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Speier Aims To Halt Sale of Ephedra

Feb 21, 2003 | San Jose Mercury News

Just days after the death of a Baltimore Orioles prospect, a California state senator vowed Thursday to quickly introduce a bill that would ban state sales of the dietary supplement ephedra, which is suspected of contributing to the 23-year-old pitcher's demise.

Sen. Jackie Speier, who last year championed a bill that banned state sales of ephedra to minors, vowed to take the issue one step further this year.

``How many more people have to die before we decide that ephedra poses an unacceptable risk to the public?'' the San Mateo Democrat said in announcing her measure. ``Tell me how many deaths caused by ephedra are acceptable?''

The attempt to ban the sale of dietary supplements that contain ephedra follows Monday's death of Steve Bechler, a young pitcher who collapsed during spring training in Florida and later died after suffering from severe heatstroke.

A weight-loss supplement was found in Bechler's locker, and the preliminary coroner's report suggested that ephedra may have played a role in his death, though it's still being determined whether Bechler had ephedra in his system.

Ephedra supporters maintain that the herbal supplements are safe when properly used.

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