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Do Implants Taint Breast Milk?

Fourteen year-old Catherine Brent has trouble walking. She suffers from a neurological disorder that requires her to sometimes wear leg braces.

"I can't do a lot of things my friends do and they get kind of angry at that and a lot of people ask me about it," she says.

She also has an intestinal disease and esophageal disorder. Her 13-year old sister Christine suffers from the exact same problems. Their mother believes the implants she had while breast-feeding her daughters caused them to develop health problems, reports April Nelson of CBS affiliate WGNX-TV in Atlanta.

"The black is the fungus that grew inside the implant in my body. It's called aspirgilus niger. It does not belong in the human body," says their mother, P.J. Brent.

The implants she had were made of both silicone and saline. She got them in 1982 before problems with silicone implants were widely reported. Ten years later, she had them removed.

"I don't understand why doctors don't inform their patients of this. I would have never chosen to breast-feed my child knowing the condition the implant was in," she says.

Brent was offered a settlement from the maker of her implants after taking out a lawsuit against them. She refused their offer because it would have meant signing a gag order. Although there is little scientific evidence to support her claims, she says it's important to get the word out to other mother's whose children may suffer similar problems.

"My question is, 'How many children are affected? Why aren't the doctors paying more attention and why isn't the FDA doing something about this?" she says.

Dr. Edward Goldstein says it's because there has been little research on the health risks of implants and breast feeding.

"Right now it's not clear if there's a casual relationship betweeen the presence of silicone and human disease in the form of breast implants or other silicone devices and I think it's something that requires more study," he says.

In the meantime, Brent is leading the fight to get the government, implant makers and women to listen.

Saline implants are the only kind currently allowed for cosmetic purposes. Although the shell is made of silicon, doctors say these implants are much safer.

But, Brent says she has heard from women who have breast-fed their babies with saline implants and they also have found problems.