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DES MOINES (AP) - U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin says sponsors of a proposed federal law restricting access to a chemical used to make methamphetamine have agreed to toughen the measure.
Such a move would ease worries by state officials that it would interfere with an Iowa law that just went on the books.
The Legislature this year approved tough new restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine, a common ingredient in cold medicines that's also essential in making methamphetamine. Officials have called the law a success, pointing to a 75 percent drop in the number of meth labs found in Iowa in the past two months.
The law took effect in May. It restricts most pseudoephedrine sales to pharmacies and limits how much someone can buy in a month.
Congress has been thinking about setting national restrictions on the sale of pseudoephedrine.
Harkin, D-Iowa, said he has pushed authors of the measure to toughen the proposal, largely modeling it after the Iowa law. He said they have agreed to a series of changes, including:
*Covering all pseudoephedrine products, including liquids.
*Limiting the total amount of the cold medicine that can be purchased per month to the same level as contained in Iowa law, and letting Iowa's law stay on the books until the federal statute is implemented.
*Allowing states to restrict pseudoephedrine sales to pharmacies only, if they choose.
Those changes are scheduled to be included this week, said Harkin.