I always figured that if someone said, "Hey, I'm an unlicensed practitioner who wants to inject silicone into your ass," most people would know to run far away. Sadly, that's not the case. In an alternately depressing and stupefying story, the New York Times reports on a disturbing trend. Women, many of them Latina and transgender, are going to underground "pumping parties." There, they're injected with black-market silicone to create larger breasts, bottoms, and thighs.

While side effects are rare — or perhaps just underreported, as the procedure is illegal — the risks are great:

. . . Fiordaliza Pichardo just wanted to look beautiful, so a few years ago, she began getting silicone injections from a woman she met through a friend in order to plump up her thighs and derriere. She never expected to pay such a high price for her looks. In March, a day after receiving an injection, Ms. Pichardo, 43, died of what the medical examiner later determined was a silicone embolism in her lungs.

Because silicone can move through the bloodstream, it has the potential to cause this kind of fatal clot in the lungs. Unfortunately, because the plumping effect is relatively cheap and quick, experts think the procedure is unlikely to go away anytime soon. The FDA is planning to issue a warning about the dangers of silicone injection, but something tells me that won't be enough to keep some women from taking risks to feel more beautiful.