12/23/2011 03:26 EST | Updated 02/21/2012 05:12 EST

France recommends 'preventive' removal of all PIP breast implants

PARIS - The health minister has called on some 30,000 women with breast implants made by French company Poly Implant Prothese to have them removed "as a preventive measure not of an urgent nature."

In a statement Friday, Xavier Bertrand recommended the removal of all PIP implants — not just ones showing signs of deterioration. The French state says it will foot the bill for the removals.

The statement said that while PIP implants have not been linked to an increased incidence of cancer, the risk that they could rupture and leak a questionable type of silicone gel has been shown.

Tens of thousands of women in France, Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal and other countries in Europe and South America have had implants made by PIP.