Statement from Stan Hazan, NSF International Senior Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs

Anabolic steroids of any type in a dietary supplement are illegal – whether they are designer anabolic steroids or steroids listed on Schedule III of the Controlled Substances Act.  Supplements containing anabolic steroids are considered adulterated, and therefore are in violation of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), the law that governs the supplement industry.  In addition to the potentially serious health effects associated with the use or abuse of these compounds, athletes subject to drug screening can be disqualified and banned from future competition if they knowingly or unknowingly ingest adulterated supplements and test positive.  

NSF International is always on the lookout for adulterated supplements in its NSF Certified for Sport® Program that screens for nearly 200 banned substances – including anabolic steroids – as part of its quality and safety certification program. The program is built on the elements of NSF/ANSI Standard 173: Dietary Supplement, which confirms what’s on the label is in the product and no harmful contaminants are present. The NFL, NHL, MLB, PGA, LPGA, Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) and the New York City Police Department all rely on this NSF program, and this newly proposed law – DASCA – should help reduce the number of illegal supplements on the market.  

Legislation similar to DASCA have been introduced in previous Congressional sessions but have failed to make it into law.  This bill needs to be ratified by both houses and signed into law in this session of Congress.  Even if it makes it all the way through, this law will not stop the illegal marketing of steroids in supplements.  However, DASCA should allow regulators and enforcement bodies to move more quickly to remove these adulterated products from the market and to impose harsher penalties on violators.