Recently we've seen an uptick in stories about people injecting everything from non-medical silicone to cement into various body parts they'd like to see bigger. Usually, these procedures are performed by people who don't even play doctors on TV, but in France, tens of thousands of women wound up with a toxic chemical in their body after having a legitimate cosmetic surgery procedure.
In France more than 30,000 women have received defective breast implants in the past decade. The Guardian reports that the French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) was one of the world's leading producers of silicone implants and thousands of people all over the world used its products. Then last year, it was discovered that the company was trying to save money by using industrial silicone instead of medical-grade silicone in breast implants. As if that wasn't enough, the company also used weak casings that are more likely to rupture or leak than those used in other implants.
Four women who had the implants got cancer, and two have died. It's unclear if the disease was caused by the implants, but the women are still living with the knowledge that there are bags on their chest filled when a chemical intended for computer parts that could pop at any minute. Yesterday women who used PIP products held a demonstration outside the French health ministry to demand that the government do more to help the victims, including paying for removal of the implants. Since the implants were some of the cheapest on the market, many of the women who used them had scraped together money for the surgery and can't afford to have them taken out.
As is often the case with botched plastic surgery, the women say they're being treated like the problem is their fault. One woman in the crowd yelled, "We're sick of being dismissed as bimbos." While the women's reasons for getting implants have no bearing on their current situation, the fact is that some of these supposed "bimbos" are breast cancer survivors. Dominique Poitou, who received a PIP implant during a breast reconstruction after cancer treatment, said:
"It's very hard to rebuild my life. We feel judged, we feel that we're not taken seriously because it's linked to cosmetic surgery. That's unfair. This scandal is criminal. You wouldn't implant this type of material into animals, let alone women."
If the implants had been put into animals there would be no reason to judge them, but people feel they don't have to take this situation seriously because it's about a bunch of vain women who wanted bigger boobs.
France's Faulty Breast Implants Scandal [The Guardian]