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Senator Takes Regulatory Action Against Potentially Dangerous Energy Drinks

Recent years have witnessed the continued emergence of what consumers refer to as energy drinks. As their names suggest, energy drinks offer a temporary boost of adrenaline by introducing consumers to stimulating substances such as caffeine, guarana and ginseng. Of significant concern, however, is the increasing amount of such substances and their negative effect on select populations. In response to a recent influx of adverse events, Senator Richard Durbin has requested that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) take regulatory action against energy drinks.

Energy drinks have experienced an exponential growth in recent years. The most popular of which include 5 Hour Energy, KMX of Coca-Cola, 180 of Anheuser-Busch, Hansen’s Energy, and Adrenaline Rush of PepsiCo’s SoBe. However, Austria-based Red Bull remains the market leader according to market research statistics. The current U.S. domestic market may exceed $10 billion.

Growth of the current worldwide market for energy drinks is estimated at 17.8%. Major producers have focused heavily on marketing, targeting the promotion of energizing concepts, result-oriented marketing and product positioning. Each of which have helped to establish energy drinks as one of the most popular stimulants consumed by younger populations.

Unfortunately, concern has steadily increased over the amount of understudied and unregulated ingredients contained in energy drinks. Such ingredients have been linked to adverse health events in populations that consume them on a regular basis. According to a study published in the medical journal of Pediatrics, “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.”

Of particular concern, is the amount of caffeine that energy drinks contain. Caffeine is generally recognized as safe for use in cola-type beverages at levels up to .02%. However, opponents of energy drinks suggest that increased amounts may serve as a potential danger to those who consume it. Subsequently, Sen. Durbin wrote a letter to the FDA acknowledging that certain energy drinks contain 160 mg/16 oz, nearly triple of that found in soda.

Based on a report issued by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Sen. Durbin maintains that energy drinks pose potentially serious health risks, and that the consumption of energy drinks has been linked to a 10-fold increase in emergency room visits between 2005-2009.

Sen. Durbin’s letter serves as a formal request for the FDA to conduct an investigation as to whether or not energy drinks are properly marketed as dietary supplements. He further requests that FDA enforce its regulatory limit on caffeine levels in beverages that are not dietary supplements, and also address any potential safety concerns posed by ingredients other than caffeine.

Further complicating the ambiguous status of energy drinks is the recent death of a Maryland girl. Anais Fournier, who already had an underlying heart condition, consumed two 24-ounce energy drinks at the mall last December. The 480 milligrams of caffeine contained in the two energy drinks was nearly five times the limit that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. The following day, Anais went into cardiac arrest. Here condition remained critical for nearly a week, until she was finally pronounced dead on the sixth day. Doctors acknowledged that Anais sufered from caffeine toxicity that induced a heart attack.

The unfortunate circumstances witnessed in this case, along with several more similar stories, have become a catalyst for concern. U.S. health professionals are seeing a more than a 1,000 percent increase in hospital emergency room visits involving energy drinks since 2005, according to a Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality study.

Do I Have an Energy Drink Lawsuit?

The trial lawyers at The Senators (Ret.) Firm, LLP have decades of experience navigating through complex legislative and regulatory issues and litigating high stakes cases all over the nation. Our law firm focuses on the representation of plaintiffs in energy drink lawsuits. We are currently accepting new cases in all 50 states.

If you or a loved one has been injured after consuming an energy drink, you may be entitled to financial compensation. For a free case review, please click the link below or call toll free 24 hrs/day 1-800-773-0849.

Categories: Product Liability
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