[to top of second column]
Both Glaxo and P&G market zinc-free alternatives to their products.
Federal health experts recommend 8 milligrams of zinc per day for women and 11 milligrams for men. The right amount of zinc helps the body fight off illnesses and also promotes cell growth.
Attorney Ed Blizzard, who represents several dozen plaintiffs, said Poligrip contains 38 milligrams of zinc per ounce.
Although one tube is meant to last 8 to 10 weeks, Blizzard says some of his patients were using a tube of Poligrip a week, giving them about 45 times the recommended dose of zinc.
Blizzard is encouraged by Glaxo's decision to phase out the product, but he says it's no indication the company plans to settle the lawsuits.
Denture creams containing zinc were first approved by the FDA more than 15 years ago, and the agency has never issued a safety warning on the products, according to industry group Consumer Healthcare Products Association.
Zinc is believed to help with adhesion. But in 2008 researchers at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas described a possible link between denture cream zinc and nerve damage.
The researchers noted that excessive zinc can purge the body of copper, a chemical needed for normal brain and nervous system function.
A copper deficiency can cause anemia, as well as weakness and numbness in arms and legs; difficulty walking and loss of balance; and eventually permanent paralysis.
"Our typical Super Poligrip and Fixodent client uses a wheelchair, walker or cane for mobility and many of them have hands so spastic that they resemble claws," said Eric Chaffin, a partner with Chaffin Luhana, which represents several dozen patients.
Glaxo and P&G only began disclosing the zinc in their products after the University of Texas' findings were published in a medical journal.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
< Recent articles
Back to top
News | Sports | Business | Rural Review | Teaching & Learning | Home and Family | Tourism | Obituaries
Law & Courts |
Spiritual Life |
Health & Fitness |
Calendar | Letters to the Editor