Some of you may suspect that I used that title just to get your attention. But no, today’s post is actually about boobs. Specifically, silicone gel breast implants. See, the FDA is holding hearings to determine whether or not they should lift the ban on silicone boobs.
There’s huge controversy over these little (or not-so-little) blobs of gel. Many women claim they developed incurable, disabling illnesses after their implants ruptured and leaked silicone goo into their bodies. Others claim that silicone blobs are far superior to blobs made out of saline in feel and appearance, and they should be allowed to buy them.
What I can’t understand is why it should be so difficult to decide if the silicone blobs cause health problems. I mean, they’re self-contained.
Compare this issue to MSG, another controversial substance. There are loads of anecdotal reports of harm caused by the ingestion of MSG. The FDA says controlled studies have not demonstrated that MSG is to blame. There are numerous claims by anti-MSG activists that evidence has been suppressed by the powerful food-additive industry.
You can see where this gets complicated, because there are so many factors to consider. Everybody in the U.S. consumes MSG regularly, unless they go to a great deal of trouble to avoid it. Even reading labels doesn’t necessarily eliminate it from your diet, because glutamate is identified by other names if the quantity is small. And when you eat in restaurants or other people’s homes, you have no idea what’s in the food.
So, it is very difficult to separate our baseline consumption of this stuff from whatever amount might possibly cause a reaction. And it is impossible to gauge long-term effects, because you can’t control the diets of a large number of subjects over a long study period.
With silicone implants, on the other hand, either you’ve got ‘em or you don’t. They were on the market for decades before the ban, and in the years since the ban, they’ve been used in controlled research studies.
So why do we still not know if they cause health problems or not? Perhaps we know that they do. After all, silicone from a ruptured implant oozing into your tissues simply cannot be good for you. Perhaps the companies that have lobbied so long and hard to get the devices back on the market should have put their R and D money into building a safe and equally effective alternative.
Leaving aside the idiocy of getting implants just to achieve a D cup, shouldn’t women who need reconstruction be offered better choices?
Today the health advisory committee recommended against lifting the ban, citing insufficient data about how long the implants will last.
Interesting statistic: ” Last year, 264,000 breast augmentations and 63,000 breast reconstructions were performed in the United States, most with saline implants.”