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Potentially Dangerous Class Of Substances Added To The 2014 WADA Prohibited List

DISCLAIMER: This content is NOT being updated and is only current as of the publication date.

In early 2014, anti-doping organizations were made aware that athletes may be using dangerous, highly toxic, and concentrated gases such as Xenon, in an attempt to enhance performance.

No credible scientific studies have proven that Xenon is a safe or effective way to enhance performance by increasing Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF) stability in humans. However, there are very serious health risks associated with the inhalation of volumes of concentrated gases such as xenon, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, and sulfide, even when done under medical supervision. Hydrogen sulfide is particularly dangerous because an early effect of the gas is to paralyze the olfactory nerves, thereby increasing the danger of toxic dosages. Even if a person survives acute poisoning, they may require months of recuperation.

In a response to these concerns, The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has added a new, HIF stabilizers and activators category to the 2014 Prohibited List, which includes substances such as Xenon and Argon among others. The addition of this class of substances to the list will be effective on September 1, 2014, following the required three-month notice period. Testing can detect the use of HIF stabilizers and activators.

The change to the Prohibited List reads as follows:


The following substances, and other substances with similar chemical structure or similar biological effect(s), are prohibited:

1. Erythropoiesis-Stimulating Agents [e.g. erythropoietin (EPO), darbepoetin (dEPO), hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) stabilizers and activators (e.g. xenon, argon), methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta (CERA), peginesatide (Hematide)].

The revised 2014 Prohibited List can be found at http://www.wada-ama.org/en/Science-Medicine/Prohibited-List/

USADA is here to support athletes in reaching their goals while safely competing on a clean and level playing field. If you have any questions or concerns, please call 719-785-2000 or athleteexpress@usada.org

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