A Quick Tour by John Palfreman, Producer

Listen to the tour (RealAudio)

Here are some people and places to visit on this website, highlighting this tangled story of good science/bad science... an embattled legal system... and hundreds of thousands of anxious, worried women.

What happened to make the breast implant controversy the largest legal action in history?

NEWSLETTERS of women's support groups are worth a read to understand the continuing fears and activism of many who had silicone gel-filled implants between 1962 and 1992 (roughly one million women).

You might also want a briefing on the AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES many women believe they contracted from implants.

And don't stop here-- the CLOSING ARGUMENTS in Gladys Laas' 1994 trial are significant and show the challenges of being a juror in a trial like this.

While Laas' lawyers and doctors marshalled evidence that she was poisoned by a new silicone-related disease, (read some doctors' PUBLISHED WRITINGS on this) Dow Corning's lawyer argued the lack of any sound scientific findings to support a link between implants and systemic disease.

The jury awarded Laas $5.2 million.

Why has science become suspect for these women and for the juries who sided with them?

This may be the most remarkable feature of this story-- the willingness of plaintiffs, lawyers and juries to dismiss serious SCIENTIFIC STUDIES (read the abstracts) as "flawed" and "bought by Dow Corning."

In her BOOK "Science on Trial: The Clash of Medical Evidence and the Law in the Breast Implant Case," Marcia Angell, M.D. argues that this not only shows a high level of cynicism with American institutions, it also presents real problems. If science is no longer trusted as the way of getting answers to important questions, then courts and the media may forge public policy unconstrained by empirical evidence.

For a completely different view on this, check out "Beware: P.R. Implants in News Coverage" in EXTRA!, the magazine of FAIR.

Finally, two more links worth exploring:

SILICONE - it's at the heart of this controversy. But what exactly is it?

And, the legal system - it's been stunned by the upsurge in mass injury lawsuits. Legal READINGS takes you into this issue and the debate over how juries and judges should evaluate a scientist's credibility.

"Breast Implants on Trial"
Producer--Jon Palfreman
Co-Producer--Michelle Nicholasen
Associate Producer--Kathy Boisvert
Editor--Alexandra Anthony

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