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World Anti-Doping Agency Bans Xenon and Argon



The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) announced this week, that it has added Xenon and Argon gases to its list of ‘Prohibited Substances and Methods.’

WADA initially announced their intentions of banning the gases back during its meeting in May. However, the organization’s procedures require them to given a three month notice before promulgating a new policy. 

The two substances are known as Hypoxia-Inducible Factor (HIF) activators, and have been proven to stimulate growth of erythropoietin (EPO) and testosterone. In addition, it also reduces the level of oxygen in the blood. 

Until recently, WADA was unaware of the effects of either substance. However, things were brought to light, when WADA discovered that Russian athletes were using Xenon gas during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

Garmin-Sharp’s head physician Prentice Steffenhas has since led movement for WADA to ban the gas. 

Speaking to the media back in February, he said:

“We looked into Xenon, honestly, but we had several concerns about it and we ultimately decided not to use it. There’s really nothing good in terms of safety or athletic enhancement and then you throw in the ethical considerations. I personally feel that it crosses a line and that it’s unethical so we decided not to pursue it.”

Additionally, the MPCC (Mouvement pour un Cyclisme Crédible/ Movement For Credible Cycling) has supported Steffen’s efforts, after WADA announced that they would look into the effects of the gas.

Steffen and the MPCC have also called on WADA to ban the substance, Tramadol, as well.


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