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Here's a retrospective study supporting my theory that zinc doesn't damage your sense of smell unless you snort the gel back into the olfactory-receptor-laden part of your nasal mucosa. I plan to keep using it, if needed, to head off a cold. I have several tubes. The NY Times reported that you can return it to the manufacturer for a refund. I'll be interested to see if any of the anosmic people will attempt to sue the company. If they had followed the instructions they would not have had trouble, but can you hold the customer accountable for reading the instructions? There was no warning on the package about this particular hazard.

All patients diagnosed with zinc-induced anosmia or hyposmia reported sniffing deeply when applying the gel. This was followed by an immediate sensation of burning lasting minutes to hours. Loss of sense of smell was then perceived within 48 hours.


http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16467707

Intranasal zinc and anosmia: the zinc-induced anosmia syndrome. Alexander TH, Davidson TM.
Department of Surgery, Head and Neck Surgery and Continuing Medical Education, University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, VA San Diego Healthcare System, San Diego, CA 92103, USA.

OBJECTIVE: Commercial preparations of intranasal zinc gluconate gel are marketed as a remedy for the common cold. However, intranasal zinc has been reported as a cause of anosmia in humans and animals. Seventeen patients presenting with anosmia after the use of intranasal zinc gluconate are described. METHODS: The authors conducted a retrospective case series of patients presenting to a nasal dysfunction clinic and conducted complete history and physical examination on all patients, including nasal endoscopy. All patients underwent detailed odor threshold and identification testing. RESULTS: Threshold and identification testing revealed impaired olfaction in all patients. Inflammatory and traumatic causes of anosmia were excluded based on history, physical examination, and imaging. All patients diagnosed with zinc-induced anosmia or hyposmia reported sniffing deeply when applying the gel. This was followed by an immediate sensation of burning lasting minutes to hours. Loss of sense of smell was then perceived within 48 hours. Seven of 17 patients never developed symptoms of an upper respiratory infection. CONCLUSIONS: The zinc-induced anosmia syndrome, characterized by squirt, sniff, burn, and anosmia, occurs after the exposure of olfactory epithelium to zinc cation. It can be distinguished from postviral anosmia based on history.

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