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N.Y. Legislature Bans Ephedra Supplements

Jun 3, 2003 | AP

The Westchester County Legislature voted to prohibit the sale of dietary supplements containing ephedra, which has been blamed for deaths, heart attacks and strokes.

Supplements using the herbal extract, natural or synthesized, have become popular in recent years among dieters, weightlifters and body-conscious teenagers.

Monday night's unanimous vote added Westchester to a growing list of governments banning ephedra. Last week, Illinois became the first state to ban ephedra. Several major sports leagues, including the NFL, prohibit athletes from using it.

The county previously banned the sale of ephedra to minors. County Executive Andrew Spano proposed the full ban after Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, who had taken ephedra, died during spring training in February.

The bill will take effect 90 days after Spano signs it.

The measure does not prohibit the use of ephedra, just the sale. It covers only dietary supplements, not other products that include ephedra, such as decongestants and allergy medicine. Ephedra products purchased with a prescription are exempt.

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