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WASHINGTON (AP) _ Saying that tolerance of steroid use is sending a dangerous message to children, the House on Monday urged major league baseball and its players to implement a mandatory steroid testing program.

``Failure to test and reports of abuse tell young people that drug use is not only permissible but desirable,'' said Rep. Nancy Johnson, R-Conn., sponsor of the resolution. ``That's exactly the wrong message to send to our children.''

The nonbinding resolution was approved by a voice vote.

The use of steroids among baseball players became an issue after former National League Most Valuable Player Ken Caminiti admitted using steroids, which help build body strength by creating testosterone, and estimated that half of the sport's players take the illegal drug.

The NBA has mandatory random tests for steroids and the NFL also tests for the drug, but the Major League Baseball Players Association has so far resisted testing, citing privacy concerns.

The House action followed Senate hearings last month at which league officials and player representatives differed on whether testing for steroids should be mandatory. Players Association executive director Donald M. Fehr told the Senate Commerce Committee that players would work to come up with a solution as part of the collective bargaining process with the owners on a new contract.

But Johnson stressed that mandatory random testing was ``the only way to signal that steroids have no place in professional sports.''

Rep. Steve Israel, D-N.Y., said, ``Baseball should be a field of dreams and not a den of drugs.''

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The bill is H.R. Res. 496.