French implant company 'used same silicone in male chest and testicle implants'
Published 05/01/2012 | 10:40
FAULTY French surgical implants that have put hundreds of thousands of women at risk were also supplied to men, it was revealed in France today.
France's PIP company made male chest and testicle implants filled with the same contaminated silicone gel, French daily Le Parisien said.
The male prosthetic implants were "exported overseas" but it was not known how many men around the world had been supplied with the cosmetic enhancements, the paper reported.
The revelations come after a global scare over PIP breast implants erupted last month.
An estimated 400,000 woman around the world have PIP implants containing industrial fuel additives never clinically tested on humans.
The authorities in France are urging women there to get PIP implants removed after a spate of ruptures.
Now Le Parisien newspaper has told readers: "Following an investigation, it has emerged that PIP also sold chest and testicle implants for men.
"Ex-employees of the firm Poly Implants Prothese are thought to have made these male implants from the same silicone gel used in female breast implants.
"No information is available on how many were made, but we understand they were all sold for export abroad."
It has also emerged that thousands more women may be at risk from substandard silicone breast implants produced by PIP but sold under a different name.
France this week ordered a full investigation into the global health scare, with French health minister Xavier Bertrand declaring: "All the elements now suggest that the gel used was truly contaminated.
"How was this not detected by checks? I want to know everything.
"I have asked for investigations at the Directorate General of Health to know what happened, and how these checks were done."
Mr Bertrand added that he would be contacting health ministers in Britain and around Europe in the coming days to discuss the scandal.
South of France-based PIP was shut down and its products banned in 2010 after it emerged their implants contained the chemicals Baysilone, Silopren and Rhodorsil.
The chemicals are normally used as a fuel additive or in the manufacture of industrial rubber tubing,
Former PIP boss Jean-Claude Mas is in hiding after the full scale of the worldwide scandal erupted in December, when the French government urged 30,000 women to have their implants removed.
France said it would pay up to £50 million for the removal surgery and sue PIP for damages.
Paris officials also said that 16 cases of breast cancer had been detected in French women with the implants – though they stressed there was still no proven link with the disease.
Mr Mas, 72, is currently wanted in two separate French police investigations for manslaughter and fraud.
Le Parisien added: "No one knows where he is, but sources tell us that it is unlikely he is still in France."
Mr Mas admitted through his lawyer Yves Haddad last week that his company sold implants made from industrial-grade silicone that had not been approved by health authorities.
But he denied the prostheses were of any danger to the women who used them.
In Britain, Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has ordered an urgent review of the possible dangers faced by 40,000 women who have PIP implants.
He has insisted there is "little evidence" of abnormal risks from the implants and urged women not to worry.