Group Claims Fish Oil Supplements Contain Dangerous PCB Levels - GNC CVS and RiteAid Sued

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(Best Syndication News) The Mateel Environmental Justice Foundation and two individuals are suing makers of fish oil supplements in a San Francisco Superior Court. The group claims they have found PCB compounds and that the manufactures and sellers of the products failed to alert consumers under the California right-to-know law.

Both CVS Caremark Corp and RiteAid pharmacies are named in the case (CGC-10-497334) along with the world’s largest fish-oil maker, Omega Protein. The General Nutrition Centers (GNC), which was also named in the lawsuit, has 6,000 stores in the US (including 1,100 locations within Rite Aid stores).

Many of the fish oil supplements have the mercury taken out, but according to a Canadian study they contained detectable residues of organochlorine pesticides and PCBs. The study involved supplements marketed in Canada.

PCBs are organic compounds that do not degrade easily. They are used as coolants and insulating fluids for transformers and capacitors especially in components of early fluorescent light fixgtures. The chemical has gotten into the ground water in some areas of the United States and throughout the world.

In the 1970s scientists started noticing seabird corpses with very high PCB. They would die out to sea and get washed ashore.

People with high levels of PCB may experience rashes and chloracne. Workers exposed to PCB have been shown to have liver damage. Symptoms include fatigue, headache, cough, and unusual skin sores. In children there may be poor cognitive development.

There may be a cancer link as well. Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) may cause liver and biliary tract cancers. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has concluded that PCBs may or may likely be carcinogenic. Recent research suggests that certain types of PCBs, PCB126 and a binary mixture of PCB126 and PCB153, can cause cancer.

Some in the industry say that fish oil supplements are safer than eating fish.

CVS said in a statement that they do not comment on pending litigation.

GNC said in a statement:

While we have not had an opportunity to review the filing, GNC is confident that its cod liver oil product, as well as all other GNC fish oil products, are safe and appropriate for use by all consumers.

GNC's cod liver oil product meets all relevant regulatory standards for ingredient safety, including California's Proposition 65.

Pharmative, Manufacturer of Nature Made said in a statement:

Pharmavite LLC, manufacturer of Nature Made® dietary supplements, takes seriously its obligation to meet regulatory requirements and consumer expectations for safe and effective products. Specifically, the company's fish oil products comply with all Federal laws prescribed by the United States Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"), and individual State laws including California Proposition 65, as well as European Commission standards. In addition, they meet and exceed the most exacting standards known to the supplement industry.

By: Jeffrey Workman



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