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Rep. Waxman Calls for Action on Ephedra

Feb 21, 2003 | AP

The ranking Democrat of the House Committee on Government Reform sent letters Friday to the heads of the NBA, NHL and baseball players' union asking why they have not acted to ban ephedra.

Rep. Henry Waxman of California sent a similar letter to baseball commissioner Bud Selig on Thursday.

"I would like to know why this serious safety issue has not been addressed," Waxman wrote in the letters to NBA commissioner David Stern, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and baseball union head Donald Fehr.

The letters were sent following Monday's death of Baltimore pitcher Steve Bechler, who died after collapsing at spring training Sunday. A Florida medical examiner said the death may have been linked to an ephedra-based diet pill.

The letters do not threaten congressional action, but each requests answers to a series of questions by March 3.

"What steps have you taken to educate your members about the potential dangers of certain supplements?" and "Will the Major League Baseball Players Association change its policy soon?" are two of the questions asked in the letter to Fehr.

While ephedra is banned by the NFL, the NCAA and the International Olympic Committee, use of the substance is allowed in several other sports.

Earlier Friday, Selig called for new talks with the players' union to ban ephedra.

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