The World Anti-Doping Agency Executive Committee (WADA) has released their list of prohibited substances that will take effect January 1, 2012. This is the list that will be in effect through the 2012 Olympic Games, which will likely put it in an intense spotlight towards the end of next summer, if you believe John Leonard’s claim that this will be one of the “dirtier” Olympic Games that we have seen in the last 20 years.
The biggest changes to the list include the removal of Formoterol from the list of prohibited substances. Formoterol is commonly used, in its inhaled form, to treat asthma, and will now be allowed in theraputic doses (under 36 micrograms in 24-hours). It is sold in the United States under the brand-name Foradil.
WADA has also decided to begin monitoring nicotine use in athletes. They are not looking to attack smokers (though one should argue that any WADA-pool athlete who is smoking has bigger issues), rather they are examining the effects of oral tobacco products such as snus and snuff. While nicotine is not yet banned, it is within WADA’s authority to monitor the levels of certain substances to discover whether or not they are being misused by athletes in a manner where WADA should intervene. This elevated status was brought on by a report from a WADA-accredited lab in Switzerland that reported an alarmingly high rate of nicotine presence in athletes’ blood.
One substance that WADA chose not to change the status of is clenbuterol. Around the world of sports, it has been one of the most hot-button doping issues since it cost Jessica Hardy a swim at the 2008 London Olympics after accidental contamination of a nutritional supplement. The concern throughout the sporting community is that clenbuterol has become so wide-spread in many countries’ food supplies that avoiding contamination puts an unreasonable burden on athletes. This has been put in the forefront of the case of three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador, who has been appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that he tested positive after eating tainted meat.
Contador’s case will be heard in November, but you will recall that clenbuterol was a big concern at the Shanghai World Championships as well. Farmers in China ilegally inject their meat animals to keep them lean. Five Mexican soccer players claimed the same earlier this year (those soccer fans will recall that prior to their Gold Cup title match against the USA), and were eventually acquitted by their federation.
Many leading experts in steroid use advocated for a minumum threshold to be introduced, to where an athlete’s blood would have to reach that concentration for it to be considered a “positive test”. This included the head of the lab for the 2012 London Olympics, David Cowan.
Also, on a bit of a lighter note, alcohol is no longer a banned substance for bowlers. How poetically appropriate is that?