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Breast implant trial begins in France; 5,200 women declared plaintiffs

April 17, 2013 at 11:31 AM

MARSEILLE, France, April 17 (UPI) -- The trial of five executives of the PIP breast implant company began in Marseille, France, Wednesday, with 300 plaintiffs in the courtroom, observers said.

More than 5,200 women were declared plaintiffs in the case in which the defendants are accused of substituting inexpensive industrial- and agricultural-grade silicone in breast implants for a decade and concealing evidence from inspectors, Radio France Internationale reported.

PIP was the world's third-largest breast implant supplier and sold 300,000 in 65 countries.

About 4,000 French women reported their implants ruptured. RFI said about half of the 30,000 women with the implants had to have them removed.

Some plaintiff lawyers were expected to ask that the case be expanded include others they said should also be held responsible, including plastic surgeons, public health officials and a German safety-standards firm that green-lighted the implants, RFI said.

Health officials in several countries have said the implants aren't toxic and don't increase the risk of breast cancer.

In France, officials began a 10-year case study to determine the implants' long-term effects.

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