(CBS NEWS) — Millions of people with metal on metal hip replacements may have been exposed to dangerously high levels of toxins that seeped into their bloodstreams, warned the researchers behind a British Medical Journal and BBC Newsnight investigation.

The investigation into the implants found that chromium and cobalt ions from this type of artificial hip can seep into the surrounding tissue to destroy muscle and bone and spread to the lymph nodes, spleen, liver and kidneys, potentially causing damage. The researchers were also concerned the ions could affect a person’s chromosomes, resulting in genetic changes.

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