Jean-Claude Mas, founder of the French breast implant manufacturer Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), was arrested yesterday (January 25), reported The Guardian. Under scrutiny since 2010, when investigators learned that PIP used non-medical-grade silicone in its implants, Mas has admitted to producing homemade silicone and telling employees to hide the gel from inspectors. Mas, along with other PIP managers, will face charges of deceptive business practices and fraud.
Previously considered a good combination of low price and reasonable quality, PIP implants rupture more readily than other brands, raising the risk that women will be exposed to the toxic additives in industrial-grade silicone. Last December, the French Agency for the Safety of Health Products recommended to more than 30,000 French women to have their PIP implants removed. Mas may also face jail time and fines in the separate case of involuntary homicide involving one woman with PIP implants who died of cancer in 2010.
Though medical-grade silicone is not harmful, even approved breast implants carry other health risks, and researchers are currently developing alternatives for breast reconstruction.