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A lawsuit filed yesterday in a California court maintains that some fish oil capsules sold as health supplements for their Omega-3 fatty acids content have illegally undisclosed and unnecessarily high levels of contamination with polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) compounds.

The lawsuit names eight makers and sellers of fish oil, shark oil, fish liver oil and shark liver oil supplements that have PCB contamination above the so-called “safe harbor” limits set for human PCB consumption under California’s Proposition 65, which requires consumers to be warned about such exposures. One of the plaintiffs is the Mateel Justice Foundation, which has been aggressive in trying to enforce the tenets of Prop. 65.

“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,” said David Roe, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs. “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 defendants include retailers CVS, General Nutrition Corp. (GNC), and Rite Aid.
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