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Topic: polyurethane foam cups

Forum: Not Diagnosed but Worried — Meet others worried about developing breast cancer for the first time.

Posted on: Jan 26, 2010 10:18AM

Pamcakes wrote:

I would like to share with everyone my concern regarding a terrible experience I  recently had with polyurethane foam bra cups. I need  help getting this information into the hands of individuals that can help get this subject out into the public eye and hopefully promote legislation to prevent the sale of these products. We also need to know the connection, if any, between this toxic material and breast cancer!

     I have recently had breast reduction surgery which is where my story starts. I wore the same bra style and brand (Bali) for the last 15 years but with the recent surgery I had to go shopping for new ones. I purchased another style of Bali bras which had polyurethane foam cups although I was not aware of it at the time. I just assumed they were like all of the rest. Still recovering from surgery I never expected that the rash, itching and burning were coming from my bra. I could only keep in on for an hour or so and then resorted to ibuprofen or Tylenol to dull the pain. On a return visit to the plastic surgeon I mentioned the problems and she indicated I was probably one of the 3% who had extreme sensitivity post surgery. She recommended cortisone cream. I continued to only wear the bra when I had to work and would eventually remove it and put on a camisole.. I NEVER MADE THE CONNECTION until I noticed the burning was getting worse as well as the itching. I did notice it was only when I wore the bras so I contributed it to pressure on the healing tissue.

Yesterday, for no known reason, I connected the bra and the itching and pain and looked at the label!  When I read the label and saw the word "polyurethane" foam cups I immediately though of chemicals, plastic, petroleum and everything toxic....I sat down at the computer and googled polyurethane foam cup bras and was amazed when I found article after article of women suffering from the exact same symptoms. I then found the  article on the pending lawsuit.  Although the lawsuit directly names Victoria Secret, I am sure as bras are mass produced and purchased by manufacturers who in turn place their own label on them, there are certainly more brands involved.  My bra certainly could have contained formaldehyde or maybe it is just the polyurethane. One, I am sure, is as toxic as the other.

My bra was manufactured in the Dominican Republic.  I had purchased 3 of them and stopped wearing them immediately. I did in fact wear a sports bra the last couple of days and all of the symptoms have disappeared. I still have dry patches and flaking in the area of the breasts and stomach.

I did pass along this message to the people in my workplace,a local emergency room. Two of fifteen people stepped forward and reported rashes and more severe symptoms of open sores and scaring. They checked their bras and both listed fabric content of polyurethane foam bra cups. They both were under the care of a doctor. They stopped wearing the bras and amazingly they symptoms started to subside and heal.

I am furious and dumbfounded that this could be happening and know there are plenty more people out there.

P.S. I did a little investigation and found several brands of bras with polyurethane foam cups!

Please let me hear from you. Thanks, Pamcakes

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Posts 1 - 12 (12 total)

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Jan 26, 2010 02:44PM leaf wrote:

People can have all sorts of allergies or sensitivities.  I had hives from the elastic in my clothing (including underwear), and this may have been a latex allergy, I don't know.  Some people's allergies can wax and wain. 

Here is a Pubmed abstract on polyurethane allergies. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17...

There are people who have extreme allergies to corn, who have had life threatening reactions to dextrose, a sugar that is one of the standard solutions in IV fluids. Dextrose is usually derived from corn.  www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18...

There are people with anaphylactic reactions to hydrocortisone, which is made by the body.  In this case, it is thought to be excipients in the solution. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12871181

I think its strange how the body recognizes self- from non-self.  If you think about it, unless you happen to be a cannibal or breastfeeding, all of our food is 'foreign' - it comes from a non-human source.  So why shouldn't we be allergic to more things?

I'm not trying to down-play the distress you have gone through.  As I'm sure you know, the best way to avoid allergic reactions is to limit your exposure to the antigen, and that is often difficult.

If you're going through hell, keep going-Winston Churchill

Dx 12/8/2005, LCIS, Stage 0, ER+/PR-Hormonal Therapy 07/15/2006 Tamoxifen
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Jan 26, 2010 03:47PM Alyad wrote:

Thanks for sharing this- I would have thought your docs might have put two and two together sooner! The more people we can tell about this the better!

Dx 12/8/2008, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, ER+, HER2-Dx 3/22/2012, IDC, 1cm, Stage IV, Grade 2, 1/1 nodes, mets, ER+/PR+, HER2-
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Jan 27, 2010 10:39AM Pamcakes wrote:

I would be very interested in doing a test of 20 women to see how many itched and burned when this bra cup was placed against their skin. It would certainly disprove one of our claims.

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Jan 28, 2010 05:29PM poopsiem wrote:

Several years ago, I bought several bras from Nordstroms.  I wore them for quite some time with no problems until about a year ago, a rash suddenly appeared on my right breast.  I thought it might be related to sweat as I work out at the gym quite frequently.  Then the rash found my left breast.  When I removed the bra for a few days, the rash began to subside although it eventually left a pemanent scar.  This began to happen more and more frequently. It took me a while to make a connection between these bras and my rashes.  I checked the label and sure enough, the pads are made if polyurethane.  I thought this was a kind of varnish.  I intend to call Nordstroms and make them aware of the problem.  In the meantime, I can't seem to find any repacement bras as they all seem to have polyurethane padded cups.  I wonder if there are any companies which make padded bras using safer materials.

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Feb 2, 2010 10:08AM sms70 wrote:

I haven't had surgery or any diagnosis.  I just googled to check out if anyone else had any allergic reaction to polyurethane foam cups & found this posting.  I also am experiencing a terribly itchy rash & burning only wear the bras I purchased last summer that contain polyurethane.  I tested it out by not wearing the bras for over 2 weeks & the rash went away after a week & then wore them again & had the rash reappear after a couple days, then stopped wearing them for a couple months & the rash went away after a couple weeks.  I started wearing them again & within 2 days the rash came back. So, it's obviously the chemicals in the foam cups.  I guess it's time to look for some all cotton bras.  Hydrocortisone cream helps a little.  Ice packs seem to calm down the hives also.  It seems to take my body at least a week & sometimes 2 weeks to get the rash to go away. 

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Jan 21, 2014 08:26PM whtblue wrote:

I just purchased 4 bras from Lane Bryants.  I brought them home.  They had a bad possibly chemical smell to them.  I washed them and they still stunk.  I washed them again with no change in odor.  I tried to wear one and I could smell my bra while at work and I felt a mild burn.  I checked the materials and it was polyester and spandex.  I looked up both materials and found polyurethan is involved, a health concern.  Looking up this information lead me to this site.  I have been wearing Lane Bryant bras for many years because I can't seem to find a bra that fits me as well.  I've tried looking in many places.  I have to continue.  I'm afraid to wear these now.  I will return them but I need bras.  I also noticed that they are made in China.  That makes me nervous for many reasons a couple are:  Children's toys were made in china and had lead in them.  Toothpaste was made in China and had lead in it.  These are just a couple of reasons...there are more.  

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Feb 3, 2014 12:28PM sas-schatzi wrote:

I have a new & very unusual problem. I have an allergy to polyurethane IV catheters. I have had six IV's since April last year. Last one was last wed. 5 of 6 looked like they were becoming infected. Cratering , red, and itchy. The 5 took forever to heal. Mentioned this to the nurse that did wed. IV. She mentioned the hospital got new IV units a year ago. At superbowl party there was a friend that I worked with told her my problem b/c surgery is in a few weeks. I told her the only one that didn't get nasty was the one started in the surgical & special procedures area, which she's now a supervisor in.

This area didn't switch to the new IV units. The catheters they use are teflon. They switched back to the teflon b/c too many IV's were blowing in OR & special procedures.

Today or tomorrow I will go back to the nurse who started last weeks IV. She will have to make a report to the FDA as an ADVERSE EVENT for a device. Nurse just called, it's going to get complicated now b/c she wants to bring in Risk Management.

So, off to see if there's any FDA reports. 

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride" SAS

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Feb 3, 2014 04:22PM sas-schatzi wrote:

Hi still haven't caught on up on reading. But now I'm pissed.

I realized that the time was 4:15. The facility where I had the IV closes at 4pm.. I sat here and stewed a bit. Several things happened that shouldn't have. The nurse instead of having me come in for the IV site to be evaluated, chose to call her Risk Manager first. Major boo-boo. Patient safety is first under all circumstances. Her not requesting to have me come in to be seen. Is a breech of safety.

I called and filed a grievance with the insurance medicare HMO/POS. Shit will hit the fan. My HMO/POS does follow through on these things like a  stalking panther.

My regret is I used the gals name that told me about the teflon caths from surgery. Hopefully janis nurse didn't write that down. Even though the OR/Specials nurse did nothing wrong. Hospital hierarchy's make nurses life hell.

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride" SAS

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Feb 5, 2014 08:34AM sas-schatzi wrote:

Well, all this may turn out to be a positive. The proverbial silver lining behind the cloud. Risk Manager is being very cooperative. He has sent out the proper FDA reports. He has contacted Materials Management. They have been charged with the responsibility of creating a list of items that have polyurethane, isocyanates, or coating on the materials. One citation on the internet identified that the IV caths had an antimicrobial coating. They have pulled the docs "procedure pick list" That list contains all the materials that would be used in the surgery for me on 2/28/14. I had already asked that endotracheal tubes, bladder caths, and sutures, drains be evaluated for any common elements as to the IV caths.

In the early days of the recognition of latex allergies, we created "Latex Free "equipment boxes for use with patients. Essentially this is what is going to be created for my surgery. The greater outcome is there will be a policy written for the entire institution. Products will be identified. Any other patient entering the hospital and ancillary areas will have available the similar materials list that is being created for me, but by the time this is completed all products coming into the facility will be categorized as to composition. That categorization will determine if they should be placed on a LIST of items not to be used with patients with this type of allergy.

All in hospital units will have the teflon caths available as an alternate to the polyurethane. Perhaps there will be a change back to the use of the teflon caths for the entire system. This is just a guess, but methinks the teflon caths were more expensive. Very often in hospital evaluation of using new products, price is a consideration. Many elements are considered in the process. Safety is always the first consideration. Then other elements such as ease of use, available manufacturer teaching support, availibility of product etc. If two products appear to match in all areas, price can be the determining factor.

There's no longer smoke coming out of my ears. I see this as a very positive occurrence. Positive b/c I didn't die or have an anaphylactic response. In the early days of Latex problems these events did occur. Had I not understood that what was happening was unusual, and the two nurses making the statements re: the caths that they did, I could have entered surgery on the 28th and gotten into serious trouble. I.E. Tracheal allergic response to a polyurethane tube. Uretheral allergic response to a bladder cath. Either could lead to localized tissue damage or a systemic anaphyllactic response.  Drains/sutures used in surgical area could lead to a serious wound response mimicking infection. These events depending on the occurrence could/ would have gone without recognition of causative reason. 

Now it's known, and I can tell you there are many people working on a plan. Cool.

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride" SAS

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Feb 8, 2014 12:07PM sas-schatzi wrote:

Bump

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride" SAS

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Feb 24, 2014 09:33AM sas-schatzi wrote:

Hi reposting this on some threads, may be old news to some, but to good of info not to pass this on,Sassy

Cam00205Bluebird144…NJJoined: Apr 2013Posts: 393

13 hours agoBluebird144 wrote:

Knitted Knockers Charities is a non-profit that exists to provide free patterns for knitters and crocheters to be able to make knockers and help mastectomy patients get freeKnitted Knockers made by volunteers.

I love my Knitted Knockers! They are light and soft and warm. Unlike my silicone prosthetic which is heavy and cold when first worn, then it later causes me to sweat.

I wear my knitted knockers inside a regular bra or tucked in the pocket of a mastectomy bra. They are beautiful, and a godsend to those of us with an uneven mastectomy scar.

Knitted knockers website:

http://www.knittedknockers.info/

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

Surgery 09/09/2009 Prophylactic Ovary Removal (Both)Chemotherapy 02/06/2013 Adriamycin, Cytoxan, TaxolSurgery 07/19/2013 Mastectomy (Both); Lymph Node Removal: Sentinel Lymph Node Dissection, Axillary Lymph Node Dissection (Left); Reconstruction: DIEP flap (Both)Surgery 08/20/2013 Reconstruction (Right)Surgery 08/28/2013 Mastectomy (Right)Radiation Therapy 10/14/2013 3-D conformal external beam radiationSurgery 01/24/2014 Reconstruction: Tissue expander placement (Right)

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride" SAS

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Apr 5, 2014 03:45PM sas-schatzi wrote:

Never followed up here. My thyroid surgery went fine--it's a cancer OH well. BUT my IV site with a teflon versus polyurethane catheter was healed in less than 36 hours. The polyurethane cath sites took weeks for each one. 

Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out shouting "holy crap....what a ride" SAS