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Report raises concerns over safety of energy drinks

July 07, 2014
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The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has warned that excessive consumption of energy drinks may have grave consequences and even result in death. Quoting documents obtained by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the CSPI disclosed 17 previously unreported deaths linked to caffeinated beverages, known as energy drinks.

These cases bring the total number of deaths associated with energy drinks to 34 since 2004. Of all these, 22 were linked to consumption of 5-Hour Energy, while 11 have been linked to drinking Monster. One case was linked to Rockstar energy drink, figures showed.

Moreover, the CSPI revealed that energy drinks have been linked to 56 previously undisclosed cases of severe adverse health effects that were reported to the government through the FDA's adverse event reporting system. These included high blood pressure, convulsions and heart attacks.

Experts think that because of their extremely high concentration of caffeine, energy drinks can cause symptomatic arrhythmias. According to Dr. Stacy Fisher, director of complex heart diseases at University of Maryland School of Medicine, these previously unreported deaths raise the level of concern about the adverse effects of such products.

The CSPI has called on the FDA to introduce requirements for warning labels on energy drinks. In addition, it said that manufacturers should be required to cap caffeine levels at 0.02 percent, or 71 milligrams per 12 ounces, which is the maximum amount considered safe in cola-style drinks.

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