Weak Rules on Toxins and Safety
New York Times
For 14 years until just last month, GlaxoSmithKline sold a denture cream called Super Poligrip that contained high levels of zinc. The zinc helped with adhesion and was probably safe so long as people used moderate amounts of cream. Indeed, the human body needs small amounts of zinc to function. But some people ended up using much larger amounts, and they began to develop the kind of nerve damage associated with excess zinc. Johnny Howell of Winston-Salem, N.C., who was using a tube of Poligrip a week, had to quit his job as a car mechanic and now needs a walker to get around his house. He is 53 years old ...Mr. Howell, the former mechanic, who is suing GlaxoSmithKline, said he was careful to apply the cream how the instructions showed. He was less careful, however, about dosage. One of his lawyers, Stephen McCarthy, told me the packaging did not previously contain specific instructions about how much to apply.
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