While reports about neurological damage caused by the zinc in denture cream have been at the forefront of legal and health news for months, sometimes overlooked is one of the first Poligrip lawsuits, which resulted from the death of a longtime user.
In May 2008, Rodney Urbanek passed away in a South Carolina nursing facility. The Miami resident, who had used the denture cream Poligrip for more than 14 years, died from copper deficiency resulting from excessive zinc, according to an autopsy report. His widow, Gisela, daughter, Deanne, and attorney, Edward Blizzard, believe that Urbanek’s ingestion of deadly levels of zinc was caused by his use of Poligrip, which prompted them to file a lawsuit against the product’s maker, British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.
The claim states that Urbanek was completely healthy in 2007, but just over a year later he was paralyzed below the waist and unable to lift his arms. Not long after, he died. Attorney Ed Blizzard, in a piece published in The Huffington Post, attributes Urbanke’s death to paralysis of the diaphragm caused by nerve damage from Poligrip.
Months after Urbanek’s death, a study completed by University of Texas researchers identified denture cream zinc as a source of neurological damage, symptoms of which include difficulty walking and balancing, tingling and numbness of the arms and legs, and paralysis. Although zinc is a required mineral in small amounts, too much of it can cause copper depletion and in turn, nerve damage. Since the publication of the UT study in the journal Neurology, a large number of lawsuits have been filed against GSK and Procter & Gamble, maker of Fixodent. The cases allege that the absence of product labeling and warnings led to users consuming unsafe levels of zinc, which caused their neurological injuries.
In a released statement, Ed Blizzard said that, “Rodney’s case is a troubling example of what can happen when manufacturers fail to warn consumers about the risks associated with their products. The makers of these denture adhesives knew full well that high levels of zinc posed a serious threat to the health of their consumers, but did nothing.”
If Blizzard is correct in his assertion, then plaintiffs in denture cream lawsuits stand to obtain compensation from manufacturers GSK and P&G. The outcome of such cases could gain clarity in June, when a bellwether Fixodent trial is scheduled to commence. When it does, the Rottenstein Law Group will provide news from this important trial, so be sure to check back in for updates.
RLG is also in the process of evaluating potential Fixodent and Poligrip lawsuit. If you or a loved one used one of these products and suffered nerve damage, then you may be entitled to compensation (See: Poligrip lawsuit payouts). For more than 25 years, the lawyers of RLG have helped injured consumers collect the money they deserve.
Have you experienced complications from using Poligrip as your denture cream? Learn more about Poligrip lawsuits and see what you can do.