Donate your breast implants

Silicone in body works as a sponge for soaking up environmental toxins

Donate your used breast implant

Donate your used breast implant

“In an innovation context, this is true out of the box thinking by our researchers, and analysis of used implants can prove to be of extraordinary value to society,” researches say.

Our bodies are exposed to various types of pollutants on a daily basis and these pollutants can build up and disrupt fetal development as well as increasing risk for breast besides other reproductive cancers.

“We discovered that we can get reliable data on the total body burden of persistent pollutants by analyzing the silicone within the used breast implants,” said study author Ian Allen, a contaminant expert at Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).

For many years researchers have been studying the pollutants found in women's breast tissues and maternal milk as a means of gauging exposures and calculating whether they are high enough to cause risk to the mother or child. Some studies have linked high pollution levels in women's breast with increased cancer risk and development defects in offspring. According to the study, which was published in the September edition of Environmental International, the analysis of used implants could complement other pollutant tests that analyze breast milk, blood or tissue samples.

In the study, researchers took samples of the silicone breast implants donated by 22 Norwegian women to look for pollutants the implants had collected over time.

The idea comes from the use of silicone as a sponge for soaking up environmental toxins in other studies. “Our researchers recently implanted brown trout with silicone, using it as a tool to measure PCB and other chemicals within the living fish,” said study author James Berg, a director of innovation at NIVA. “This in turn sparked the idea for research on used silicone breast implants.”

“In an innovation context, this is true out of the box thinking by our researchers, and analysis of used implants can prove to be of extraordinary value to society,” Berg added.

“This is the all-important first step in defeating the enemy that the pollutants represent to us all,” Allan said.

“Breast implants are often viewed in a negative light. It is exciting to be part of a study where the implants have a positive effect, by making us smarter about environmental pollutants,” said Helge E. Roald, a plastic surgery expert and study author.

Most of us harbor many different kinds of toxic chemicals but researchers have a difficult time obtaining fat samples from living subjects. Silicone, the research shows, also absorbs chemicals that cause cancer and developmental effects. The breast implants offer a glimpse into recent exposures. However, they also make the point that women's breast tissues do in fact accumulate organochlorine and polybrominated chemicals. These are linked with increased breast cancer rates.

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