Prior to signing the bill into law, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), Washington, D.C., urged Governor Schwarzenegger to veto the bill because it claimed, “This legislation does not protect high school athletes from using anabolic steroids, growth hormone or illegal drugs because these substances are not even prohibited by this bill. Instead, SB 37 will inappropriately single out the dietary supplement industry while ignoring the real problem—potential abuse by high school athletes of performance-enhancing substances.” CRN also claimed that SB 37 will establish a “banned supplements list” rather than a “banned substances list.” “For all the hype, this legislation does little except create negative perceptions among Californians toward dietary supplements…it creates a false impression among local school districts, high school coaches, parents and athletes that there are a wide variety of dietary supplements that are banned by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and that students would be wise to avoid dietary supplements, including multivitamins, altogether,” the organization said. “The bill sent to you for signature would ban exactly three supplements: ephedra, DHEA and synephrine.”
Even though Governor Schwarzenegger had vetoed a similar bill (SB 1630) introduced by Senator Speier in 2004, he signed the bill into law on October 7th. According to Newsday, Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Margita Thompson said this year’s version corrected flaws in the old bill, as the banned substances were not clearly defined in the previous bill.
Judy Blatman, vice president of communications for CRN, said the organization is disappointed, but given the political environment in California this was not unexpected. “We fought hard to get the bill expanded, so that it wouldn’t inappropriately single out the dietary supplement industry,” she commented. “Sadly, the bill ignores the real problem: potential abuse by high school athletes of performance-enhancing substances.” She added, “The bill should have been vetoed on its lack of merits and the end result is a waste of taxpayer money. Unfortunately, it also misrepresents our industry’s products.”