Up to 50,000 British women with defective breast implants have been warned about their safety as the French government prepares to order the products be removed from every woman who has had them fitted.

The implants were made by a French company from substandard, industrial-grade silicone and exported around the world. Eight cancer cases, including one death, have been tentatively linked to them in France and hundreds of other women have reported ruptures in the devices.

The newspaper Libération reported yesterday a decision had been taken, in principle, to have all “PIP” implants that were fitted in France removed. The French health ministry said the call would be made at the end of this week. But in Britain regulators said tests had shown no evidence of a potential for cancer (genotoxicity) or chemical toxicity of the filler material inside the implants and there was no reason for their routine removal.

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