Ban silicon breast implants, says MP

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A Labour MP is lobbying the Government to curb the use of silicone breast implants, which are believed to have affected the health of 10,000 women in Britain.

Ann Clwyd, MP for Cynon Valley, will launch her campaign next month by presenting a report to the Department of Health criticising its failure to conduct adequate research into the implants' side-effects. The report includes case studies of women affected by implants and data from the British Medical Association.

Ms Clwyd said last week that she wants the Government to implement EU legislation requiring all breast implants to carry markings that guarantee they have passed safety standards.

She also wants the Government to consider a ban on silicone breast implants, following the example of the US Food and Drugs Administration. In the US, the implants are now allowed to be used only in clinical studies and for reconstructive surgery with the patient's consent. France, Canada, Australia and Japan have all withdrawn silicone products from the market.

If the Government fails to act, Ms Clwyd says that she will consider introducing a private member's bill.

"The Government is being negligent," said Ms Clwyd. "Women say if they had known about the side-effects, if the Government had publicised this, they would not have had surgery. We are lagging behind the US in recognising the adverse health consequences of implants. They have found the early warnings. If other countries are saying there are health risks, surely we should take action?"

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said that the Government does not intend to ban the implants. "There is no evidence of any association between breast implants and connective tissue disease [one of the main side effects reported by women]," she said. "That conclusion is reviewable, but we are not changing that view."