Fixodent Denture Cream Still Poses Risk of Zinc Poisoning

<"">Fixodent maker Procter & Gamble continues to use zinc in the popular denture cream, despite its serious health risks. That Procter & Gamble would continue to expose Fixodent users to zinc is especially striking when you consider that GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of <"">Super Poligrip denture creams, removed the dangerous ingredient from those products almost a year ago.

Compelling evidence exists that long-term exposure to the zinc in denture cream can lead to nerve damage and disability. In August 2008, the peer reviewed journal “Neurology” reported on four patients suffering from neuropathy and other neurological symptoms typical of zinc poisoning and copper depletion. The article specifically linked excess zinc in denture cream to “profound neurologic disease” in the patients reviewed.

In the fall of 2009, researchers at Vanderbilt University and the University of Michigan published a study in NeuroToxicology that detailed 11 users of zinc-containing denture creams who had suffered from significant injuries and neurological disorders for a period of years. After the 11 patients stopped using denture creams, their zinc and copper levels normalized. This led the study authors to conclude that: “Inappropriate use of denture cream appears to be the sole source of excessive zinc in these patients.”

In February 2010, after some Super Poligrip users had filed lawsuits alleging zinc poisoning, GlaxoSmithKline announced it would stop the manufacture, distribution and advertising of three Super Poligrip products that contained zinc. In a statement posted on its website, Glaxo said it was reformulating the Super Poligrip products as a precautionary measure to minimize any potential risks to consumers.

A month later, and without much fanfare, Procter & Gamble began cautioning consumers about zinc in Fixodent denture creams on it website, The new information stated that some reports suggest that excessive and prolonged zinc intake may be linked to adverse health effects. At the same time, Procter & Gamble also began shipping Fixodent with updated label instructions on how to apply the product.

At least one law firm representing plaintiffs in denture cream poisoning lawsuits said at the time that Procter & Gamble didn’t go far enough. In a statement, New York-based <"">Parker Waichman Alonso LLP said that the lack of a clear warning combined with ambiguous instructions for use only serve to enhance the danger faced by consumers.

“While any new caution regarding Fixodent is a step in the right direction, it does not go nearly far enough,” said Andres Alonso, a partner of Parker Waichman Alonso. “Procter & Gamble’s attempt to do this quietly will leave too many consumers unaware of the danger that Fixodent could pose to their health. As long as these products continue to be sold, they remain a serious public health threat.”

Unfortunately, Procter & Gamble ignored, and continues to ignore, calls to do more to protect consumers who use Fixodent. Not only are zinc-containing Fixodent products still being sold, but Procter & Gamble has yet to add even a simple warning to its packaging about the health risks of zinc.

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