Scientific Panel Clears Breast Implants

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Science  11 Dec 1998:
Vol. 282, Issue 5396, pp. 1963-1965
DOI: 10.1126/science.282.5396.1963

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On 30 November, a scientific panel issued a long-awaited report finding no evidence that silicone breast implants cause systemic diseases in women. The report possibly lays to rest one of the biggest scientific-legal controversies of the decade, involving thousands of lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages. Legal scholars are paying close attention, because the panel is part of a sea change in courtrooms since a 1993 U.S. Supreme Court ruling called on trial judges to scrutinize the validity of scientific evidence themselves before it is presented to a jury. Earlier this week the Supreme Court also heard arguments in a case in which it could offer guidance as to when other kinds of expert testimony should meet scientific standards.

  • * Immunologist Betty Diamond of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, epidemiologist Barbara Hulka of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, toxicologist Nancy Kerkvliet of Oregon State University in Corvallis, and rheumatologist Peter Tugwell of the University of Ottawa.