Recently, Proctor & Gamble, manufacturer of popular Fixodent denture adhesives, added a warning to their website alerting consumers of the dangers associated with the zinc in its products. While the potential for zinc poisoning via one's denture cream has been making news lately, Proctor & Gamble has so far refused to take any action to secure the safety of its consumers. This new warning is at least a step in the right direction.
In 2008, a study was published in Neurology, linking the use of denture adhesive creams that contain zinc and a serious neurological disorder known as neuropathy. This debilitating condition can lead to the permanent loss of feeling in the hands and feet - potentially leading to paralysis, like in the tragic case of Rodney Urbanek.
Facing increased media scrutiny, and a number of lawsuits, GlaxoSmithKline, maker of popular Poligrip denture cream, announced last month that it would reformulate all of its adhesive products, no longer marketing adhesives containing zinc. While stopping short of a recall - which the company did in Japan two weeks later - this announcement was the first serious acknowledgment by a major manufacturer that these denture creams pose a serious health risk.
Unfortunately, Proctor & Gamble refused to follow the example set by Glaxo. Arguing that because its Fixodent products contained significantly less zinc that Glaxo's Poligrip products, Proctor & Gamble has so far not failed to add even a simple warning to its packaging, let alone remove its zinc-containing creams from the market.
Despite the pharmaceutical giant's assertions that its products are safe, the case of Lillian Steele from Toledo, Ohio proves otherwise. Lillian used Fixodent products for years, unaware that her adhesive even contained zinc, let alone that it could harm her. But after loyally using the Proctor & Gamble product daily, the 51-year-old lost feeling in her legs and now fears that she will soon be relegated to a wheelchair. You can learn more about the victims of these products at DentureCreamJustice.com.
It is the responsibility of those companies that manufacture the products we use to ensure that they are safe. But all too often, we discover that manufacturers put the safety of their consumers behind the relentless pursuit of profit. Proctor & Gamble's online warning is too little, too late. The company should follow GlaxoSmithKline's lead and remove zinc from all of its denture adhesive products. Until it does, denture wearers everywhere are still at risk.
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