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State Checks Stores For Ephedra

May 19, 2004 | AP

Agents of the state Department of Consumer Protection are checking all health club and convenience stores in Connecticut to make sure they are free of products containing ephedra.

Ephedrine supplements were widely used for weight loss and bodybuilding, but have been linked to 155 deaths, including that of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler.

The Food and Drug Administration banned all dietary supplements containing ephedrine alkaloids on April 12.

Any store still selling products containing ephedra will face sanctions, state Consumer Protection Commissioner Edwin R. Rodriguez said Tuesday.

"Based on complaints and our investigations, we know that some ephedra-containing supplements are still on the market in Connecticut," Rodriguez said.

After years of fighting manufacturers over the risks, the FDA announced in December that it was banning the sale of the amphetamine-like herb - the first such ban of a dietary supplement.

"There is clearly a risk to public health and safety linked to the use of this product," Rodriguez said.

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