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The Dangers of Pumping
by Andrew Davis

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It's certainly a different type of get-together.

Across the United States—but primarily in the South—people are hosting 'pumping parties,' which offer silicone injections. Although people may think that a party to erase wrinkles or inflate lips may be perfectly harmless, there are several hidden dangers. Additionally, these festivities ensnare members of the GLBT community as male-to-female transsexuals try to add curves and people suffering from AIDS attempt to combat gaunt looks.

These parties have, unfortunately, even resulted in death:

— In Georgia, 23-year-old Andre D. Jeter, a transsexual, suffered convulsions and fell unconscious last December after receiving injections in the hips and buttocks during a pumping party. She died this past January.

— In 2003, transgendered pumper Donnie Hendrix and an accomplice received prison terms after a woman they were injecting with silicone intended for furniture use died of silicone in her lungs.

— In 2003, Guadalupe Camarena was charged with aggravated assault and serious bodily injury after Delfino Gonzales died what was described as an 'agonizing' death.

What exactly goes on at these parties? Basically, as people look at the process taking place, silicone is injected directly into someone's body. This action is in contrast to what a medical professional would do, which is implant the material under the skin in sealed bags. Another difference lies in the fact that (as described in the Hendrix case) the silicone used in these parties is not medical-grade. Worse, it's not sterile and can cause infections. The silicone is often mixed with everything from baby oil to peanut butter.

In addition, getting pumped is not easy on the wallet. One 'treatment' can cost as much as $500—and someone may need many treatments to achieve the look s/he wants. Also, please keep in mind that these parties are illegal. The Food and Drug Administration has banned manufacturers and physicians from marketing or promoting products like liquid silicone.

What else can happen besides that sign of finality, death? Well, silicone can migrate to multiple areas of the body, causing the inflammation of surrounding tissues and the creation of nodules called granulomas. People have gotten silicone into their lungs, resulting in chemical pneumonia. Moreover, there's the chance of suffering a host of other diseases and disorders, including scleroderma, cancer, autoimmune conditions, and even HIV (from dirty needles).

In short, getting pumped may make a person wish for a visit from the Grim Reaper. Just remember: Never have anyone other than a fully certified and qualified doctor perform any medical procedure.

Sources: Associated Press; Ananova; The American Educational Gender Information Services, Inc.

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