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Consumers Union Dietary Supplements Survey

In April, a federally mandated ban on the dietary supplement Ephedra went into effect after the supplement was linked to more than 150 deaths. Consumer Reports recently identified at least a dozen other dietary supplements still on the market that pose serious risks to consumers, with links to kidney failure, liver disease and cancer. Unlike over-the-counter and prescription drugs, which must be proven safe and effective before they can be sold to the public, dietary supplements can be marketed without demonstrating similar proof of safety. Also, dietary supplement producers do not have to report serious health reactions caused by their products to the federal government or put safety warnings on supplement labels, even for products with known serious hazards.