The risks of energy drink consumption among children and adults have been well documented, however, poor labeling and lack of education continues to be a cause of the over-consumption of these beverages.
A more recent study from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention revealed that 20 percent of teenagers who consume energy drinks believe they are safe. However, one energy drink can contain as much as 500 milligrams of caffeine, which is about as much as five cups of coffee. Additionally, many energy drinks contain extra stimulants like guarana and Ma huang.
Although caffeine intake among children between 2 and 11 years old decreased between 1999 and 2010, the number of children consuming caffeine from coffee and energy drinks has increased.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 20,780 people visited the emergency room in 2011 for difficulties involving high-caffeine drinks. Eleven percent of these patients were hospitalized; the total number of emergency room visits involving energy drinks doubled between 2007 and 2011.
Most studies suggest that adults have no more than 400 milligrams of caffeine a day and children should have no more than 200 milligrams per day. With energy drinks containing up to 500 milligrams, many are wondering why these drinks are not being regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
As stated in Medical News Today, a professor from Iowa State University suggests that poor labeling and a lack of education about the ingredients on the drinks label leads parents and children to believe the drink is safe. Energy drink companies use a warning on the supplement facts panel to bypass the inclusion of stimulants on their nutrition labels. Although the FDA has proposed making over nutrition labels so that they include more information, manufacturers still wont be required to report caffeine and other stimulants in their products.
Some states, including Maryland, are actually proposing banning or restricting the sale of energy drinks to children as a result of the potential health risks.
Kevin Goldberg, a Silver spring injury lawyer and founding partner of Goldberg Finnegan, drafted House Bill 1273 in March 2014 and asked Montgomery County Delegate Kathleen Dumais to sponsor it. If the bill is passed, Maryland would be the first state to ban the sale of energy drinks to minors.