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Family of Deceased Poligrip User Seeks Denture Cream Lawsuit Settlement

For months now it has been reported that the zinc in products such as Fixodent and Poligrip can cause nerve damage, but less well-known is the death of a man that led to his family seeking a denture cream lawsuit settlement.

Rodney Urbanek, a resident of Miami, died at the age of 64 at a South Carolina nursing facility in 2008. According to his autopsy, the cause of death was copper deficiency resulting from excessive zinc. His daughter, his widow, and their attorney believed the zinc toxicity was caused by the denture cream Poligrip, which Mr. Urbanek had used for 14 years, and subsequently filed a lawsuit against Poligrip maker GlaxoSmithKline.

The claim states that in 2007, Urbanek was completely healthy, but 14 months later he suffered from paralysis below the waist that confined him to a wheelchair and made him unable to lift his arms. He died soon after. According to the attorney representing Urbanek's family, Ed Blizzard, Rodney's paralysis spread to his diaphragm, which caused his death in May 2008. He passes away just months before the publication of a University of Texas study that linked denture cream zinc to neurological damage. When the body absorbs too much zinc, it can purge the body of copper, resulting in nerve damage and symptoms such as weakness, difficulty walking, tingling and numbness of the extremities, and paralysis. And as Mr. Urbanek's case shows, severe cases of zinc overload can even cause death.

Since the UT study was published in the journal Neurology, numerous lawsuits have been filed against GSK and Procter & Gamble, maker of the denture cream Fixodent. The primary accusation faced by the companies is that they failed to provide sufficient warning of the health risks of denture cream.

"Rodney's case is a troubling example of what can happen when manufacturers fail to warn consumers about the risks associated with their products," said Edward Blizzard, the attorney representing Urbank's wife, Gisela, and daughter, Deanne. "The maker 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."

This and other legal questions central to denture cream litigation could be answered as soon as June, when a bellwether Fixodent trial is set to go to trial in the Southern District of Florida. When it does, the Rottenstein Law Group will provide information about the results, so check back in periodically for updates on this and other important news related to denture cream lawsuits.

RLG is also currently evaluating claims by those seeking compensation for their injuries or the death of a loved one through a denture cream lawsuit settlement (See: How much can I expect from a denture cream lawsuit?). If you believe you or a family member suffered neurological damage caused by Fixodent or Poligrip, don't hesitate to contact RLG, a firm with more than 25 years of experience in product liability law.

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