Senate Hearing on Steroids Focuses on Performance-EnhancingSupplements

July 1, 2002

2 Min Read
Senate Hearing on Steroids Focuses on Performance-EnhancingSupplements

Senate Hearing on Steroids Focuses on Performance-EnhancingSupplements

WASHINGTON--A Senate committee met June 18 todiscuss athletes, the use of steroids and performance-enhancing supplements afew weeks after Sports Illustrated quoted former Most Valuable Player KenCaminiti as having been on steroids when he won Major League Baseball's (MLB)prestigious award.

In a subcommittee hearing entitled, "Steroid Use inProfessional Baseball and Anti-Doping Issue in Amateur Sport," Sen. ByronDorgan (D-N.D.), chairman of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs,Foreign Commerce and Tourism, set the tone of the meeting by announcing,"what was once a 'field of dreams' may deteriorate into a quagmire ofcontrolled substances like muscle-building steroids and human growthhormone."

Donald Fehr, executive director of the MLB Players Association (MLBPA),reported his organization does not condone the use by players of unlawfulsubstances such as steroids, or the unlawful use of legal substances such asDHEA and androstenedione (andro). "As we have suggested in Steroids andNutrition Supplements [a brochure distributed to players regarding MLBPApolicy], it may well be time for the federal government to revisit whether suchproducts should also be covered by Schedule III [listing steroid drugs],"Fehr said.

In a statement by Robert Manfred, Jr., executive vice presidentof labor and human resources for MLB, baseball Commissioner Allan Selig began aninitiative two years ago to address problems with steroids and nutritionalsupplements. Team physicians reported that since the passage of the DietarySupplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), nutritional products such as androcould be marketed without the restrictions imposed by the Anabolic SteroidControl Act of 1990. Manfred cited a 2000 study (JAMA, 283, 6:779-82)commissioned by MLBPA and conducted at Harvard in which andro, at sufficientquantities, elevated testosterone levels in the body "in the same manner asan anabolic steroid."

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) submitted commentsto the subcommittee. "CRN shares the committee's concerns over [the illegaluse of steroids]," wrote John Cardellina, Ph.D., vice president ofbotanical science and regulatory affairs. "CRN does recognize that thereare two tangible concerns about legal dietary supplements containing steroidhormone precursors: 1) the potential impact of steroid hormone precursors onyoung athletes still in the process of sexual maturation; and 2) the possibilitythat the use of such products might result in positive tests for substancesbanned by some athletic governing bodies." CRN is currently developingguidelines for sport supplement usage by athletes of all ages.

For more on the testimony presented at this meeting, visit

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