The head of the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) has called for tighter regulation of sports supplements amid an investigation into steroid products allegedly being distributed to high school children.
Travis Tygart said tighter controls were needed around products that may contain steroids after a USADA investigation found high school children were obtaining certain difficult-to-trace steroids for sports performance through a retail chain, Max Muscle.
He took the opportunity to criticize the 1994 Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act (DSHEA), which he said had been exposed by the operation for failing to better control the dietary supplements market.
The investigation, part of a Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO) probe has seen a raid of the home of Maurice Sandoval, former chief executive officer of American Cellular Labs.
“The current regulatory system for dietary supplements allows these unscrupulous steroid salesmen to endanger the health of our youth,” Tygart said.
“It sends another loud signal that BALCO was a huge step in the fight to protect a level playing field,” he added. “Those same investigators are still focused on protecting our clean athletes for the integrity of competition.”
The investigation involved steroid products that have become popular with high school football players.
“Kids think they’re safe because you can buy them over the counter without an ID and without a whole lot of money,” Tygart said in press reports. “We all know there are some that are masqueraded as what should be illegal steroids.”
Head of the investigation, Food and Drug Administration agent Jeff Novitzky, wrote in an affidavit unsealed last week that he believes American Cellular Labs and Max Muscle were distributing two undetectable designer steroids to high school kids.