Energy drinks, even in moderate consumption qualities, can be dangerous as far as health is concerned. Seemingly harmless bright-colored cans of the drinks with interesting names like “Monster” and “Rockstar” can be seen on shelves in supermarkets and are responsible for an outstanding 5,000 reports of dangerous side effects ranging anywhere from heart attacks to death.
In reports, a 19-year-old named Alex Morris is remembered in a case of energy drinks gone deadly when he consumed a Monster energy drink and allegedly went into cardiac arrest as a result. Upon arrival to the hospital, he was unfortunately pronounced dead.
His lawsuit arrived to the conclusion that he would not have had heart failure if he hadn’t had two cans of the energy drink every day for three years before his death, even including the actual day he died. Recently, the family of a 14-year-old (Anais Fournier) also sued the same energy drink company after she drank two 24-ounce drinks and died.
The results are still up in the air, as the lawsuit claimed the two had died of “caffeine toxicity” and the defendants had allegedly failed to warn of the drink’s dangers, however, it was found that there were possibly pre-existing conditions involved.
So, what regulations are required on energy drinks? The FDA does not require these popular companies like “Monster” to list the exact amount of caffeine on ingredient labels. Sounds like some boundaries are being crossed, but is it legal?
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The FDA says yes, because these energy drink products are regulated as dietary food supplements and not food. Because of this regulation, energy drinks may exceed what the FDA has mandated as a limit of 71 milligrams of caffeine in a 12-ounce soda. Energy drinks are legally limitless as it applies to how much caffeine they are permitted to have.
Lawsuits have been filed in the past against these companies on the belief that they market to vulnerable children who will be buying their products, therefore violating laws, practicing unfair competition, and mislabeling products.
These complaints come forth because of campaigning like “Monster” has used where they show pictures from a social networking website showcasing children ages 6 to 11 holding their energy drinks. Aside from just this issue, drinks like “Monster” allegedly sometimes contain potentially lethal ingredients like ECGC, which has been associated to death, acute liver failure, hepatitis, and other injuries.
If children are the most targeted audience in many of these campaign slogans, how do we prevent serious injury from occurring and teaching children to avoid these drinks at all cost for the preservation of their health?
We can listen to information made available by the American Academy of Pediatrics, which voices that adolescents should consume no more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day. It is necessary for parents to pay attention to what their children are consuming and be wary of the symptoms of caffeine toxicity if such a situation should arise.
These could include tremors, nausea and vomiting, rapid heartbeat, diarrhea, hallucinations, fever, and confusion. Excess caffeine can cause constriction of the vascular systems in the heart and brain and serious injury or death could occur as a result.
Prevention is the best way to prevent a lawsuit because somebody you know or love has consumed a product with very few regulations. It is our responsibility to watch for any signs and issues associated with such.