Attorneys representing injured consumers are filing product liability suits alleging that denture cream use causes zinc buildup and neurological problems. A dozen cases in federal courts in California, Colorado, Florida, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee target Poligrip manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline PLC, Fixodent manufacturer Procter & Gamble Co., and the companies’ subsidiaries. The cases are currently awaiting the result of a multidistrict litigation panel hearing that took place in Louisville, Kentucky on May 28.
Florida attorney Scott Weinstein, managing partner of Morgan & Morgan’s consumer class action and mass tort department, filed the motion to consolidate the cases on behalf of clients Ronald and Alice Beaver in the Southern District of Florida. Plaintiff Ronald Beaver’s claims include strict products liability and negligence, and Alice Beaver’s claim includes loss of consortium. Weinstein reports that his firm has begun screening more than 3,000 potential cases and is currently ready to pursue approximately 40. He also adds that while elderly people use denture cream to adhere dentures, younger people also use it for devices like bridges.
Morgan & Morgan is working closely with New York-based Parker Waichman Alonso and The Arnold Law Firm in Sacramento, who collectively have another 75 cases to pursue once the multidistrict litigation forum issue is settled.
Weinstein says that long-term use of dental cream leads to zinc buildup and neurological problems because of competition between zinc and copper to bind to receptors, which causes the body to expel excess copper. Doctors use zinc to treat patients with Wilson’s disease, a genetic disorder that causes copper buildup in the tissues, but had not realized that some problems could be traced to zinc buildup from the use of denture cream. He emphasized that we need to educate consumers to see if they are using a dental cream that contains zinc.
Procter & Gamble issued a statement saying that all Fixodent products undergo rigorous scientific evaluations and safety testing and use generally safe levels of zinc. It estimated that the amount of zinc a person would ingest through daily use of Fixodent is approximately equal to six ounces of beef. P & G also said that zinc is a common ingredient in many over the counter products and is such a vital part of our diet that zinc supplements are commonly sold.