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MDCH Warns of Illegal Cosmetic Silicone Injections

Armen Hareyan's picture

The Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), in conjunction with the Detroit Poison Control Center, is urging people to become educated on the immediate and long-term life threatening risks of liquid silicone injections, a practice known as "pumping".

The illegal injections contain industrial grade silicone (like bathtub caulking), which is sometimes mixed with other materials such as paraffin and various oils, and injected directly into the breasts, hips, buttocks and other areas. Castor oil may be used in place of silicone and is considered just as deadly. People who are not trained medical practitioners usually do the injections in non-sterile situations such as in motel rooms or private homes. These individuals travel around the country performing the procedure.

Death from lung failure is an immediate effect that can occur after an injection. Long-term effects can result in autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, severe infections, open sores, and HIV and hepatitis infections from non-sterile needles.

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Although appearance may be enhanced in the short-term, these types of silicone injections can ultimately be disfiguring as the silicone moves around the body, changes shape, and/or hardens. Once injected, silicone is impossible to remove completely. Even partial removal can result in heavy scarring. In contrast, medical-grade silicone that is used by professionals is implanted under the skin in sealed pouches to prevent leaking.

The injections are popular within the transgender community as they are used to fill in areas that may be lacking fatty tissue.

For more information about the dangers of pumping, please visit the Gender Education & Advocacy organization at (www.gender.org), or the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

For those in need of medical care in a transgender-friendly environment, please contact the University of Michigan Health Services, Comprehensive Gender Services Program at 734-763-0466.