Blakeslee, Sandra. "Dow Found Silicone Danger In 1975 Study, Lawyers Say," New York
Times, 7 April 1994, p. A18.
Here is another case of "proprietary science," that is, science performed in in-house laboratories
by employee-scientists, who are not free to report results which go contrary to the explicit goals
of the company. A recent case was that of Philip Morris: researchers "discovered" that nicotine
was addictive but, since that finding ran contrary to the publicity of the corporation, the research
was shelved rather than published. Here is another example: Dow Chemical discovered that the
silicone implants they were selling implants that could be dangerous to the immune system of
implant users. The study discovered this in 1975 and it could have prevented the marketing of
The harmful substance is identified as D4 and it is present in the gel used in breast implants.
However, lawyers familiar with the finding suggest that it is in such minute quantity that the user
is not in danger. Representatives of the company testified in 1991 that they were not aware of the
Kessler of the FDA reports that he knew nothing of the study.
The early, 1970s studies of silicone were done for the company in an effort to see if silicone had
a useful application to immune systems. The research group which did the original immune
studies were not aware of the other researchers doing work on using silicone for implants.
It does appear that Dow Company was trying to hide the findings.