Union awaits ephedra updates



VIERA, Fla. - Having intensified its warning to players about the use of products containing ephedra, the baseball players union is not prepared at the moment to take the next step and agree to a ban on ephedra, the union's executive director said yesterday.

Donald Fehr reiterated that the union would await two developments before considering a next step: further potential action by the Food and Drug Administration and a toxicology report from the autopsy of Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler.

Bechler's death on Feb. 17 might be linked to his use of an ephedra product, a Florida medical examiner said.

Dr. Joshua Perper, the medical examiner, is expected to hold a news conference this week to disclose the results of the toxicology report.

The FDA, which last week proposed new labels to warn consumers that ephedra could cause heart attacks, strokes and death, is expected to have more to say on the substance after a 30-day period it established for comments from the public on the labels.

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