The founder of a company that sold thousands of breast implants made with an unapproved, industrial-grade silicon was arrested in France this morning, amid investigations for fraud and possibly manslaughter. Jean-Claude Mas, the 72-year-old former head of Poly Implant Prothese (PIP), was taken into custody before dawn at his home in the south of France.
PIP was shut down by authorities in March of 2010 following claims that it used an unsafe form of silicon that makes its breast implants more likely to rupture and leak, causing potential health problems for women all across Europe who have had them inserted. France and Germany have recalled the implants, recommending that the more than 30,000 women believed to have received the PIP implants have them removed. The British health service says "there is no urgent need" to get them removed, but has cautioned the more than 40,000 UK women who have PIP implants to monitor their health carefully.
In addition to fraud and deceptive business charges filed against Mas and other PIP executives, a separate investigation has been opened into possible "involuntary homicide" charges after a French woman who had their implants died of cancer. However, the silicon gel used has not been linked to cancer so any connection between the implants and her death has not yet been proven. More than 2,700 women have also filed civil complaints against Mas and PIP in France.