Members of the TX NOW Silicone Implant Awareness Task Force and silicone issue activists everywhere are pleased to announce that on May 19, 1999, Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA) signed on as co-sponsors of the "Silicone Breast Implant Research and Information Act" (S.1075) when it was re-introduced by Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA).

Now that it has bipartisan leadership, the legislation has a notably increased chance of gaining the support required to move out of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, and finally reaching the Senate floor for debate.

The SBIR&I Acts Focus on Three Principal Points:

1. Encourage the National Institutes of Health to conduct independent and unbiased research.

2. Require more accurate and timely dissemination of information to women who consider silicone breast implants. (All implants have silicone shells no matter what filler is used. Due to the lack of information now available to patients considering implants, this equates to the woman not having totally accurate or adequate "informed consent" prior to surgery.)

3. Create an Interagency Committee that would share information and research compiled from public and private studies.

Activists have been battling to gain attention for the silicone safety issue for many years. Breast implants were "grandfathered" in as class 3 medical devices without having been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

For over 30 years, implants have been placed in women's bodies although the manufacturers have yet to fulfill their legal obligations to prove the safety and efficacy of these devices to the FDA.

A 102nd Congressional House of Representatives Subcommittee report, "The FDA's Regulation of Silicone Breast Implants," found that the Food and Drug Administration had not fulfilled it's responsibility of protecting, or even adequately informing, the consumer regarding these products.

These same issues still remain unresolved in the 106th Congress.

Therefore, silicone issue activists are asking that you join with us to demand that Congress finally take explicit action to investigate the increasing concerns and numbers of incidents being reported to the FDA concerning the safety and efficacy of these medical devices.

New information about the unacceptably high failure rate of silicone breast implants has recently been published. Current published failure rates are much higher than in 1993, when former FDA Commissioner Dr. David Kessler stated that a failure rate of 5% was regarded as "not a safety standard that the FDA can accept", in an article for the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Since that time, a failure master curve from eleven research papers of 1,652 explanted prostheses shows a significant direct correlation of failure rate with implanted time and can be used to predict a failure rate of 50% at 8 years. The FDA's own compilation of the literature assessing risks associated with this non-lifesaving device illustrates the necessity for a ban of these devices until a safer and more effective device is introduced.

Silicone issue activists believe that these non-lifesaving devices pose an unreasonable health risk to the women who use them, and we request that you support a Congressional Investigation and Hearing to protect the health and interests of constituents.

To fulfill our duty of informing NOW members about legislation concerning the silicone issue, the TX NOW Silicone Implant Awareness Task Force is spearheading a nationwide, Internet-based "Constituent Contact Campaign" to encourage NOW members to contact their Congresspersons and request that they co-sign the SBIR&I Acts. We need to stress the importance of the bills having stronger Republican support in order to move out of the committees in which they currently reside. And, this cannot happen without your interest and support.

Therefore, we are asking NOW members to:

Contact their US Senators to ask them to co-sign S.1075.

Contact their US Representatives to ask them to co-sign the House version of the SBIR&I Act, H.R.1323. (This bill is also referred to as the Wilson/Green bill since it was re-introduced into the 106th Congress on March, 25, 1999, by Rep. Gene Green [D-TX] and co-sponsored by Rep. Heather Wilson [R-NM].)

Information for contacting your Congresspersons is available on the "Thomas: Legislative Information on the Internet" and on the National NOW website.

When writing to Democratic Senators, ask them to contact Dana Lewis in Senator Boxer's office at 202-224-3553 for information on co- signing S.1075.

Republican Senators should contact Quin Dodd in Senator Hutchison's office at 202-224-5922 for co-signing information.

When writing to Democratic Representatives, ask them to contact Adam Gluck in Congressman Green's office at 202-225-1688 for information on co-signing H.R.1323. Republican Representatives should contact Jennifer Drazek in Rep. Heather Wilson's office at 202-225-6316 for co-signing information.

If your Member of Congress sits on either the Senate Health, Education, Labor, & Pensions Committee, or, the House Commerce Committee, which, incidentally, has oversight of the FDA, it is very important to ask that she/he sign on to these bills. Lists of the members of these Committees, and the Representatives who have already signed on to H.R.1323, are available on the "Thomas" website.

Please join the TX NOW Silicone Implant Awareness Task Force's "Constituent Contact Campaign" by taking a few minutes to ask your Congresspersons to support these very important bills. Over 500,000 women have already been adversely effected by breast implants. Implants join the other medical experiments on women that have become medical travesties; like D.E.S., Thalidomide, Benedictin, the Dalkon Shield, and super-absorbent tampons. The controversy continues to rage concerning side-effects of the Norplant birth control device another product made with silicone.

Please help support silicone issue activists in their efforts to stop deficiently tested and unsafe products from being marketed to future generations of unsuspecting women. Women have been used as experimental subjects far too long! Use your power as a voter to make a difference NOW!

At this time, the full text of S.1075 has yet to be posted on the "Thomas" website. However, the wording of S.1075 is not expected to differ significantly from the wording of H.R.1323, which is posted on the Thomas site

For more information about the silicone implant issue, contact Jean Craig (Chair, TX NOW SIA TF - Member, National NOW Disability Rights CIC) at 512/837/5254 or e mail to Jean