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Energy Drink Makers Come Under Fire for Potential Health Risks, Deaths

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 energy drink makers under fire about potential dangers to health Jim Mills/PhotoSpin

In its TV ads, a popular energy drink promises to turn you into a superhuman — more or less. It’s an enticing offer, especially for teens and twenty-somethings burning the candle at both ends.

While energy drinks and shots may be the coffee for a new generation, critics say they raise numerous health concerns ranging from increased risk taking, irreversible damage to teeth, and substance abuse, to life-threatening illnesses and sudden death.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) confirmed in Nov. 2012 that it’s investigating the safety of energy drinks containing caffeine and other stimulants and may require regulatory action if evidence of a health risk is found.

The move comes at the behest of a series of letters from two U.S. Senators, Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) and Congressman Ed Markey( D-Massachusetts) last year.

The Congressional letters were sent to the FDA and Federal Trade Commission last April following the death of a 14-year-old Maryland girl, Anais Fournier.

In October 2012, the parents of Fournier filed suit, alleging that their daughter died after drinking two Monster Energy drinks in a 24-hour period. The girl’s underlying heart condition was complicated by caffeine toxicity, according to the death certificate.

The FDA has received reports of 13 deaths and more than 70 cases involving adverse effects requiring immediate emergency care or hospitalization over the last four years specifically involving 5-hour ENERGY. There are similar reports for other brands.

Patient reports detail dozens of symptoms ranging from feeling flushed, dizzy and anxious, depressed or suicidal, to vomiting, experiencing hearing and visual impairments, increased or abnormal heart rate and convulsion, chest pain and cardiac arrest.

In a press statement, the lawmakers cited a new survey of hospitals that said that emergency room visits from 2007 to 2011 related to energy drink consumption doubled from 10,000 to 20,000 visits.

To see the press statement click here http://markey.house.gov/press-release/markey-durbin-blumenthal-quiz-energy-drink-makers-products

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