Wasylycia-Leis Introduces Bill Calling for Breast Implant Registry

Tuesday, July 27 2010

OTTAWA - New Democrat MP Judy Wasylycia-Leis held a news conference on Monday, March 26, 2004 at 1:00 p.m. in 130-S, Centre Block, to highlight features of her Private Member's Bill to establish a national breast implant registry. The bill is to be introduced on March 29.

Ms. Wasylycia-Leis was joined at the news conference by prominent Canadian women's health advocates Madeline Boscoe, Executive Director, Canadian Women's Health Network, and Ann Rochon Ford, Coordinator, Women and Health Protection.

"This bill is designed to fill an important void in women's health protection," said Wasylycia-Leis. "Breast implants have been shown to pose a serious health risk, yet we currently have no way of either accurately assessing that risk or coordinating a response, should problems arise."

It is estimated that 100,000 to 200,000 Canadian women have breast implants. In 1992, health problems associated with silicone implants prompted Health Canada to impose a moratorium on their use. Implants using a soybean oil substance necessitated a major recall in Britain in 2000. The British Columbia Centre of Excellence for Women's Health has researched the health issues surrounding implants and has recommended a registry.

"Canada's leading authorities in this field have called for a registry. The Canadian Women's Health Network supports a registry. Yet it doesn't seem to be a government priority," says Wasylycia-Leis. "It took this government 10 years to pass legislation to protect women's health in assisted reproduction. We can't afford to wait that long to act again - women's health is at stake."

Breast implantation is used in cosmetic or reconstructive surgery and is considered elective. It is generally performed in private health clinics outside of the monitoring capacity of the public health system. Many problems associated with implants surface after several years. With no comprehensive record-keeping mechanism, necessary long-term data is unavailable.

"This bill would set up a registry that protects women's privacy, yet enables the research we need to make sound, informed safety decisions. Just as importantly, it means women can be alerted quickly to any health threats that develop. This is a public health issue and a federal government responsibility."

Other forms of registries exist in Britain and the United States with several European nations collecting corresponding information in various ways.

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