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Keywords:

  • fish oil supplements;
  • polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins;
  • polybrominated diphenyl ethers

ABSTRACT:  Canadians are interested in improving their diet through the consumption of fish oil food supplements, which are marketed to be rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Convenience samples of omega-3 enriched dietary supplements (n = 30) were collected in Vancouver, Canada, between 2005 and 2007. All of the omega-3 supplements were analyzed for polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins/furans (PCDD/Fs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) and, although every sample was found to contain detectable residues of PBDEs, only 24 samples were found to have PCDD/F concentrations above the level of detection. PCDD/F concentrations ranged from 0.05 pg TEQ/g lipid to 45.7 pg TEQ/g lipid in salmon and shark oils, respectively. Maximum PBDE concentrations similarly were observed in shark oil (113 μg/kg lipid), however, most supplements had concentrations below 5 μg/kg lipid. Average PCDD/F and PBDE intake estimates, based on consumption of maximum supplement dose following product label recommendations, were 4.32 pg TEQ/d and 25.1 ng/d lipid, respectively.