Fixodent is having trouble convincing some customers that its denture cream allows them to “Enjoy Life Without Worrying About Dentures.” There are a growing number of lawsuits alleging zinc poisoning and neurological injuries linked to Fixodent denture adhesive cream. Procter & Gamble insists that there is no connection between its product and these injuries. With more than 35 million Americans using denture creams, the potential level of liability is considerable. This does not include the variety of zinc-based products in other areas.
Plaintiffs like Marianne Chapman, 31, are unsure exactly how the injuries occur but they are confident as to the cause. Chapman has lost feeling in her hands — a condition that began 11 years ago.
Doctors believe that the high concentration of zinc in denture cream products is the culprit, here.
One interesting element is the disconnect between the rate of usage referenced on the box and actual usage by patients. Lawyers say that the company refers to weeks of use while many patients go through an entire tube in days — particularly if the have ill-fitting dentures. That results in greater concentration of zinc in the blood stream.
The two most obvious claims would be a warning defect (due to the higher rate of usage) and design defect in the use of zinc. However, the science is not quite there yet to show the linkage conclusively. Recent studies have found zinc concentrations can produce such injuries. These case may also raise interesting “foreseeable misuse” elements if the company argues that patients may be over-using the cream. The company is expected to anticipate the actual — not just the recommended — amount of cream used by customers.
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