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Denture Cream injuries

More than 35 million Americans don’t have any teeth and 178 million are missing at least one tooth, according to the American College of Prosthodontists. This figure is expected to grow significantly in the next two decades, as the baby boomer population ages.

With these changes, we anticipate an increasing number will seek dentures, or false teeth, in order to retain their confidence and keep smiling. However, there is a potential danger associated with certain denture products. Specifically, the zinc found in denture creams has been found to exceed levels deemed safe, sometimes leading to zinc poisoning, which can result in neurological damage.

At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, LLC, our experienced Boston denture cream injury lawyers know denture cream is a popular product. That does not mean it is a safe one.

Among the reported symptoms of zinc poisoning:

  • Paralysis
  • Loss of sensation
  • Numbness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of balance
  • Trouble walking
  • Unexplained pain or weakness
  • Tingling in hands and feet or feeling of wearing socks or gloves though skin is bare
  • Burning sensation

Litigation is pending against a number of large corporations that mass produce the zinc-filled denture cream products. Among those manufacturers are GlaxoSmithKline, which produces Poligrip and Super Poligrip, as well as Proctor & Gamble, which makes Fixodent.

Although GlaxoSmithKlein representatives indicated they would remove zinc from its denture cream formulas in 2010, Proctor & Gamble has continued to use the mineral, but has added a warning label to inform consumers of the dangers associated with zinc in its products.

It’s unclear whether those warnings will be sufficient from a product liability standpoint to shield these manufacturers from future lawsuits. We encourage those who may have suffered zinc poisoning or a zinc-related injury due to denture cream use to contact our offices to learn more about their legal options.

The Risk of Zinc Poisoning

Denture cream is a type of adhesive that is designed to establish a secure bond between one’s dentures and gums.

Zinc was added to these compounds by manufacturers who sought to reduce strengthen that bond and also to combat odor.

In low levels, zinc is an essential trace element in that tiny amounts of it are critical for human health. Failure to get enough can result in stunted growth, loss of appetite, slow wound healing, depleted immune system function, poor smell and taste sense, vision trouble, hair loss and gastrointestinal problems.

But the key term is “low levels.” When the body gets too much zinc, there are two problems. The first is that it throws of the natural balance of zinc-to-copper in the blood. The second is that a zinc overdose in and of itself may be toxic.

Both of these can lead to severe nerve damage and altered neurological function.

Linking Excess Zinc to Denture Cream

For years, there were a number of mysterious cases of nerve damage that were seemingly unexplained, but which we now know stem from the overuse of popular denture cream products.

Researchers from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center released a study in 2008, published in the journal Neurology, that detailed how chronic, excess zinc intake resulted in copper deficiency (also known as hypocupremia) and “profound neurological disease.”

While the National Institute of Health recommends a dietary allowance of between 8 mg and 11 mg daily for adults, those who use these denture creams may suffer exposure of approximately 330 mg of zinc per day.

Part of this is because while most tubes of denture cream are supposed to last somewhere between 3 and 10 weeks, many people use it at a rate much faster than that – and manufacturers are aware of this fact too. Some people have been known to consume a full tube in a week.

The zinc in the product is swallowed or absorbed through the mouth.

The result for some has reportedly been devastating. Some were confined to wheelchairs. Others have reportedly sustained permanent neurological problems.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration classifies denture cream adhesive products as medical devices, and have classified the products as Class I, or low risk. There is no requirement to list the amount of zinc in products or to include a warning label.

Despite the mountain of evidence to support the connection, proving causation in these cases has been a significant challenge for plaintiffs in denture cream injury lawsuits. Our experienced injury lawyers in Massachusetts are experienced in product liability claims against large corporations, and we have the knowledge and resources necessary to build a solid case designed to secure fair compensation for our clients.

Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.

Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL

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