those worries paled in comparison with the concerns about all the nasty things that can happen when implants rupture and leak into the body. Woman have blamed the leaks for a variety of problems, including autoimmune disease, connective tissue disorders and cancers.


But now researchers are asserting that in addition finding high levels of platinum, which is used as a catalyst to make silicone into a harder gel, they found it in oxidized form, which is likelier to cause allergic and toxic reactions.

Implant manufacturers have, naturally, questioned the validity of the new study. But as Jessica at Feministing (who pointed me to this story) put it, "Pretty please, ladies. If you must must must increase your bust, try to stick to saline."

Rebecca Traister

Rebecca Traister writes for Salon. She is the author of "Big Girls Don't Cry: The Election that Changed Everything for American Women" (Free Press). Follow @rtraister on Twitter.

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