Mini-Tox Lesson

By Alan B. Combs

These things seem to write themselves, given the wonderful help that I get.

Today was the last day of my toxicology class and I brought an article from the NY Times on-line about a potential new filler material for breast implants. We have been looking at, excuse me, studying, excuse me, I don’t have a good word, such implants all semester because of the clear sociological and toxicological inferences that can be drawn. We do very strange things to our bodies to escape the slightest implications that we might be ugly. Altogether too frequently, we pay for it with unintended consequences.

Even with the recent immunological scares about silicone implants, any hour spent watching MTV proves that Silicone, not the Road, Rules. Men do similarly dysfunctional things, but that is not the topic of my current tale.

Well, what about that new filler? See here if you think I could ever pull your leg about such serious things. One surgeon is trying keratin, the protein that comes from “hair or fur of animals including any mammal, from finger or toenail material or from hooves, or from the beaks, feet or feathers of birds.”

You can imagine the “Ewwwwwwww!” that went through the class when they hit this part of the article. The possible advantage of keratin, in addition to texture, etc., is that keratin is not highly antigenic. My comment was that according to time-honored rules of marketing, we should come up with a different, more socially acceptable name for this product. (Remember, prunes no longer exist, nowadays, they are dried plums.)

One student, Ms. R. Cantu (I told her I would give her credit), clever and witty creature that she is, said that we should call the end product cariboobs. It was more than a little difficult to get back on track after that.

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