Many years ago, I handled a product liability case against a major pharmaceutical corporation in which our client’s physicians opined that she developed a fatal pre-leukemic condition as a result of her exposure to benzene in her denture adhesive. Through discovery, we learned that the manufacturer and its predecessor corporations knew of the existence of benzene in its product as far back as the 1970’s. Indeed, in the late 1970’s scientists employed by the manufacturer urged the company in writing to "get the benzene out." You can imagine my surprise to learn that in 2009 denture cream manufacturers, such as GlaxoSmithKline PLC (Poligrip) and Procter and Gamble Co (Fixodent), are being sued for the failure to warn consumers that their denture creams contain toxic levels of zinc and have the potential of causing zinc poisoning. Studies show that zinc buildup causes zinc poisoning and neurological problems.
Over 35 million Americans use denture creams or adhesives. Because one’s gums are so permeable, dangerous toxins in denture adhesives are readily absorbed into the blood stream. Lawsuits have been filed in California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. The litigation was referred to the Multi District Litigation panel which held a hearing in Louisville, Kentucky on May 28, 2009.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, the highest amount of zinc that can be safely tolerated is 40 milligrams per day. Recommended daily allowances, according to gender, are 11 milligrams per day for men and 8 milligrams per day for women.
Fixodent and Poligrip contain between 17,000 and 34,000 micrograms per gram. Thus, users of these products may be exposed to approximately 330 milligrams of zinc per day. Sypmtoms of zinc poisoning include dizziness, lethargy, muscle weakness, mysterious pain, loss of sensation, tingling in the hands and/or feet, loss of urinary control, paralysis, anemia, blood marrow syndromes, MS, and other serious conditions.
If you are a denture adhesive user and you suspect that you have symtoms of zinc poisoning, see your doctor immediately, and whatever you do, hold onto your containers of denture adhesive. You may need to have them tested for zinc content. You should also save all proof of purchase of the denture adhesives.