12/23/2011 03:51 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

France urges removal of breast implants

France's Health Ministry is recommending that tens of thousands of women seek removal of breast implants made of a suspect silicone gel by a firm that exported its product worldwide.

The removal would be a precautionary measure after complaints about abnormal rupture rates, but Junior Health Minister Nora Berra said also said that there is no conclusive evidence of a link between the substandard silicone and cancer.

An estimated 30,000 women in France have had breast implants made by the now-defunct company Poly Implant Prothese SA (PIP), which produced about 100,000 implants a year before its product was ordered off the market in early 2010, Reuters news agency reported.

Health Canada confirmed Wednesday that the PIP breast implants were not distributed in Canada, the CBC's Carolyn Dunn reported.

The implants "have a particular fragility" and appear to pose risks of rupture earlier in their life spans than other implants, Jean-Claude Ghislain of French health agency AFSSAPS, told a news conference Friday.

Earlier this week, French health authorities said they were considering whether to suggest that an estimated 30,000 women in France get their breast implants removed, amid warnings by leading doctors about risks of rupture and possible cancer risks.

The decision could have repercussions outside France, too. Tens of thousands of women in Britain and other countries also have the pre-filled silicone gel implants made by French company Poly Implant Prothese, or PIP.

British health authorities say they see no reason so far to get them systematically removed.

Germany's medical safety officials advised women with PIP implants to consult their doctors for checks, but stopped short of recommending their removal, Reuters reported.