Report: Energy drinks harmful to kids and teens; Regulation insisted

02/18/2011 // Greensboro, NC, USA // Personal Injury Lawyers News // Nicole Howley

San Francisco, CA—Energy drinks have become a popular source of energy for many people, including children and teens; but a new report has highlighted how dangerous the drinks really are. A report in the medical journal Pediatrics, warned that the energy drinks can cause heart palpitations, seizures, strokes and even sudden death.

According to information from the San Francisco Chronicle, the pediatrics report asserted that energy drinks should be “regulated as stringently as tobacco, alcohol and prescription medicines.”

Energy drinks contain ingredients that can enhance the jittery effects of caffeine, which can include other side effects including nausea and diarrhea; as well as more serious symptoms like seizures, hallucinations, rapid heart rate, chest pain, high blood pressure and irritability.

The long-term use and effects in kids, particularly those with medical conditions, still needs further research to determine the dangers associated with consuming energy beverages.

But, it doesn’t look like the energy drink market is going anywhere fast. Although energy drinks were introduced two decades ago, it is the fastest growing U.S. beverage market. About one-third of teens and young adults reportedly consume energy drinks regularly, according to the report.

The medical report follows a recent crackdown on energy drinks containing both alcohol and caffeine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The alcoholic energy drinks, like Four Loko, are banned in several states because of several cases of alcohol overdoses. Although the report focuses on nonalcoholic drinks, it reiterates the dangers of drinking energy drinks with alcohol.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that 677 cases of energy drink overdoses and side effects were reported nationwide from October through December of last year. So far, 331 cases were reported in 2011, which mostly involved children and teens. A quarter of the 2011 cases involved kids younger than 6.

But, Maureen Storey, senior vice president of science policy at the American Beverage Association asserts the report “does nothing more than perpetuate misinformation” about energy drinks.”

Many of the drinks contain much less caffeine than coffee from popular coffeehouses… Caffeine is safe, but those who are sensitive to it can check the labels,” Storey said in a written statement.

Legal News Reporter: Nicole Howley-Legal news for product liability lawyers.

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