An Iowa legislator who tried to enact a statewide ban on the herbal supplement ephedra is applauding federal officials who yesterday yanked ephedra from the market nationwide. State Representative Clel Baudler, a republican from Greenfield, says athletes use the supplement because they believe it’s a muscle enhancer and causes weight loss. Baudler says in his opinion, it’s both a useless and a dangerous drug. Baudler says many deaths are attributed to the supplement; federal officials say ephedra has caused 155 deaths. Baudler had planned to offer a bill in the 2004 Iowa Legislature to ban the possession or sale of the substance, but now that the federal ban’s in effect, he won’t. Baudler says the dietary supplement industry launched a massive email drive last year to protest the ephedra ban Baudler proposed. Makers of the supplement contend it’s safe, and more people die from taking over-the-counter cold medications than have died from using ephedra.
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