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Dangerous Dietary Supplements Still on Shelves

Consumer Reports Examines “Dirty Dozen” Dangerous Dietary Supplements
Consumers Union Urges Congress to Take Action to Prevent Further Injuries or Death

Dear Senator:
In February of this year, the FDA banned dietary supplements containing ephedra. However, the May issue of Consumer Reports identifies 12 additional dietary supplements that, according to government warnings, adverse-event reports, and top experts, are too dangerous to be on the market. Six of these products have been linked to cancer, kidney failure, liver disease, and even death. Five of these products are banned in Asia, Europe, or Canada. Despite these facts, these supplements continue to be widely available to consumers in this country on store shelves and online.
Consumers Union urges you to read the article about dangerous supplements, and let your constituents know that they may be placing their health in jeopardy by using products containing a “dirty dozen” dangerous ingredient. We also believes that changes must be made to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), the law that governs these products, to enable the FDA to review their safety before they are sold to the public, collect reports of any harms caused by their use, and quickly remove unsafe supplements from the marketplace.
We ask you to consider cosponsoring Senate Bill 722, sponsored by Senator Richard Durbin, which would increase FDA’s authority to determine the safety of stimulants before they are marketed. The bill also would establish new safety measures for the sale of untested dangerous steroid equivalents. Finally, S. 722 would require manufacturers to report adverse events for dietary supplements, would increase the FDA’s authority to compel submission of additional safety information for supplements deemed to pose serious hazards to consumers, and would make it easier for the FDA to remove unsafe products from the market.
We look forward to working with you to better ensure that consumers can use dietary supplements more safely and with confidence.
Janell Mayo Duncan
Legislative and Regulatory Counsel
Washington Office

Read Consumer Reports story on 12 dietary supplements that, according to government warnings, are too dangerous to be on the market.
To send a free e-mail to Congress to improve the dietary supplement law, click here.