The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) added xenon gas to its list of banned substances over the weekend, after claims that it can be used by athletes to help boost performance.
Scientific studies suggest that the gases artificially increases the levels of erythropoietin (EPO) in the blood, which is forbidden under WADA’s rules.
In addition, WADA also decided to ban the fellow noble gas, argon, as well.
“The two noble gases which come from the same family, xenon and argon, will be added to the prohibited list,” Reedie told the Telegraph following this weekend’s meeting of Wada’s executive committee and foundation board.
In a statement Sunday, WADA said its executive committee approved the modification of its 2014 prohibited list to include xenon and the change should come into effect after a three-month notice period.
Xenon’s health-boosting properties have long been known – it is used in some countries as an anesthetic and is being investigated as a treatment for babies starved of oxygen during birth and heart-attack victims – therefore anti-doping proponents were not surprised when athletes started using it as a performance enhancing drug.
The benefits are said to include increased heart and lung capacity, a reduction in muscle fatigue, a testosterone boost and an improvement in mood.
The Russian producer of xenon gas, Atom Medical Centre, which received national honors for its efforts preparing athletes for the 2004 Summer Olympics and 2006 Winter Games, disputes the effect of the gas on the release of EPO in humans and that inhaling it constitutes doping.
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