Two congressmen have asked Major League Baseball and the players union to test for human growth hormone (HGH) and to ban chewing tobacco. They made their requests a month before the players union contract is set to expire.
Representatives Henry Waxman of California and Frank Pallone of New Jersey sent a letter with the requests to Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and Michael Weiner, Executive Director of the players union, according to the Associated Press.
Last month, four senators asked the baseball players union to agree to a ban on chewing tobacco at the World Series. Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig backs a ban on chewing tobacco on the field in the new players’ contract. Last winter, Selig received a letter from public health officials in 15 cities with Major League teams, urging Major League Baseball to ban tobacco use by all ballpark personnel. They noted links between smokeless tobacco and oral cancer, gum disease and other health issues. They also pointed to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing that use of smokeless tobacco among high school boys has risen 36 percent since 2003.
Until now, attention over HGH testing has been focused on football. Recently, the football players union has said it is not ready to test players for HGH, despite urging from two members of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The union said it wants more scientific information before it will agree to testing.