Originally published March 14 2010
What You Do Not Know About Fish Oil Supplements Will Hurt You
by Paul Fassa
(NaturalNews) A group of three plaintiffs very recently filed a suit against eight supplement companies for violating California Proposition 65, which mandates that consumers must be warned on product labels of dangerous toxins beyond established "safe harbor" limits. The plaintiffs intend to prove that the eight supplement manufacturers knowingly passed on PCB contaminated fish oils without Prop 65's required warnings.
The three plaintiffs in the suit, which includes the Mateel Justice Foundation, are sifting through other fish oil products to find more Prop 65 violations of knowingly passing on excessive PCB contaminants in their products.
Currently, the fish oil providers accused of violating Prop 65 with PCB contamination are: CVS Pharmacy, Inc.; General Nutrition Corp. (GNC); Now Health Group, Inc.; Omega Protein, Inc. (which is the largest bulk provider of fish oil to other distributors); Pharmavite LLC (Nature Made brand); Rite Aid Corp.; Solgar, Inc.; and TwinLab Corp.
More Details On The Suit
Since 1986, Proposition 65 has required work places and product manufacturers to openly warn of carcinogens and reproductive toxins that may cause birth defects. PCBs are among those. According to one of the plaintiffs, Chris Manthey, "[W]e found that the industry seems very aware that fish oil supplements can be high in PCBs".
Manthey continued, "That's why many of them say their supplements have been "treated" to remove or reduce PCBs. But since they don't say how much PCB contamination is still left, even consumers who choose "treated" supplements can't know what PCB levels they're swallowing along with their daily omega-3."
Plaintiff attorney David Roe thinks a favorable court ruling in California will have a positive effect nationally, as any company with a national reputation would not want to sell products considered unsafe by California standards.
The problem with enforcing Prop 65 for supplemental PCB contamination has been the expense for testing PCBs - which contain 209 compounds. The cost of testing is $1000 per item! However, they don't all need to be tested since isolating a few that resemble dioxins and matching them to established dioxin toxic load limits is sufficient.
A WHO Fact Sheet Relates Dioxins to PCB Contamination
The biochemistry of how PCBs and dioxins are related is complicated. Many PCB compounds are virtually the same as dioxins in form and toxic activity. And they are considered part of the "dirty dozen" of environmental toxins, which are highly toxic persistent organic pollutants.
When dioxins enter the body, they are stored in fatty tissues with a half life of up to 11 years. This half life represents the first order of chemical activity, meaning these toxins are as nasty as possible for that time.
Environmentally, industrial PCB oil wastes in a given area contribute to the release of dioxins or dioxin type compounds in that location. From there they spread throughout the area food chain, and whatever fish or animal is at the top of that chain will contain the highest concentration of dioxins or PCBs.
The plaintiffs' testing determined that fish oil products tested so far had at least some PCB contamination, with some having as much as 70 times more than others, while the plant based flax and alfalfa omega-3 oils tested for zero PCB contamination!
In addition to PCB toxins in fish oil supplements, you get to play Russian roulette with mercury with anything having to do with fish. The choice should be obvious.
Sources for more information include:
WHO Dioxon/PCB Fact Sheet
Rachel Cernansky, Planet Greeen on AlterNet
About the authorPaul Fassa is dedicated to warning others about the current corruption of food and medicine and guiding others toward a direction for better health with no restrictions on health freedom. You can visit his blog at http://healthmaven.blogspot.com
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