Taylor Hooton Foundation > Hoot’s Corner > General > Most Bay Area athletic facilities violate state steroid law
January 3, 2011
Most Bay Area athletic facilities violate state steroid law
State law in California requires postings in health clubs and other places warning of the dangers of steroid use.  The law was written for a reason!  Yet, most ignore it.

I figured out that if the State of California had fined the more than 10,000 athletic facilities every day since the law was enacted in 1990, they would have realized revenues of more than $1.3 BILLION.  And California is a state that is in a terrible financial crisis.  


A survey of local health clubs, gyms, figure salons, schools, gymnastics centers, community recreation centers, sports stadiums, and other athletic facilities in the SF Bay Area shows that most of these facilities are not now - and have never been - in compliance with steroid legislation that was passed more than 20 years ago.

CAL. CIV. CODE § 1812.97 : California Code – Section 1812.97 requires that commencing June 1, 1990, the following warning statement required pursuant to subdivision (a) shall be conspicuously posted in all athletic facilities in California which have locker rooms, irrespective of gender:

Warning: Use of steroids to increase strength or growth can cause serious health problems. Steroids can keep teenagers from growing to their full height; they can also cause heart disease, stroke, and damaged liver function. Men and women using steriods may develop fertility problems, personality changes, and acne. Men can also experience premature balding and development of breast tissue. These health hazards are in addition to the civil and criminal penalties for unauthorized sale, use, or exchange of anabolic steroids.

 At least one warning statement is required to be posted in every locker room of every athletic facility.

 “Athletic facilities” includes a health studio regulated pursuant to Title 2.5 (commencing with Section 1812.80), a professional boxers’ training gymnasium, as defined in Section 18685 of the Business and Professions Code, any privately owned sports facility or stadium in this state which is open to the general public, and any publicly owned sports facility or stadium in this state, including facilities in institutions of higher learning and schools that include any or all grades 7 to 12, inclusive.

When an athletic facility seeks to renew an operating license, if it can be demonstrated by a preponderance of the evidence that an athletic facility has not posted the sign required pursuant to this section, the licensing agency may impose a fine in the amount of fifty dollars ($50) per day for each day that the violation occurred, as a condition of obtaining the license renewal.

In addition to signage, every contract or membership agreement which has as its purpose the lease or rental of athletic facilities for instruction, training, or assistance in physical culture, body building, exercising, reducing, figure development, or any other related physical skill, or for baseball, football, tennis, basketball, gymnastics, track and field, hockey, ice skating, weightlifting, wrestling, or bicycling is required to contain the same warning in 10-point bold type.  This part of the code - too – is being almost universally ignored as most local athletic facilities do not contain the required language in their contracts or membership agreements.

According to the Taylor Hooton Foundation (THF), perhaps the pre-eminent steroid education organization in the country, a Proctor and Gamble survey in 2008 found that “85% of American young people have never had a parent, coach or teacher talk with them about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.”

 In California alone, it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 high school steroid users, yet our school administrators apparently aren't concerned enough to even post the required signage.  The same goes for local health club operators, gym owners, stadium owners, and athletic facility managers of every kind.

We need more - and tougher - legislation to combat the epidemic use of anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs but, more important, we need to enforce the laws that we already have.  Someone's life may depend on it.  Who's minding the store?