Statement from the Ephedra Education Council Regarding Pitcher's Death

WASHINGTON (Feb. 20, 2003) – In response to recent unsubstantiated reports about Baltimore pitcher Steve Bechler and his use of a dietary supplement containing Ephedra, Wes Siegner Jr., general counsel of the Ephedra Education Council, today issued this statement:

“Our deepest sympathies to the family, friends and colleagues of Mr. Bechler. At this point, speculation surrounding his consumption of Ephedra is irresponsible. There is insufficient evidence that Mr. Bechler used Ephedra or, if he did, that it contributed to his death in any way. Sensationalist and speculative comments unnecessarily alarm millions of adult Americans who are properly and safely using these products to lose weight and, in turn, improve their health.

“Professional athletes and trainers need to be aware of proper hydration and nutrition and the need to acclimatize to heat and humidity. They also need to be aware of their own physical limitations. Further, it’s important to read and follow label instructions when consuming any health care product. For example, 16,000 deaths a year can be attributed to the misuse of aspirin. But that does not mean aspirin should be banned, any more than the misuse of dietary supplements justifies a ban on Ephedra.

“What can be learned from this terrible tragedy is that athletes, coaches, trainers, and the public need to be aware of the dangers of excessive exercise in heat and humidity. The danger becomes even greater for those who are not adequately trained and/or acclimatized, or who have other health issues.

“Experts in weight loss and physicians whose patients use Ephedra have witnessed the safety and significant benefits of Ephedra first-hand. This personal experience is supported by clinical data. More than 55 scientific studies have confirmed what millions of satisfied consumers already know—Ephedra dietary supplements are safe and effective when used as directed.”

The Ephedra Education Council is supported primarily by members of the Ephedra Committee of the American Herbal Products Association, a recognized leader in promoting the safe and responsible marketing of dietary supplements. The council provides factual information to the media and public about dietary supplements containing Ephedra. For more information, logon to

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