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BOND URGES REVIEW OF RULING ON HERBAL PRODUCTS FOR PREGNANT WOMEN

SOURCE:    Andrew A. Skolnick

Special To The Post-Dispatch

The Associated Press Contributed Information To This Story. PUBLICATION: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
SECTION: NEWS

DATE: March 31, 2000
EDITION: FIVE STAR LIFT
PAGE: A4


Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., joined leading health experts Thursday in urging the Food and Drug Administration to reconsider its ruling on herbal and dietary supplements to be marketed for pregnant women.

The senator voiced concerns similar to those expressed by health experts who spoke at an FDA meeting in Gaithersburg, Md. The meeting was held in response to protests over the agency's ruling this year that allows herbal and dietary supplements to be marketed for morning sickness and some other problems in pregnancy.
"The FDA needs to consider this issue very carefully, so that we can ensure that we don't put the health of pregnant women and their unborn babies at risk," Bond said.

Some witnesses at the meeting defended the safety of many herbal and dietary products. "Products that have a centuries-long tradition of providing comfort to women should be allowed to continue providing that comfort," said Michael McGuffin of the American Herbal Products Association.

Maternal health experts at the meeting did not agree. Claiming that people have safely used natural substances for centuries is not a convincing argument, they said. Few suspected that alcohol could cause birth defects and mental retardation until the 1970s, they said.

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