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Energy Drinks Could Poison Children: Study

Energy Drink Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting Energy Drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

Reports to poison control centers regarding energy drinks and kids under 6 years old are alarmingly high, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014. Many of the beverages contain pharmaceutical-grade caffeine – in addition to extra caffeine from natural sources – which can significantly increase a child’s blood pressure and heart rate, leading to severe cardiac and neurological side effects.

What’s the Problem?

More than half of all calls to U.S. poison control centers about energy drinks like Monster and 5-Hour Energy are for children younger than 6, according to Steven Lipshultz, lead researcher and pediatrician-in-chief at Children’s Hospital in Michigan. Lipshultz cautions that people of all ages with underlying health conditions should be wary of the heavily-caffeinated beverages.

“Exposure to energy drinks is a continuing health problem,” Lipshultz said. “You normally think of teens and young adults as most likely to drink them, but we found that half of calls to U.S. poison control centers involved unintentional exposures by children less than 6 years old.”

For the study, researchers looked at 5,156 calls to poison control centers between October 2010 and September 2013 involving energy drink injuries. Most of the calls for children under the age of 6 were because they got their hands on the beverages accidentally. Almost one-third had severe symptoms requiring treatment, including:

  • Tremors
  • Seizures
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Erratic heart rhythms (arrhythmias)

In 2012, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) launched an investigation into the safety of energy drinks after an influx of emergency room visits were linked to the beverages. The American Medical Association (AMA) has urged regulators to limit sales to adults. Studies have demonstrated that energy drinks can boost heart rates and cause arrhythmias.

Safety Concerns

Young children, especially those with pre-existing heart problems, may face an increased risk of suffering adverse reactions to energy drinks. Other conditions, such as diabetes and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may also increase the risk of injury, particularly if these children are taking prescription drugs. Young adults can face risks as well. Consumers ages 20 and older were the most likely to report serious side effects, particularly when they combine the beverages with alcohol, according to the study.

Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit

Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

Over the past five years, Monster Energy Drinks have been associated with at least five deaths, as well as numerous reports of serious side effects including heart attacks, strokes, and seizures. Though these popular beverages are especially dangerous for children, energy drink advertising often caters to younger consumers, and does not provide sufficient warnings about their potential side effects.

Side Effects of Monster Energy Drinks

While it is true that anyone at any age can suffer a caffeine overdose after drinking too much Monster Energy Drink, this risk is particularly high for children. This is especially problematic considering that Monster Beverage Corporation has been accused of marketing its products to a younger audience, and an estimated 30% to 50% of underage consumers drink energy beverages like Monster. In 2007 alone, nearly 5,500 caffeine overdoses were reported in the U.S., nearly half of which were in individuals younger than 19.

A study published in the journal Pediatrics in February 2012 found that underage consumers who drink Monster and other similar beverages are at an increased risk for developing the following serious side effects:

  • Caffeine toxicity / poisoning
  • Dehydration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Cardiac arrest
  • High blood pressure
  • Death

The risk of developing these Monster Energy Drink side effects is even greater for individuals who have:

  • Heart problems
  • Mood or behavioral disorders
  • Seizures
  • Take certain medications

The Pediatrics study concluded by the researchers stating, “The known and unknown pharmacology of agents included in such drinks, combined with reports of toxicity, raises concern for potentially serious adverse effects in association with energy drink use. In the short term, pediatricians need to be aware of the possible effects of energy drinks in vulnerable populations and screen for consumption to educate families.”

The researchers called for additional studies into how energy drinks affect at-risk populations, suggesting that sales and consumption of the beverages be curbed based on the results of the study.

Monster Energy Drink Regulation & Warnings

Monster Energy Drinks are currently classified as ‘dietary supplements,’ a designation that allows them to avoid regulation by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The legal limit for caffeine in soda is currently 71 mg per 12 ounces, while some energy drinks contain more than 500 mg of the stimulant per 12 ounce serving. Over the past several years, the FDA has received multiple requests from politicians and public watchdog groups to enforce stricter regulations on the energy drink industry.

In 2011, an article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) urged state and federal regulatory agencies to require more detailed warning labels on energy drinks, stating that the beverages are “just as great a threat to individual and public health and safety” as the premixed alcoholic energy drinks recently deemed unsafe by the FDA.

Soon after the article was published, a 14-year-old girl died of ‘cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity’ after allegedly consuming two Monster energy drinks. In response to the tragedy, senator Dick Durbin publicly requested that the FDA conduct an investigation into the safety of energy drinks, and that they enforce caffeine limits in these beverages. Senator Durbin joined with Senator Blumenthal in writing a letter to the FDA, in which the senators put pressure on the administration to assert its regulatory authority over caffeine levels in energy drinks.

Energy Drinks Could Poison Children: Study

Reports to poison control centers regarding energy drinks and kids under 6 years old are alarmingly high, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014. Children who consume the beverages may suffer adverse reactions including tremors, seizures, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and erratic heart beats (arrhythmias). Click here to learn more.

Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit Filed Over Underage Marketing in S.F.

Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

May 8, 2013 – This week, the city of San Francisco filed a lawsuit against the Monster Beverage Corporation, claiming that the company is putting children at risk by marketing its highly caffeinated drinks to underage consumers. The complaint alleges that Monster is violating California law by marketing its beverages to children as young as six, even though there is a wealth of scientific evidence suggesting that energy drinks have the potential to cause heart problems, high blood pressure, and seizures. Over the past eighteen months, Monster Energy Drinks have been cited in the deaths of at least five people, according to adverse event reports (AERS) submitted to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.

What’s the Problem?

The Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit, which was filed on May 6, comes just days after the company filed its own lawsuit against the city of San Francisco and Attorney Dennis Herrera. Monster’s complaint alleges that its constitutional right to free speech was being violated, and that the company was being unfairly targeted, since some of its beverages contain less caffeine than an equivalent size cup of Starbucks coffee.

However, critics have pointed out that Starbucks does not market its products to children.

“Monster Energy is unique among energy drink makers for the extent to which it targets children and youth in its marketing, despite the known risks its products pose to young people’s health and safety,” Herrera said. “Consumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks by children has been widely condemned by pediatricians and scientists, and the NCAA has banned its member institutions from providing these products even to college athletes because of the grave safety risks.”

Monster Energy Drinks have come under intense scrutiny in recent months, following the death of a 14-year-old girl who allegedly died after consuming two, 24-ounce cans of the beverage. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has cautioned that underage consumers should avoid energy drinks, as the risk of caffeine overdose is considerably more likely among children, who are advised not to drink more than 100 mg. of the stimulant per day. Most energy beverages contain more than that, and some have almost three times as much.

Energy drinks such as Monster, Red Bull, and 5-Hour Energy aren’t bound by FDA guidelines for caffeine the way sodas are, due to the fact that they are currently classified as dietary supplements. For this reason, these drinks are not required to list the amount of caffeine they contain on the product label, only that they contain the ingredient.

Concerns Grow Over Energy Drink Health Risks

Energy Drink Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

January 22, 2013 – Around the country, hospital emergency rooms are reporting staggering numbers of visits related to trendy energy drinks like Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, and 5-Hour Energy. The number of ER admissions involving the controversial beverages doubled between 2007 and 2011, according to a new report issued by the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN). Potential health risks associated with energy drinks have been reported to include heart problems, sleep disturbances, diuresis, and hyperglycemia.

What’s the problem?

According to the DAWN report, there were 10,068 hospital emergency room visits related to energy drinks in the United States in 2007. The vast majority of these patients were males between the ages of 18 and 39. By 2011, ER visits linked to energy drinks jumped to 20,783, with a drastic increase in the number of older individuals admitted with complications after consuming the beverages.

The report found that, in most cases, energy drink side effects were due to the excessive amount of caffeine contained in the beverages. A sizable percentage of the ER admissions also involved the use of drugs or alcohol in combination with energy drinks.

“A growing body of scientific evidence documents harmful health effects of energy drinks, particularly for children, adolescents, and young adults,” the DAWN report states. “Research has established that, among college students, there are associations between energy drink consumption and problematic behaviors such as marijuana use, sexual risk taking, fighting, smoking, drinking, and prescription drug misuse.”

In addition to the DAWN report, a recent article published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that energy drinks can contain up to four times the amount of caffeine than that found in the average soft drink. The report listed the following health complications associated with energy drinks:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Irregular heart beat and palpitations
  • Sleep disturbances and insomnia
  • Diuresis
  • Hyperglycemia

Increased pressure was placed on the energy drink industry after the death of Anais Fournier, a 14-year-old girl who allegedly died after consuming two cans of Monster Energy Drink in a 24-hour period. Her parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Monster Corp., alleging that the company failed to adequately warn the public about the potential health risks associated with their products.

According to new information released by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA), there have been at least four deaths attributed to Monster Energy Drinks and another 13 deaths linked to 5-Hour Energy. Additionally, Rockstar Energy Drinks have been cited in at least 13 non-fatal adverse event reports (AERS) submitted to the administration in recent years.

Monster Energy Drink Class Action Lawsuit Filed in California

Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

January 3, 2013 – Last month, a California man filed a class action lawsuit against the makers of Monster Energy, claiming that the companies market their caffeinated drinks as conventional beverages, despite classifying them as dietary supplements to avoid FDA regulations. The largely ambiguous dietary supplement classification allows manufacturers to avoid federal health regulations, and permits them to market their products without revealing the ingredients. The class action states that Monster Energy Drinks contain a dangerously high amount of caffeine, and that numerous scientific studies have linked it and other similar beverages to adverse health consequences.

What’s the problem?

The new Monster Energy Drink class action lawsuit was filed on December 12, 2012, on behalf of Alec Fisher, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California. The suit names Monster Beverage Corporation and Monster Energy Corporation as defendants, and seeks class action status to represent all consumers who purchased the companies’ beverages.

According to Fisher’s complaint, Monster markets its products as standard soft drinks, which leads many people to believe that their ingredients are regulated by federal health authorities. However, because of their arbitrary distinction as dietary supplements, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has not requested testing for the beverages to determine whether they are safe for consumption.

“Monster Energy Drinks, in fact, contain a dangerously high amount of caffeine that have never been subjected to any kind of pre-market review by any regulatory authority prior to them being put in the stream of commerce,” Fisher’s complaint states. “Numerous scientific studies have shown that the consumption of large amounts of caffeine, in combination with other active ingredients like guarana, taurine, carnitine, sugar, among others, by youth and adolescents can have serious health consequences. Yet, Defendants knowingly and with reckless indifference, market, advertise and sell Monster Energy Drinks as completely safe via playful/seductive advertising designed to attract pre-teens and teens and via product placement.”

The suit also claims that Monster marketing includes scantily-clad young women modeling youth-oriented clothing and accessories, and that advertisements encourage drinking large amounts of their energy drinks so consumers can collect tabs to trade for merchandise.

Monster beverages and other popular energy drinks such as Red Bull, Rockstar and 5-Hour Energy, combine large amounts of caffeine with other potent stimulants such as guarana and taurine to increase energy levels over extended periods of time. However, over the past several years, concerns have emerged about the potential health complications associated with energy drinks, which can contain up to 240 milligrams of caffeine per 24-ounce can.

Recent studies have determined that caffeine overdoses, which typically occur after consumption of 200 to 400 milligrams, can cause heart attacks, cardiac arrythmias, and death. Compounding the problem, Monster Energy Drinks are aggressively marketed toward teens and young adults, who tend to guzzle the beverages in order to obtain a caffeine high that produces a short burst of energy.

Since 2004, the FDA has received at least 37 adverse event reports (AERS) involving Monster Energy Drinks, including at least five people who died over the last year alone. The new class action comes as California health authorities are placing increased pressure on Monster to prove safety claims it has made about its beverages.

The Monster Energy class action lawsuit claims that marketing suggests consumers cannot drink too much, despite the risk of caffeine overdose. Monster advertisements also suggest the drinks provide an energy buzz, which implies the effects of an alcoholic beverage.

5-Hour Energy Lawsuit

5 Hour Energy Drink Death Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

Recent studies have linked the popular 5-Hour Energy drink to serious side effects including heart attacks, convulsions, and at least one case of spontaneous abortion. Over the past four years, 5-Hour Energy has been associated with at least 13 deaths and over 90 adverse event reports (AERS) submitted to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The 5-Hour Energy Lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, are currently accepting potential lawsuits on behalf of individuals who were injured or killed by 5-Hour Energy side effects.

What’s the Problem with 5-Hour Energy?

Over the past several years, American culture has been steadily moving away from grande lattes and super-sized cans toward shrinking micro drinks to get their energy fix. Manufactured and marketed by Living Essentials LLC, 5-Hour Energy drinks are sold in tiny 1.9-ounce containers known as ‘shots.’ While product labeling does not include information about the amount of caffeine contained in each shot, a recent investigation conducted by Consumer Reports indicated that it could be as high as 240 mg. per serving. According to current FDA regulations, caffeine is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use in soft drink-type beverages at levels up to .02%, or about 71mg per 12oz serving.

According to a recent article published in the New York Times, at least 90 AERS were filed with the FDA over 5-Hour Energy since 2009, including 30 incidents that involved serious injuries. The Times noted 13 deaths associated with 5-Hour Energy, the reports of which were submitted to the FDA by the manufacturer, Living Essentials LLC.

5-Hour Energy Side Effects

Research published in the medical journal Pediatrics found a number of disturbing trends concerning the potential health risks of 5-Hour Energy and other similar beverages, especially among the younger consumers who most often drink the products. Side effects commonly associated with 5-Hour Energy have been reported to include:

  • dizziness
  • irritability
  • nausea
  • nervousness
  • jitters
  • allergic reactions including rash, hives, itching, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, swelling of the (mouth, face, lips, or tongue)
  • diarrhea
  • shakiness
  • trouble sleeping
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • severe fatigue from withdrawal
  • breast shrinkage in females

The risk of these complications is significantly increased in younger consumers with the following health conditions:

  • epilepsy
  • seizures
  • diabetes
  • cardiac abnormalities
  • mood and behavioral disorders
  • users of certain prescription medications

America’s Obsession with 5-Hour Energy

In 2011 alone, American consumers spent nearly $1.5 billion on energy shots (the lion’s share of which were 5-Hour Energy) – more than 17 times the $73 billion they spent in 2006. So what’s the allure of 5-Hour Energy? For many, it seems to be the false promise of endless energy with just a few sips. The problem is that 5-Hour Energy packs all the punch of its full-size competitors in less than two ounces, and many consumers find themselves drinking more than one at a time to keep themselves satisfied.

Energy Drinks Could Poison Children: Study

Reports to poison control centers regarding energy drinks and kids under 6 years old are alarmingly high, according to a new study presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2014. Children who consume the beverages may suffer adverse reactions including tremors, seizures, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and erratic heart beats (arrhythmias). Click here to learn more.

The 5-Hour Energy Lawyers at Schmidt & Clark, LLP, represent consumers around the country who have been injured by 5-Hour Energy side effects. If you would like more information about how to file a 5-Hour Energy Lawsuit, please fill out our Free Confidential Case Evaluation at the bottom of this page. If we determine that you have a valid claim, compensation may be available to you for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay nothing unless we achieve a favorable outcome in your case. Contact us today to learn more.

5-Hour Energy Drink Linked to 13 Deaths

5 Hour Energy Drink Death Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

November 15, 2012 – Federal health regulators from the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) have launched an investigation into the popular 5-Hour Energy drink after it was linked to at least 13 deaths over the past four years. According to the FDA, since 2009 there have been 90 adverse event reports (AERS) filed with the administration over 5-Hour Energy, more than 30 of which were ultimately determined to be ‘serious or life-threatening.’ Side effects of 5-Hour Energy have been reported to include heart attacks, convulsions, and at least one case of spontaneous abortion.

What’s the problem?

Manufactured and marketed by Living Essentials LLC, 5-Hour Energy drinks are sold in tiny 1.9-ounce containers known as ‘shots.’ While product labeling does not include information about the amount of caffeine contained in each shot, an investigation conducted by Consumer Reports indicated that it could range from 6 mg. in their 5-Hour Energy Decaf bottles to more than 240 mg. in their 5-Hour Energy Extra Strength bottles.

And while 240 mg. may sound like a lot of caffeine per serving, a tall cup of premium coffee contains about 260 mg., making the notion of caffeine overdose from 5-Hour Energy a troubling one. Dr. Marc Gillinov, a cardiac surgeon at the Cleveland Clinic, told CBSNews.com that it would take at least 10 grams of caffeine to die from an overdose.

5-Hour Energy isn’t the first energy drink to be investigated by federal health regulators. Last month, the FDA announced that it was looking into the deaths of five people who had consumed Monster Energy drinks since 2004. A recent high-profile lawsuit was filed by the parents of Anais Fournier, a 14-year-old girl who allegedly died after drinking two Monster Energy beverages within 24 hours. Fournier’s parents said they were suing Monster for failing to warn consumers of the potential health risks associated with their products.

Despite the growing controversy surrounding the beverages, energy drinks continue to be ravenously consumed by youths and young adults around the country. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, energy drink-related emergency room visits increased tenfold from 2005 to 2009. In 2008 and 2009, for example, there were 16,053 and 13,114 ER admissions related to energy drinks, respectively. Approximately two-thirds of these cases were deemed to be ‘adverse reactions.’

Over half the visits were by consumers between the ages of 18 and 25 who had used energy drinks along with drugs or alcohol. Men were more likely to be admitted due to a combination of energy drinks and alcohol or illicit drugs, while women’s visits were usually linked to energy drinks and prescription medications.

In a statement, Living Essentials LLC claimed that 5-Hour Energy is a “compact-sized energy shot intended for busy adults,” and not an energy drink or beverage. The company said that each shot contains approximately the same amount of caffeine as a cup of coffee, and that under no circumstances should it ever be consumed with alcohol. Additionally, they stressed that 5-Hour Energy should be taken no more than twice a day, with shots spaced several hours apart.

Monster Energy Drink Blamed for Five More Deaths

Monster Energy Drink Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

October 23, 2012 – Monster Energy Drinks have been cited in the deaths of at least five people over the past year, according to adverse event reports (AERS) submitted to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. The reports, which are voluntarily submitted and considered to be allegations only, said the victims consumed Monster products shortly before they died. In response to these developments, shares of Corona, CA.-based Monster fell to their lowest point since 2008.

What’s the problem?

The five fatalities reported over the past year, as well as a sixth in 2009, were among 37 AERS involving Monster Energy Drinks submitted to the FDA since 2004. The administration has stated that it is currently in the process of working on draft guidelines to ensure that energy drinks are safe.“FDA continues to evaluate the emerging science on a variety of ingredients, including caffeine,” Shelly Burgess, an FDA spokeswoman, said in an e-mail.

The new adverse event reports are being used by the parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl who sued Monster Beverage Corp. last week, claiming their daughter died from caffeine toxicity after consuming the company’s popular energy drinks. According to the complaint, which was filed in Riverside, CA. state court, Anais Fournier had consumed two Monster drinks shortly before she died. For its part, Monster has said that its products did not cause the death, and that it intends to vigorously defend itself against the lawsuit.

“Over the past 16 years Monster has sold more than 8 billion energy drinks, which have been safely consumed worldwide,” the company said in an e-mailed statement. “Monster does not believe that its beverages are in any way responsible for the death of Ms. Fournier. Monster is unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks.”

Energy drinks such as Monster and Red Bull aren’t bound by FDA guidelines for caffeine the way sodas are, due to the fact that energy drinks are classified as dietary supplements. According to the lawsuit, Monster doesn’t list the amount of caffeine it contains on the can, only that it contains the ingredient along with the plant extract guarana and the amino acid taurine.

According to a 2008 report issued by researchers at the Johns Hopkins University, energy drink labels should be updated to include warnings about the high amount of caffeine contained in them, and the potential side effects associated with elevated caffeine levels in the blood. Another study published earlier this year in the Medical Journal of Australia found complications associated with energy drinks to include heart palpitations, tremors, cardiac and neurological toxicity, as well as bizarre hallucinations and seizures.

New York State to Investigate Energy Drink Advertising Claims

Energy Drink Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink Lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

August 30, 2012 – New York attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman has subpoenaed three large energy drink manufacturers as part of a forthcoming investigation into whether the companies are misleading consumers about the health risks their products pose. Also at issue is whether the companies – Monster Beverage, PepsiCo and Living Essentials – violated federal laws by promoting their energy drinks as dietary supplements rather than foods, which are regulated far more strictly. The safety of energy drinks has become a hot-button issue as of late, as increasing concerns have been raised about the safety of the popular beverages, which have recently been linked to serious side effects such as dizziness, irritability, nausea, nervousness, heart problems, and severe allergic reactions.

What’s the problem?

In addition to the concerns over energy drink manufacturers’ questionable marketing tactics, New York state authorities are also attempting to determine whether all of the ingredients that go into the beverages are properly disclosed. Investigators are also examining whether some ingredients, like black tea extract and guarana, may contain caffeine that is not indicated on drink labels.

Attorney General Schneiderman issued the subpoenas last month, and more companies could face requests for information in the future. The three main beverages currently targeted by the investigation are Monster Energy Drink, PepsiCo’s AMP, and 5-Hour Energy, which is manufactured and marketed by Living Essentials.

In 2010, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) sent warning letters to four companies that sold alcohol-containing energy drinks – Charge Beverages, New Century Brewing, Phusion Projects and United Brands – regarding safety concerns associated with their products. Yet despite the growing controversy surrounding more traditional energy drinks, the FDA has not investigated makers of these products, which are designed to provide a quick, caffeine-fueled jolt.

The popularity of energy drinks has exploded in recent years, particularly among younger consumers. They have been a source of growing profits for beverage companies, even as demand for traditional sodas has declined. Earlier this year, Coca-Cola was considering a buyout of Monster, but with a market capitalization of over $10 billion, the deal was ultimately deemed a bit too costly for the soft drink behemoth.

Studies have shown that nearly 30% of college students consume energy drinks on a regular basis. The high levels of caffeine they contain have the potential to lead to cardiovascular symptoms, especially in younger consumers who are sensitive to caffeine. Between 2005 and 2008, the Drug Abuse Warning Network reported a tenfold increase in emergency room visits linked to energy drinks. About half of the hospitalizations involved consumers between the ages of 18 and 25 who had used alcohol or other drugs.

“Consumption of energy drinks is a rising public health problem because medical and behavioral consequences can result from excessive caffeine intake,” the Drug Abuse Warning Network report concluded. “A growing body of scientific evidence documents harmful effects, particularly for children, adolescents and young adults.”

Sen. Durbin Requests Stricter Regulation of Caffeinated Energy Drinks

Energy Drink Lawsuit

Please Note: Schmidt & Clark, LLP, is no longer accepting energy drink lawsuits. If you feel that you may have a potential case, we urge you to contact another law firm adequately suited to handle your case.

April 17, 2012 – In a letter sent to FDA Commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg earlier this month, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) asked the administration to increase its enforcement efforts against highly-caffeinated energy drinks. Durbin maintains that these products pose very real health risks, citing the 10-fold increase in energy-drink related emergency room visits between 2005 and 2009. Side effects commonly associated with energy drinks include dizziness, irritability, nausea, nervousness, heart problems, and severe allergic reactions.

What’s the problem?

According to current FDA regulations, caffeine is Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use in soft drink-type beverages at levels up to .02%, or about 71mg per 12oz serving. Sen. Durbin’s letter claims that many energy drinks contain more than 160mg per 16oz. serving, not counting the caffeine from other substances such as guarana. The letter goes on to state that because of “glossy marketing tailored to youth,” the popularity of energy drinks has exploded among adolescent populations.

Additionally, Sen. Durbin is requesting that federal health regulators:

  • take a closer look at the slew of energy drinks on the market to determine whether the beverages are properly categorized as dietary supplements;
  • enforce the FDA’s regulatory limit on caffeine levels in beverages that are not dietary supplements, and;
  • address any potential safety concern posed by ingredients other than caffeine (such as guarana and ginseng).

Durbin’s letter ultimately focuses on the issue of marketing energy drinks, both in terms of its influence on young consumers as well as its impact on the regulatory status of the beverages. In its recent actions against caffeinated alcoholic beverages and breathable foods, the FDA scrutinized the marketing efforts of companies selling those products. As of this writing, the administration has yet to respond to Durbin’s letter.

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