08 February 2007

Death of Anna Nicole Smith Will Spotlight Ephedra Problem that Bechler's Passing Didn't

Well, nobody really paid all that much attention when a no-name baseball player died from apparent complications related to mis/overuse of Ephedra-based weight loss products, but the death of former Playmate/quasi-actress/model/gold-digger/weight loss poster-child Anna Nicole Smith today, at age 39, will be sure to turn some heads.

For good or bad, Smith had become the person most closely associated with Ephedra-based Trim-Spa. (As of today, 4:30PM on the day she died, Smith was still the front-page pin-up girl on Trim Spa's website.) But if the coroner's report shows that the over-use (or, God help them, the "appropriate" use) of Trim Spa played a part in Smith's passing, the company will surely go bankrupt. Sadly, it seems that Smith traded her life for her fame, using the weight-loss product to get back into the limelight after years of being in the news only for her legal battles with the family of her deceased husband, oil tycoon J. Howard Marshall II.

Baltimore Orioles pitching prospect Steve Bechler, who died four years ago this month during pitchers and catchers' workouts. Had Bechler's death occurred during a game in Spring Training or the regular season, or if Bechler had been a more famous name, his passing might have done more to curb the sales of the so-called "all natural supplement" and force a little responsibility upon the company and others like it. Because such supplements are produced from herbs andor other natural sources, the Food and Drug Administration does not regulate their distribution, advertising or the claims made on the product itself, requiring only a "statement not reviewed by the FDA" disclaimer. These kinds of things mislead consumers who don't know any better, who don't realize that things that grow in the ground can kill you just as easily as something synthesized in a laboratory, especially if abused.

Whatever you thought of her as a person, it is a tragedy that Anna Nicole Smith died today, especially if it turns out that it was somehow related to the Ephedra stuff. But it is even more of a tragedy that Steve Bechler and other valuable human beings had already suffered the same fate, and no real action was ever taken, because they didn't have huge boobs.

Trim-Spa Baby? I Don't Think So.

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