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Dow Corning Silicone Breast Implant Controversy Essay

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Updated: Nov 21st, 2021

Since their invention in 1960s, breast implants have been tested and controlled by the research institutions and the FDA. Some researchers state that breast implants cause no risk to human body and women’s health as they are safe. Thus, there are some facts that state that implants can cause a painful hardening of the breast, autoimmune disorders-diseases, etc. During recent years, growing evidence of long-term problems with these breast implants appears to raise public awareness about the problem. Rather than questioning whether there might be something risky in such intrusions into the women body, the idea is to replace one type with another. Thus, there are millions of women around the USA who have this type of breast implants (Finkel, 2005).

The primary forces behind the emphasis on breast implants safety are found in the health care research institutes and the public. Producers of breast implants safety are trained to do what is best for women. According to the case study, medical professionals re taught to rely heavily on tests and research studies, most of it expensive and some of it hazardous. This is because those who teach and do tests lead an insular medical career that effectively prevents them from experiencing the realities of medical job in a society. Today, Dow Com­ing embraces the technological imperative. It for this reason objects to any outside researchers to place limits on the practice of breast implants especially when they threaten interests and the interests of the patients. There is also a strong resistance by the medical approach to implants safety to serve as gatekeepers when it is viewed to the loss of individual women even though such a provision is necessary to reducing consumption (Finkel, 2005).

The controversy of Dow Com­ing is that a lot of women file lawsuits against the company because of negative health effects caused by breast implants. “According to the FDA, by 1991 around 600 cases of autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, and lupus erythematosus, had been reported in women with implants” (Case study). Reinforcing this fact is that current state of the medical establishment that caters to these demands for the perfect body and which has a important financial stake in the continued use of these medical interventions. It might be said that the diffusion of new methods of breast implants will have an democratic impact by allowing those women less endowed naturally to become more competitive. Though, in reality, the huge inequalities in resources make it more likely that those women who are already advantaged will have access to breast implants and become more so at the expense of the least well off. “Nevada woman was awarded $1.5 million by jurors in a San Francisco court, who concluded that Dow Corning had committed fraud in marketing its implant as safe; the case was later settled for an undisclosed amount while on appeal, and the court records were sealed” (Case study).

The example shows that breast implants are not safe for all women and can lead to serious health problems. Thus, many companies neglect these risks and threats selling their products for diverse target audience of women. This way of thinking is natural. Though many of the applications of breast implants do not address health problems, by packaging it as health care, researchers in effect have medical zed body appearance. In the case, medical professionals have trivialized the women body and the individuality of individual identity. Biological difference and disparity in appearance gives way to socially defined or perceived beauty and ideal. The selection of model breasts is made through the use of breast implants. Widespread use of breast implants and other body-building procedures promise a technological short-cut to remolding the women body. Instant effects are desired and in many cases delivered by an increasing arsenal of innovative procedures in breast implants (Finkel, 2005).

In sum, the controversy is difficult to solve because there are opposite clinical trials methods and results. It is difficult to prove that breast implants cause a disease or risky for a woman. One dangerous distinction that underlies all potential risks in the human body centers on the motivation behind a particular application. One the one hand, these surgical operations can be directed at ameliorating or overcoming disease, illness, and deficiencies in the body. The changes can be initiated to enhance normal body functions and purpose in the absence of disease or illness. The breast surgery is based on individual preferences which, in turn, often reflect the beauty images put on specific characteristics, for instance physical appearance. Thus, the medical intervention and products should be safe for women and their health (Lerbinger, 2006).

The case suggests that the FDA should take a strict position in this case and prohibits breast implants produced by Dow Com­ing. The statistical data and results of the clinical trials prove that there is a risk caused by breast implants. Even if a hundred of women do not have problems, one woman can die because of this surgery. Often, these applications are provoked by simple vanity, although this always takes place within the broader social and medical context. Furthermore, the line between these two views of intervention is difficult to define. For example, breast implants can be used to correct physical problems or to give a normal woman the features he or she desires. Similarly, although orthodontics can be used to solve health problems, often its use is motivated by the need to change personal image according to cultural norms. These arguments foe breast implants show that this operation is not a life and death dilemma. Despite this uncertainty, a broad array of tests is undertaken without medical indications threats and risks of the surgery. The company will have to pay compensation to those women who suffer from disease caused by the breast surgery. In this situation, health care costs have increased in part because women expect and often demand higher and higher levels of medical support (Finkel, 2005).

The FDA should be responsible for all risks and threats caused by the breast implants as it is role is to protect patients from fraud and unfair behavior of the sellers. Until recently this expanded view of breast surgery has been encouraged by politicians, governments, and other third party payers by stressing on the rights or entitlements of women to health care with few apparent limits. Also, there has been a clear change toward the idea of positive rights to health which place a moral duty on women to provide the resources necessary to exercise those rights. Though this change in itself is not bad, the long-term results in light of increasing breast surgery mean that setting limits becomes increasingly difficult politically once the population takes health risks for granted (Lerbinger, 2006).

The role of government agencies in this case is not limited because the breast implants and their sales threat life of US citizens and even generations of women. The role of government agencies is to put emphasis on the women’s right to medical care reflected in the medical relationship, which has been seen mainly as a private one. There is a supposition that every patient has a right to unlimited expenses on his or her behalf, despite the knowledge that in the collective this is unfeasible. This is unbreakable by belief that doing something is better than doing nothing and the failure to understand that trivial benefits can be too scanty to pursue or too costly to justify. The suggestion that the state agencies expresses limit medical expenditures on an individual in order to benefit the community, though, contradicts the traditional patient-oriented principles of medicine. In addition to supporting the state intervention to medical care, researchers have created mechanisms to effectively insulate women from bearing the costs of expensive medical treatment (Lerbinger, 2006).

In sum, the case of Dow Corning suggests that the DFA and the government agencies should intervene and participate in medical testing and controversial questions. The role of the state is to protect patients from fraud and exploitation of private companies. Arguments in favor of the state intervention, while acceptable at the societal level, tend to be rejected when applied at the private level. Though a large proportion of the state supports some type of cost containment in theory, traditional beliefs in the approach remain strong. It has been suggested that no matter to what extent the FDA facilities are expanded, there will remain a stable pool of new demands. Supplementary facilities are not the answer to the safety and low risks. Instead of resolving the problems, the FDA should increase the demand for medical tests to an ever expanding range of problems. Instead, the public comes to expect a level of medical care not imagined by persons in less affluent countries. Once developed, however, media attention dramatizes medical innovation, and demand increases among both physicians and patients. Even before an innovation passes out of the experimental stage, consumers come to expect that it will become available for their benefit.


Finkel, M. L. (2005). Understanding the Mammography Controversy: Science, Politics, and Breast Cancer Screening. Praeger.

Lerbinger, O., (2006). The Crisis Manager: Facing Risk and Responsibility. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

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