Zinc Poisoning - Consumer Justice Foundation

Zinc Poisoning

Written by Andrew Sarski on March 3, 2011
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Zinc Poisoning Described

Zinc poisoning, also known as hyperzincemia, is caused by excessive exposure to zinc, a mineral which is naturally contained in some foods, is intentionally added to some foods, and is also often taken as a dietary supplement. Although the symptoms associated with zinc poisoning typically vary on a case by case basis, exposure to large amounts of zinc commonly cause unexplained pain and weakness, paralysis, loss of sensation, numbness, lack of coordination, and other nerve-related symptoms. Other, less specific, symptoms of zinc poisoning may include:

  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Shock
  • Joint pain
  • Metallic taste in mouth
  • Burning sensations
  • Breathlessness
  • Urine retention
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach cramps

The most significant danger of zinc poisoning is believed to be the fact that it may inhibit the body’s ability to absorb copper, leading to a copper deficiency called hypocupremia, which may result in debilitating neurological disorders like neuropathy. According to the National Academy of Sciences, the largest tolerable intake of zinc is 40 mg per day. Unfortunately, some people may be exposed to levels of zinc which surpass this level, resulting in devastating consequences.

Zinc Poisoning Complications

Excessive levels of zinc in the body may cause the body to purge itself of copper, leading to a copper deficiency, which may result in severe neurological disorders like neuropathy. Unfortunately, many instances of zinc poisoning are misdiagnosed, which may result in continued use of the potentially toxic product. If left untreated, zinc poisoning may lead to severe physical disability and, in some cases, death. Even if the cause of the zinc poisoning is pinpointed and use of the defective product is discontinued, zinc and copper levels may return to normal, but some people may continue to suffer from potentially permanent nerve-related conditions.

Zinc Poisoning Treatment

Individuals who believe they may be suffering from zinc poisoning should seek medical attention immediately. In the meantime, large amounts of fluids, particularly water or milk, should be consumed in order to prevent damage to the kidneys. One of the most important aspects of zinc poisoning treatment is determining the cause of the condition, so that use of the product can be discontinued. Depending on the severity of the condition, victims of zinc poisoning may be subjected to a number of treatment methods, including ingesting a medical antidote to reverse the effect of the poison and, in severe cases, a gastric lavage may be performed, in which a tube is inserted through the mouth or nose and into the stomach in order to wash out the poison.

Zinc Poisoning Injury Legal Help

Individuals who suffer from zinc poisoning may struggle with a number of major complications, some of which may cause permanent damage and even fatality. Victims of zinc poisoning are not at fault and may be entitled to reimbursement for their injuries, the medical expenses associated with zinc poisoning treatment and care, and the pain and suffering incurred by zinc poisoning victims and their families. If you or a loved one has suffered from zinc poisoning and you believe a defective product like certain denture adhesives to be the cause, contact a defective product attorney as soon as possible. With the expertise of a qualified defective product lawyer, victims of zinc poisoning may be able to collect the compensation they deserve.

Posted Under: Product Injury
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