Recent lawsuits filed against Proctor & Gamble and GSK claim that the zinc contained in the denture adhesive products Fixodent and SuperPoligrip has poisoned dozens of people and ruined their nervous systems irreparably. Chronic, excess zinc intake can result in copper deficiency and profound neurologic disease. Denture cream users, unaware of the zinc content of their product, were using excessive amounts of the adhesive on a daily basis to help with their loose fitting dentures. The affects have been reported as tingling and weakness in the extremeties like the hands, feet, arms, and legs, and have ultimately resulted with some individuals being confined to a wheelchair or unable to walk without the use of a walker.
While the companies still clamour that the products are “safe and effective when used as directed,” this position ignores the reality of their consumers. If the small amount directed is insufficient, denture users are certain to use additional cream to ensure a strong hold. Without a warning that overuse may be dangerous because of zinc poisoning, denture users actually did use Fixodent and then “Forget it.”
The possible connection between the product and zinc was first made five years ago by researchers at the University of Texas, who studied four denture users with neurological disease. (Read the study here.) “[The patients] had high zinc levels that we could measure in the blood,” said Dr. Sharon Nations, author of a study in the journal Neurology. “And all of them reported that they were using very large amounts of denture cream.” The study concluded that denture creams contains zinc, and chronic excessive use may result in hypocupremia and serious neurologic disease.
Publication of this study, however, was delayed for more than two years due to a peer review by Dr. Kenneth Shay, a dentist, who said the study was “little more than speculation.” He said that the authors didn’t understand “the nature of the material they are writing about.” Dr. Shay, conveniently, turned out to be a paid consultant to Procter & Gamble.
In fact, it wasn’t until 2009, after the study was published, that Procter & Gamble added a warning label to its Fixodent packaging, warning that “prolonged zinc intake may be linked to adverse health effects.” Then, GSK announced last June that it would remove zinc as an ingredient to its denture cream, making it clear that the ingredient isn’t even necessary for such adhesives.
If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with zinc poisoning, its important to find legal representation with a history of standing up to pharmaceutical companies. Contact Pogust Braslow & Millrood for a free consultation.