A Shenzhen court will today begin hearing a claim for compensation for the effects of a toxic breast-boosting gel - the first since the product was banned last month. The case - an appeal filed by Shenzhen consumer Zhang Huiqin against an earlier court ruling - could be the first of many against the producers of the hydrophilic polyacrylamide gel, known as PAAG. At least 15 people, most of them from Shenzhen and Hong Kong, met Ms Zhang and her lawyer Pu Zhiqiang yesterday to discuss a possible class action. Ms Zhang lodged the suit against the Shenzhen Fuhua Hospital for irreversible injuries she said were sustained as a result of injections of the gel she received in 2002 as part of forehead augmentation surgery. The gel has since moved around her face and caused her severe pain, she says. The gel is made by Jilin Fuhua, the parent company of the Shenzhen hospital, and has been used in other augmentation procedures such as breast enlargements. A lower court turned down Ms Zhang's case for compensation from the hospital, prompting her to appeal to Shenzhen Intermediate People's Court. 'I hope this time the court hearing will at least be fair, because the first trial was a nightmare for me. The court didn't give me a chance to prove the injuries were caused by PAAG nor did the judge hear or consider evidence from both sides,' she said. Jilin Fuhua successfully sued Ms Zhang for defamation after she complained to the media and the government about the harm she suffered. The State Food and Drug Administration pulled the gel from the market on April 30 and withdrew Jilin Fuhua's production licence. The alarm was raised in mid-April by Hong Kong's Consumer Council, which said the gel was cancerous and could cause women to lose their breasts. The production of PAAG was approved on the mainland in 1997. Mr Pu said the ban made it easier for consumers to pursue legal battles against the manufacturer, the distributor, or the hospitals and beauty salons that conducted the operations.