After receiving five reports of death and one report of a non-fatal heart attack, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA), www.fda.org, has opened an investigation into the popular energy drink market. The reports that link the consumption of energy drinks to the medical events were entered into the FDA’s voluntary reporting system over the past few years.
Recent studies have hinted at the potential harmful effects of caffeine toxicity, especially in children who consume certain energy drinks in large quantities. A study published in the journal Pediatrics warns that further studies should be done on the effects of caffeine on young people.
Critics claim that the energy drinks are heavily marketed to young people, especially young men. This group is more likely to buy and consume the energy drink products such as Monster to get an added boost for popular activities such as playing sports. However, it is becoming known that there are underlying physical risks. Consumption of energy drinks can put these young people at risk if they consume too much caffeine. Heart arrhythmias may be undetected in young people and may not affect their lifestyle until an ultra-high dose of caffeine begins to wreak havoc on their system.
Energy Drinks Have no FDA Oversight
The FDA limits the amount of caffeine in a can of soda to 70 mg per 12-ounce serving. However, energy drinks that are considered dietary supplements are not regulated by the FDA. One 24-ounce can of Monster contains 240 milligrams of caffeine.
There has been no confirmation that consuming the drinks caused or played a role in the deaths and the heart attack reported to the FDA. Although the link is still unclear, studies are being conducted on the effects of high doses of caffeine on young people.
Highlighting the potential increased risk to children, a 14-year-old girl recently died of a cardiac arrhythmia that was determined to be caused by caffeine toxicity. The parents of the girl have sued Monster Energy Drinks claiming that consumption of the beverage caused her death. In a 24-hour period, the girl had consumed two 24-ounce Monster Energy Drinks.
This case and other similar pending cases have highlighted the deficiencies in the oversight of these potentially dangerous products. Consumer groups are calling for more regulation and protection of young people from their potentially harmful effects.