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Breast Implant Debate Has Shifted

December 17, 1995

Re "Opting All Over Again for Breast Implants" (Nov. 28): As a consumer attorney involved in breast implant litigation, I have seen dozens of women whose lives have been damaged forever because of disfigurements and diseases resulting from leaking or ruptured silicone gel breast implants.

Your article shows how the debate has shifted. A decade ago, women believed the claims of Dow Corning and other manufacturers that their implants would last a lifetime. Now plastic surgeons admit that implants are not forever and that autoimmune disease is a risk factor. Women who think saline implants are safer than silicone gel should know that the saline sacs are surrounded by silicone compounds, and that recent studies claiming silicone is a safe product are seriously flawed.

The "Harvard Nurses Study" and the Mayo Clinic report looked at too few women over too short a time and were partially funded by breast implant manufacturers. The American College of Rheumatology's claim at its October convention that silicone implants were safe was based on only two new studies. Twelve other studies that did find links between silicone and connective tissue diseases in women with implants were ignored, and reporters were turned away from a press conference with the dissenting scientists and physicians.

Women's decisions about their bodies and health should be based on facts, not on flawed studies or propaganda.

BRUCE M. BRUSAVICH

President-elect, Consumer

Attorneys Assn. of Los Angeles

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