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N.Y. Bans Ephedra As Supplement

Nov 4, 2003 | AP New York became the second state Monday to ban ephedra, an over-the-counter herbal supplement linked to several deaths including that of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler.

The law, signed by Gov. George Pataki, includes a fine of up to $500 for each sale of the supplement and takes effect immediately. Ephedra's prescription sales are not affected.

Manufacturers of ephedra are facing lawsuits and a possible ban by the Food and Drug Administration. Illinois and several New York counties already ban the substance. In May, Florida joined New Jersey and California in banning ephedra sales to minors.

Ephedra is used to lose weight and boost athletic performance and has been linked to several deaths, according to the FDA. The Ephedra Education Council, an industry-funded group, says the supplement is safe when used correctly.

Bechler, 23, died of heatstroke in February during spring training. The medical examiner said ephedra contributed to his heatstroke.

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