MLB Players Association president challenges Congress on supplement regulation

WASHINGTON For all the talk on steroid use and what impact the use of those steroids by sports stars/heroes is having on today’s youth, supplements continue to be drawn into the mix.

Steroids and supplements were linked again Tuesday, during the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform Hearing on Illegal Steroid Use by Major League Baseball Athletes, when Donald Fehr, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association challenged Congress to examine whether or not the Food and Drug Administration is doing its job in regulating dietary supplements. “Finally, as I have previously suggested, perhaps the Congress should examine whether the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act—DSHEA, as it is commonly known—is being adequately enforced,” he charged during his prepared testimony. “One of the members on the panel in his opening statement, or in one of the questions, suggested to kids buying stuff in stores. To the extent that that’s true, and I think it is, that means it is available in stores and legally.”

Later, Rep. John Sarbanes, D-Md., shared a story about a video he had bought for his 14-year-old son to help prepare for the ensuing youth league season. The video recommended a course of supplements, Sarbanes said. “At the end of it, the person on the videotape said, ‘So what you need is three things: You need the equipment; you need this instruction booklet on how to make sure your form is good; and then, of course, you need these supplements that you can go buy, too.’”

In response, Fehr said, “If any of you haven’t done it, please go to the drug store or GNC or somewhere else and look what’s up on the shelves. Every tree, every grass, every bush, every mineral … everything else anybody’s ever heard of is there,” he said. “When I mentioned in my prepared testimony in my opening remarks that one of the things that may bear consideration is a review of the dietary supplements act, DSHEA, to see if it makes sense—so that we don’t, in effect, advertise to kids.”

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