by Ilena Rosenthal, March 15, 1999
Beware The Ides of March.
This historical date of classic betrayal and traitorism ~ March 15th ~ appears to be living up to it's reputation. Caeser and Brutus move over.
Here come The Dows!
On this date, Dow Corning's bankruptcy division, in yet another public relations blitz regarding their previously profitable breast implant division, will begin mailing a couple hundred thousand implant recipients a settlement offer for their vote.
They will continue their very expensive PR campaign to make the forgiving public believe that there is zilch ~ zero ~ nada ~ none ~ no evidence whatsoever ~ that their previous cash cow of silicone, causes harm. They will hit the media through their intricate and expansive network with "Poor Dow" and "Generous Dow" articles. They won't reveal however, that Baby Dow Corning has earned over $200 million in profit each and every year. Bankruptcy has served them well.
Nor will they remind the public that Papa Dow Chemical recently lost $4 million in Reno and an as yet unknown amount in a class action suit in Louisiana they have managed to stall. They are guilty of not only manufacturing, but for years, concealing the known dangers and risks of breast implants. Mighty Dow, in spite of the Nevada verdict Halloween, 1995, is still appealing at the federal level. They have lost all state appeals but with clever legal strategies and stonewalling, that four million dollars is still in the coffers of Dow, and the very ill plaintiff, Marianne Hopkins, is left broke with a debilitating disease similar to Multple Sclerosis.
They will fail to mention, that although marketed as "lasting a lifetime," recent studies, including one in the prestigious British Lancet (11/22/97), report a rupture rate up to 95% over 20 years. Nor will the press releases mention hidden studies done by Dow as early in the 50's and 60's whose results were buried for years. They did not want their customers to know that silicone migrated throughout the body and crossed the placental barrier. They exclude the fact that implants were once designed as a "drug delivery system," or that cockroaches dropped dead from the silicone fluid.
They will try to convince you, that it is out of their generosity, not scientific evidence, that they are paying out $3.2 billion. They prefer to be seen as the benevolent, unfairly maligned corporation, who, with no fault of their own, offer this money out of pure concern for fairness.
They will utilize their long running campaign of defaming all doctors who dare to report their findings on the damage to women's bodies and immune systems by calling them "junk scientists." They will imply that hundreds of thousands of implanted women are faking serious autoimmune symptoms and removing their ruptured implants at the whim of plantiff attorneys.
Rarely admitted is the fact that no breast implant has ever been approved by the FDA for safety. Or why, as of 9/10/98, 127,500 women with silicone gel implants and an additional 49,661 with saline filled implants had reported serious adverse reactions to the FDA.
In 1995, my phone started ringing with women sharing their implant stories and I began my internet newsgroup and email list. The horrors continue to unfold today as hundreds more ill women come forward every month. Women literally and figuratively disintegrating ~ at least one whose tortured chest is being held together by mesh. Silicone in their brains, their uteri, their livers, their spinal fluid, their children.
The manufacturers have engaged implanted women as distractors causing confusion and paranoia throughout the support system, knowing that dividing the injured women disempowers them. It's as if Brutus himself taught them well to spread rumors like viruses.
What about the women?
With the pittance offered the majority of them, will they even be able to afford to remove their ruptured or disintegrating implants?
And if they vote "no," will a better offer ever come their way?
Who will cover their mounting medical bills as their immune systems break down from chemicals and known carcinogens like silica, toluene, and platinum? Health insurers are already routinely refusing coverage for implanted women.
The Silicone Issue is the slippery slope of Big Bu$ine$$. It brings attention to other dangerous devices and drugs, other toxins whose real dangers are still being minimized.
If the wealthy silicone manufacturers don't take real responsibility for their failed products, this is a public health catastrophe in the making.
Ilena Rosenthal, is Director of The Humantics Foundation for Women and author of Breast Implants, The Myths, The Facts the Women. Daily she communicates with thousands of implanted women and their families via her email lists.