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Denver Woman Claims Zinc in Poligrip Made Her Ill

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The Denver Post recently reported on the story of a woman involved in a denture cream lawsuit against the maker of Poligrip.  Her experience  is very similar to those reported by other sufferers of denture cream zinc poisoning.

Rae Ann Schmaltz was only in her 40s when she began losing function in her legs.  She underwent numerous medical tests, including spinal taps, but doctors were unable to determine what was causing her neurological problems.  It wasn’t until 2006, when her daughter found an article detailing three similar  cases on the Web site Medscape.  All three of the patients detailed in the article wore dentures and used adhesives that contained high levels of zinc.

After learning of the article from her daughter, Schmaltz checked the package of Poligrip she was using,  but could find no health warnings, or even a list of ingredients.  According to the Denver Post, Schmaltz and her daughter next placed a call to the GlaxoSmithKline division that makes Poligrip, and asked for an ingredients list.  But they were told that the list was proprietary.

Schmaltz filed her denture cream lawsuit in January 2008. Hers is one of dozens facing the makers of Poligrip and Fixodent.

Most denture creams, including Poligrip and Fixodent, contain zinc as a bonding agent.  A small amount of zinc is necessary for a balanced diet. However, exposure to too much zinc can lead to copper depletion. Copper deficiency can lead to symptoms like weakness and numbness in arms and legs; difficulty walking and loss of balance; and even cognitive or memory impairment.

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).

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