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WADA stops short of banning hypoxic tents

Written by: Staff

MONTREAL, Sep 17 (Reuters) The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) stopped short of banning the use of hypoxic tents but cautioned that their use could pose health risks.

The use of hypoxic tents, which simulate high altitude conditions, has become commonplace among the world's high performance and professional athletes.

By breathing low oxygenated air while they sleep, athletes can increase the natural production of erythropoetin (EPO), stimulating the growth of oxygen-carrying red blood.

''In response to our stakeholders who requested that there be full consideration of hypoxic conditions in the context of the Prohibited List, WADA performed a scientific and ethical review of the matter, and engaged in a thorough consultation with experts and stakeholders,'' WADA president Dick Pound said in a statement yesterday.

''While we do not deem this method appropriate for inclusion on the list at this time, we still wish to express the concern that, in addition to the results varying individually from case to case, use of this method may pose health risks if not properly implemented and under medical supervision.'' WADA's scientific committees and ethical issues review panel carried out a thorough examination of the scientific literature and opinions from experts on the use of artificially produced hypoxic conditions.

The committees found that the method was performance enhancing and contrary to the spirit of sport but was inconclusive about the method's threat to athletes' health.

Committee members suggested that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) medical commission look into the impact of artificially-induced hypoxic conditions on athletes' health.

The WADA executive committee also approved the list of prohibited substances and methods for 2007 at its meeting yesterday.

The list was clarified to state that all stimulants are prohibited and to incorporate benzylpiperazine in the list of stimulant examples.

Reuters PDS VP0715

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