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Docs and Health Experts Urge FDA to Limit Caffeine in Energy Drinks

Beverages linked to increased emergency visits and deaths (Mar. 19)

A group of physicians and public health experts is urging the FDA to take immediate action to protect young people from the effects of caffeinated energy drinks. In a letter signed by 18 medical doctors and public health professors, experts cite research that links the consumption of highly caffeinated energy drinks to rapidly increasing numbers of emergency room visits and even deaths.

“Children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to the serious health risks of these drinks,” said Dr. Patricia Crawford, director of the Atkins Center for Weight and Health at the University of California, Berkeley. “They have no place in the diets of young people.” There are no health benefits and potentially grave health risks, Crawford says.

The letter, which is directed to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg, cites research showing that emergency room visits related to energy drinks have doubled between 2007 and 2011. The letter also documents a number of increased risks for cardiovascular complications and seizures, among other problems, when young people consume the beverages.

San Francisco City Attorney Dennis Herrera, whose office has been investigating the safety of highly caffeinated energy drinks, such as Monster Energy, issued a similar letter, which states that the burden is on the manufacturers to prove that an additive is safe for its intended use based on scientific consensus and published literature.

Source: University of California, Berkeley; March 19, 2013.

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