Denture Cream Lawsuits Highlight Danger of Excess Zinc

The makers of <"">Super Poligrip and <"">Fixodent denture creams have been named in dozens of lawsuits alleging that excessive exposure to zinc in these product caused plaintiffs to suffer severe neurological injuries. According to a recent Los Angeles Times report, products containing zinc should only be used in small amounts because of the health risks associated with exposure to too much of the mineral.

The human body does need zinc – but only in small amounts. The recommended daily intake is 11 milligrams for men and 8 milligrams for women. According to the Los Angeles Times, most people in the U.S. can meet these daily requirements through a normal diet. For example, there can be as much as 15 milligrams of zinc in a cup of some fortified cereals, and the same amount in many multivitamins.

Studies show that consuming at least 50 milligrams of zinc a day for a few months could lead to copper deficiency, which can cause anemia, bone loss, nerve damage and other problems. According to the Times, taking in 80 or 100 milligrams or more for months or even years can lead to irreversible damage.

Most denture creams, including Super Poligrip and Fixodent, contain zinc as a bonding agent. Denture cream lawsuits allege that the manufacturers of these products failed to warn about their risks and failed to provide adequate warnings about the zinc in their products, or adequate instructions to prevent deviation from accepted use. Earlier this year, the many denture cream lawsuits pending in federal courts were consolidated for centralized and coordinated pre-trial proceedings in the Denture Cream Products Liability Litigation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division, before the Honorable Judge Cecilia Altonaga (MDL No. 2051).

Recently, GlaxoSmithKline began including an insert in packages of Super Poligrip informing users that the popular denture cream contains zinc, and warning that using excessive amounts may cause health problems. The insert also cautions users to talk with their doctor if they use zinc supplements. It warns that using excessive amounts of the adhesive over a long-period of time could result in “serious health effects”.

The insert also includes directions for using Super PoliGrip, as well as diagrams and an illustration of the “proper” amount that should be used. The directions tell users that Super PoliGrip should only be used once a day, and that a tube of Super PoliGrip should last several weeks, depending on size. Finally, it reassures users that swallowing small amounts of Super PoliGrip can occur, and is not harmful.

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