ACT Health is warning Canberrans to be aware of potentially dangerous weight-loss products being marketed to the fitness and bodybuilding communities.
The products, known as ‘shredders’, may contain the highly toxic chemical 2.4-dinitrophenol (DNP) which has caused several deaths overseas and more recently in Australia.
DNP prevents energy from being stored as fat with it instead being released as heat. This increases body temperature which can damage the cells of organs such as the muscle, kidney and brain.
ACT Chief Health Officer Dr Paul Kelly said there is a myth that if used in small amounts users will be safe, but in reality, DNP is an extremely toxic substance.
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“DNP can cause a range of serious medical problems, including muscle breakdown, kidney failure, seizures and coma,” Dr Kelly said.
“There is no antidote and even with our best medical care, people can and have died using products containing the chemical.”
ACT Health advises that products marketed online advertised as featuring DNP should be avoided, as should any product from an unverified source that is promoted as a weight-loss agent.
It said that people can become seriously unwell within hours of ingesting DNP.
In cases of known or suspected ingestion, people are asked to phone Emergency Triple Zero (000) immediately.
The ACT warning mirrors advice provided by NSW Health about the dangers of these weight-loss products.
ACT Health urges anyone who has information about the purchasing, selling or manufacturing of illegal drugs to call ACT Policing on 131 444 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000. Information can be provided anonymously.