By Stephen Daniells Nutra Ingredients USA
New York State Senate Majority Coalition Leader Jeff Klein is seeking to ban the sale of products containing the controversial ingredient DMAA (dimethylamylamine) in the Empire State.
Klein introduced legislation yesterday, and the announcement was met with opposition by Steve Mister, President and CEO of the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN).
“It’s not unusual to see a state legislator target an ‘ingredient du jour’, and try to create a cause for themselves,” Mister told NutraIngredients-USA.
“Our position is that it is inappropriate for a state to introduce legislation for an ingredient that is already on the FDA radar and is an open case for the Agency.
FDA issued warning letters to manufacturers and distributors of supplements containing DMAA last year and again earlier this year. The companies have responded to these warning letters. “The ball is back with FDA,” said Mister.
“FDA is in the best position on this,” he added. “They have all the data and they are charged with protecting public health. It’s therefore inappropriate for a state legislator to introduce something like this, however well meaning. For that reason we oppose it.”
DMAA (1,3-Dimethylamylamine, also known as methyl hexaneamine (MHA), and several other names) has been a subject of intense debate about whether it is in fact a constituent of geranium. The ingredient was first manufactured synthetically by drug giant Eli Lily in the 1940s.
The ingredient has come under scrutiny across the globe and is currently banned in six countries, as well as by the U.S. military .
The deaths of two soldiers that were linked to DMAA are cited by Klein as a reason behind his legislation. Senator Klein was joined by Leanne and Michael Sparling, the parents of Private Michael Sparling, a soldier at Fort Bliss military base who died shortly after ingesting DMAA-containing Jack3d, on June 1st 2011. The Sparling family has filed a suit for wrongful death against the product’s manufacturer, USPLabs, and against *** Stores.
“If it’s not safe for soldiers, it’s not safe for our kids,” said Senator Klein. “These manufacturers are exploiting shortcomings in FDA oversight to profit off of unsuspecting student athletes.
“Our kids are being told that DMAA will give them an edge over their competition. But that’s dead wrong. Not only are these products dangerous, but they jeopardize the athletic eligibility of anyone who uses them. We’re here to put an end to that.
“The outright refusal by drug makers and retailers to place a meaningful warning label on these products is shameful. We will not allow their recklessness to endanger any more student athletes. I hope that the FDA eventually acts—but until then, it’s up to the states to take action.
“That’s why I’m introducing legislation today to eliminate the DMAA threat in New York once and for all.”
“Attacking the problem in exactly the right way”
Senator Klein’s actions were supported by former MLB All-Star Jose Canseco.
“Senator Klein is attacking this problem in exactly the right way,” he said.
“I know how dangerous these products can be and I’ve seen how easy they are for kids to buy. I’m proud to be here today to support Senator Klein, because instead of sitting on his hands like most politicians, Senator Klein is actually out there leading on this issue.
“It’s clear that Senator Klein means business—I’m just glad that I could be here to help him make his case.”
Step in the right direction
The medical discussion at Monday’s roundtable was led by Dr Pieter Cohen, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School and a general internist at Cambridge Health Alliance who has personal experience caring for patients harmed by DMAA.
“It’s unacceptable that an experimental drug is sold is in the guise of a natural supplement. Senator Klein’s legislation is an important step in the right direction toward ensuring the safety of supplements sold in New York,” said Dr. Cohen.