Dow Corning Emerges From Almost Decade-Long Bankruptcy

By Agence France-Presse Dow Corning Corp. emerged from bankruptcy June 1, nine years after seeking court protection from its creditors in the face of an onslaught of litigation related to its silicon gel breast implants. The move paves the way for the Michigan-based company to begin making payments to thousands of women who filed claims alleging that the implants led to debilitating health problems. Gary Anderson, chairman of Dow Corning, which is jointly owned by the Dow Chemical Co. and Corning Inc., said the company was "pleased" with the settlement, which is part of a wider reorganization plan. "Although breast implants never represented more than 1% of our business, our company is often identified with them," he said. "We are confident that the science shows a clear picture today . . . that breast implants are not associated with disease. "Nevertheless, we are pleased to be able to put this issue behind us." The company manufactured silicon breast implants between 1962 and 1992 when it halted production in the face of a public outcry over allegations that women with ruptured implants went on to develop a host of auto-immune diseases. Dow Corning made the multi-billion dollar settlement without any admission of liability. It does not plan to resume production of the controversial implants, but will focus instead on manufacturing the silicon ingredients that are used in textiles, fabrics, electronics and construction materials. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2004

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