A lawsuit filed in California today accuses eight major brands of knowingly selling fish oil supplements laden with PCBs.
Ronda Kaysen: Some Omega-3 dietary supplements made out of fish, shark, fish liver and shark liver oil have illegally undisclosed and unnecessarily high levels of contamination with polychlorinated biphenyl compounds or PCBs, according to lawyers for the plaintiffs. The lawsuit name major supplement brands, including: CVS, GNC, Omega Protein, Nature Made, Rite Aid, Solgar and TwinLab.
"Consumers who want the health benefits of fish oil shouldn't also have to take the health risks of an extremely toxic man-made chemical," David Roe, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said in a statement. "And they don't have to, since preliminary test results show that some fish oil brands have only 1/70th as much PCB contamination in them as others."
The lawsuit calls for the brands to disclose the risk on their packaging.
"The industry knows very well about the PCB problem in fish oils and widely markets its supplements as already treated for PCB contamination," Benson Chiles, a plaintiff in the case, said in a statement. "They have no excuse for what we've been finding."
This news is truly disturbing. Doctors advise us to give our kids fish oil because Omega-3s are beneficial to our health. As consumers, we assume, at least to a certain extent, that the companies selling us these supplements are not intentionally giving us something laden with a known carcinogen. The suit gives me pause about all the supplements lining the supermarket shelves. It makes me wonder what else is lurking in the vitamins I feed my child.
|Ronda Kaysen is a freelance writer. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, BusinessWeek.com, Architectural Record, Huffington Post, The New York Observer, Babble.com and AM New York. She lives in New Jersey with her family. Follow her on Twitter.|