France advises removal of suspect implants

Paris says removals are a precautionary measure but said there's no conclusive link to cancer.

Silicone breast implants 311 R (photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)
Silicone breast implants 311 R
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard)
PARIS - The French government recommended on Friday that tens of thousands of women in France seek removal of breast implants made of a suspect silicone gel by a firm that exported worldwide.
It said the removals would be paid for out of public health insurance funds.
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An estimated 30,000 women in France have had breast implants made by the now-defunct company Poly Implant Prothese SA (PIP), which produced about 100,000 implants a year before its product was ordered off the market in early 2010.
Up to 300,000 women worldwide may have received PIP implants.
Junior Health Minister Nora Berra said the government was recommending removal as a precautionary measure after complaints about abnormal rupture rates, but she added that there was no conclusive evidence of a link between the sub-standard silicone and cancer.
The health ministry said in a statement addressed to women in France that the new implants would also be paid for from public healthcare funds in cases where the initial implant was inserted for medical reasons.
Associations representing women with PIP implants have been demanding that all replacements, including cases of implants that were purely cosmetic, be publicly funded.
Founded in 1991, PIP was for a time the world's number three maker of implants, supplying about 100,000 a year. Upwards of 80 percent were exported abroad, primarily to Latin America and also neighboring European countries.
France has had reports of eight cases of cancer in women with breast implants made by PIP, which is accused of using industrial-grade silicone normally used in anything from computers to cookware.
The call to women to remove the implants is based primarily on the risk of irritation and inflammation from implant ruptures.