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Denture adhesives containing-zinc, like Poligrip and Fixodent, first came under fire last year when they were linked to potential health risks associated with long-term excessive use. Many people have suffered neurological damage, loss of balance and blood injuries from high levels of zinc contained in these products.

The possible link was discovered about five years ago at the University of Texas, when researchers studied four denture users with neurological disease.

“All four users had high zinc levels that could be measured in the blood,” said Dr. Sharon Nations, MD, associate professor of neurology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. “And each of them reported that they had been using large amounts of denture cream.”

In fact, the study noted that one tube of denture cream should last 3 to 10 weeks, but patients were using at least two tubes a week. Zinc, used in excess, can deplete copper and lead to serious neurological problems.

On February 8, ABC World News aired a segment which alleges that while the study was finished in 2006, it was delayed more than two years due to a critical peer review by Dr. Kenneth Shay, DDS. Furthermore, according to ABC, Dr. Shay was a paid consultant to Procter & Gamble, the manufacturers of Fixodent, and he failed to disclose this when he reviewed the study.

P&G declined to address questions about Shay’s work at the firm. “However, we will answer all of these questions as part of the court process where a full record of evidence can be presented.”

More than 30 class action cases claim P&G and GlaxoSmithKline failed to warn consumers that denture adhesives containing zinc can lead to serious health risks.

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