New CRN Publication Demonstrates Need for Science-Based Safety Levels for Vitamin and Mineral Supplements

-Global organizations urged to take similar approach-

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 30, 2004 - The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), one of the dietary supplement industry's leading trade associations, during a press briefing today to introduce the publication of Vitamin and Mineral Safety 2nd Edition, stressed the need for global harmonization in assessing safety values for dietary supplements, specifically urging that Upper Levels for Supplements (ULS) be based on science not politics.

According to John Hathcock, Ph.D., vice president, scientific and international affairs, CRN, and author of both editions of Vitamin and Mineral Safety, "Safety assessments of vitamins and minerals in supplements must be based on a scientific evaluation that includes the quantitative methods of risk assessment and a dose-response relationship evaluation of potential adverse effects of nutrients. While the use of a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) or arbitrary multiples of RDAs to set upper limits for vitamin and mineral supplements has been seen by some governments as convenient, RDA-based upper limits have no scientific validity and consequently should have no role in determining safety or upper limits."

Dr. Hathcock was joined at the press briefing by CRN President Annette Dickinson, Ph.D., and CRN's international legal counselor, Mark Mansour, J.D., partner, Morgan Lewis.

Mr. Mansour addressed the need for governmental and regulatory organizations worldwide to more closely align their thinking with regard to safety evaluation of vitamins and minerals, noting that "the implications of some countries accepting science as the rational approach to safety while others choose less rigorous methods lead to undesirable consequences for industry and for consumers. We truly are becoming a world with fewer boundaries from a trade perspective and industry must remain vigilant in order to protect freedoms of trade and freedoms of consumer choice. There should be harmonization among countries when it comes to safety evaluation, simply because a science-based risk assessment is the only rational approach."

Discussing the impact of safety issues on consumers, Dr. Dickinson addressed the question of whether the public is in danger of taking too many vitamins and minerals. "Dr. Hathcock's safety review shows that the margin for safety for most vitamins and minerals is quite wide. While consumers need to pay attention to the nutrients they are getting through conventional foods and dietary supplements, we know that they are more likely to fall short in essential nutrient intake than they are to take excessive amounts. While more is not always better when it comes to vitamins and minerals, generous intakes are usually better than low intakes. Scientific evidence supports numerous benefits from vitamin and mineral supplements, ranging from simply ensuring adequate dietary intake of specific nutrients to potentially helping protect against disease."

The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), founded in 1973, is a Washington, D.C.-based trade association representing dietary supplement industry ingredient suppliers and manufacturers. CRN members adhere to a strong code of ethics, comply with dosage limits and manufacture dietary supplements to high quality standards under good manufacturing practices. For more information on CRN, visit

Judy Blatman
Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN)
Telephone: (202) 204-7962

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