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Platinum problems

June 19, 2006 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 84, Issue 25

I was surprised to read an article on the research about platinum from breast implants in Analytical Chemistry (C&EN, April 17, page 11). Although silicone breast implants remain topical, the prominence given to this article seems inappropriate as, by the researchers own admission, higher levels of platinum in women with implants were not demonstrated. For example, when comparing the concentrations of the control group with the implanted population, they note, "Mean Pt concentration in whole blood samples of women exposed to silicone breast implants and that of control subjects did not show a statistically significant difference." The same comment is made about urinary platinum levels.

Many of the claims in the article are unsupported by the authors' data. For example, the authors persist in inferring, without any control experiments, the presence of Pt6+ in the implants and in some biological samples of women with implants. PtF6-one of the few species of Pt6+ known-is a sufficiently strong oxidant that it oxidizes oxygen and xenon and was associated with the first synthesis of derivatives of the noble gas xenon. Such species will not survive in an oxygen atmosphere or an aqueous solution. A more detailed discussion of some of these points is presented in Biomaterials (2006, 27, 3274).

Michael A. Brook
Hamilton, Ontario


May 22, page 34. The instrument pictured should have been identified as a Dionex high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) system, not a gas chromatograph and mass spectrometer.

May 29, page 11. Dow Chemical's R&D spending for 2005 was $1.1 billion.


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