Contaminated seas lead to fish-oil health scare

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The Independent Online
The seas are now so contaminated that fish oil supplements aimed at boosting people's health could be becoming dangerous, environmental campaigners warned yesterday.

Friends of the Earth issued the warning after research by government scientists showed that significant levels of the toxins dioxin and PCBs - which the World Health Organisation has warned can cause cancer - have been found in cod liver oil supplements. Children who took a capsule of cod liver oil each day might be exceeding the Government's recommended safe maximum dioxin intake, which could increase the risk of them suffering hormonal development problems and a variety of cancers in later life, the environmental group said. Adults were not so much at risk, although taking cod liver oil could push their exposure of the toxins to the limit, and pregnant women who took the supplement could damage their foetus.

Dr Michael Warhurst, spokesman for Friends of the Earth, called on the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food to disclose the results of the survey of cod liver oil capsules, saying: "The toxins are now reaching dangerous levels in certain brands of the oil." None of the manufacturers of cod liver oil capsules was available yesterday for comment.