Command Trust Network Press Release

PR Newswire (March 16, 1998)

Command Trust Network: Potentially Toxic Silicones Leak From Implants, Travel to Ten Vital Organs; Brain, Uterus Among Organs Affected

LOS ANGELES, March 16 /PRNewswire/ -- The Command Trust Network, an information clearinghouse for women with breast implants, issued the following:

Low molecular weight silicones leak from breast implants and collect in ten vital organs, says a peer-reviewed article published in the March 2nd issue of the American Journal of Pathology. Using animal models, the researchers found the highest levels of silicone in the brain, uterus, ovaries and lungs. This is the third in a series of studies by the Baylor College of Medicine, which examined the leakage and migration of low molecular weight silicones (LMWS) from implants. The Baylor researchers expressed concern over the effects of LMWS on vital organs, based on earlier studies* which indicated that LMWS may mimic the biological activity of central nervous system drugs or estrogens.

In particular, one form of low molecular weight silicones (LMWS) shows "an affinity for estrogen receptors," says the most recent Baylor study, raising the possible effect of this chemical on the female hormonal system. Existing scientific literature also suggests that certain LMWS, including those identified by the Baylor team, "may have potent activities that mimic, for example estrogen or CNS (central nervous-system)-active drugs," according to the second Baylor study.

"The wide spread distribution of low molecular weight silicones and their persistence raises the issue of possible untoward consequences," says the March 2nd study, which also found the silicones present after one year in most organs. In their earlier study, the Baylor researchers wrote that LMWS "exhibit a variety of potentially toxic biological activities."

The possible harmful effects of silicone are particularly disconcerting as the great majority of breast implants rupture, spreading silicone throughout the body. A recent paper by FDA researchers reported that 95 percent of implants rupture after 20 years.

Studies, such as the Baylor series, are beginning to explore the possible biological mechanism linking silicone breast implants to the debilitating symptoms which plague many women with the devices. Commonly referred to as "atypical connective tissue disease," these symptoms include cognitive dysfunction, severe joint and muscle pain, incapacitating fatigue and skin abnormalities. Dow discovered years ago that silicone stimulates the immune system. Some researchers believe this stimulation causes these atypical symptoms.

The metal platinum has been found to leak from implants along with LMWS by the same Baylor researchers, as published in the December 1, 1997 issue of Analytical Chemistry. Platinum "exhibits significant toxicity" in the body and in lab tests. The authors concluded, "the documented leakage of (low molecular)-silicones and heavy metals from apparently intact implants raises troubling questions about the biological fate of these newly liberated compounds within tissues."

The researchers noted that the LMWS was injected into the animals, and that the pattern of migration of silicone may not be identically replicated by a silicone breast implant. However, they noted that they are concerned about "adverse biological effects." LMWS are among several types of silicone used in all silicone gel-filled breast implants.

Series of three Baylor studies: "Low Molecular Weight Silicones Are Widely Distributed after a Single Subcutaneous Injection in Mice," Lieberman, Lykissa, et al. American Journal of Pathology, March 1998; 152: 645-649.

"Release of Low Molecular Weight Silicones and Platinum from Silicone Breast Implants," Lebovitz, Lykissa, et al. Analytical Chemistry, Dec. 1997; 69(23): 4912-4916.

"Detection and Characterization of Poly(dimethylsiloxane)s in Biological Tissues by GC/AED and GC/MS," Lebovitz, Lykissa, et al. Analytical Chemistry, 1997; 69: 1267-1272.

* a) La Vier, et al. In Biochemistry of Silicon and Related Problems, Bendz, Lindquist, Eds.; Plenum Press: New York, 1978, pp 473-513. b) Hayden, JF, Barlow, SA, Toxicol. Appl. Pharmacol., 1972; 21: 68-79. c) Carlisle, EM. Science, 1972; 178: 619-621.

SOURCE: Command Trust Network CONTACT: Suzanne Turner or Karin Wallestad of Fenton
Communications, 202-822-5200, for the Command Trust Network

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