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Monster Energy Could Be a Killer

Five reported Monster-related deaths and a lawsuit could prompt more regulation of the energy drinks market.

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By May Wilkerson

10/22/12

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The highly-caffeinated beverage "Monster Energy" may have been responsible for five deaths in recent years, according to reports released by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Last week, a woman from Maryland, whose teenage daughter died after drinking Monster over two days, sued Monster Beverages for failing to warn about the dangers of its products. Her daughter died in December of “cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity,” exacerbating a pre-existing heart condition, states the lawsuit. A spokeswoman for the company, Judy Lin Sfetcu, has claimed that the products didn't cause the girl's death and that Monster Beverages was “unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks.” A typical 24-ounce can of Monster Energy, like those consumed by the late teenager, contains 240 milligrams of caffeine—what you'd find in about two and a half cups of coffee. The stimulant, although safe for adults in moderate doses, can pose a risk to those with underlying conditions such as heart disorders. The release of death filings related to Monster Energy may increase pressure on Congress for better regulation of the energy drink industry—which tends to market to young people through flashy, colorfully-named products like Red Bull, Rock Star, and “shots” like 5-hour Energy. According to a 2011 SAMHSA report, energy drink-related hospitalizations are on the rise—with energy overdoses landing a reported 16,000 people in the ER in 2008.

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