State Health Commissioner Warns of Dangers of Weight Loss Product

Deadly Dinitrophenols Available Through Internet Sales

Albany, NY, August 10, 2001 – State Health Commissioner Antonia C. Novello today warned against the use of products containing Dinitrophenols or DNP as a supplement for weight loss. The warning results from a report to the Department's Pesticide Poisoning Registry on the recent death of a Long Island resident who had reportedly used DNP for four days.

The young man's death was reported to the State Health Department by the Long Island Poison Control Center, which indicated that the individual apparently ingested 600 milligrams of DNP a day for four days.

DNP is an agricultural pesticide (a herbicide) but is not registered for use in New York State. According to the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, it was sold in the 1930's in diet pills but was banned in 1938 because of severe health effects. Dinitrophenols are toxic to the liver, kidney and nervous system. The chemical causes hyperthermia (increased body temperature), dehydration, tachycardia (rapid heartbeat), restlessness and manic behavior and convulsions which typically signify an immediate life–threatening intoxication. There are anecdotal reports of other deaths from DNP as a weight loss supplement.

Although DNP use in diet pills was banned in 1938, it is currently being marketed and used by body builders, and is also advertised and marketed on the Internet. The extent of its use is unknown at this time.

The State Health Department has contacted the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to explore ways to warn consumers about the dangers of DNP, to identify product names under which it is being sold and to dissuade its further use. The warning also will be sent to DNP web sites identified by the Department, body builder web sites and body builder magazines.

8/10/01–90 OPA