NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Another Report Exonerates Breast Implants

June 21, 1999

An independent panel of 13 scientists has concluded in forceful terms that silicone breast implants do not cause any major diseases in women. The study, conducted by the Institute of Medicine at the request of Congress, is the latest in a series of evaluations that have concluded that there is no scientific evidence to support breast implant lawsuits.

  • The report says the "primary safety issue" with implants is their tendency to rupture or deflate and to lead to infections or hardening or scarring of breast tissue.
  • But there was no reason to believe that implants cause rheumatoid arthritis, lupus or any other systemic disease -- which had been a main contention of plaintiffs' lawyers in lawsuits.
  • Suits filed against Dow Corning, a subsidiary of Dow Chemical Co., forced it to file for bankruptcy -- citing the $3.2 billion it agreed to pay women to settle their claims.
  • Other implant manufacturers have agreed to a total settlement estimated to be near $4 billion.

In addition, thousands of women have settled their cases in private agreements with implant makers or gone to trial and won awards that amounted to millions of dollars.

Source: Gina Kolata, "Panel Confirms No Major Illness Tied to Implants," New York Times, June 21, 1999.


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