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THE NATION | IN BRIEF / ILLINOIS

State Becomes the First to Ban Ephedra

May 26, 2003|From Times Wire Reports

Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed the nation's first statewide ban on the diet supplement ephedra, flanked by the parents of a 16-year-old football player who died of a heart attack after taking it.

"It's a good first step, but it's not enough," Blagojevich said. He and lawmakers urged other states and the federal government to adopt similar bans.

Ephedra, blamed for nearly 120 deaths, drew national attention after officials investigating the February heatstroke death of Baltimore Oriole pitching prospect Steve Bechler linked it to a diet pill containing ephedrine, ephedra's active ingredient.

The herbal supplement is sometimes marketed as an athletic-performance enhancer.

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