Doctors Urge FDA to Regulate Energy Drinks
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A group of medical professionals have pushed the Food and Drug Administration for stricter regulation of energy drinks, in order to protect young people from the risks of excessive caffeine consumption. “There is evidence in the published scientific literature that the caffeine levels in energy drinks pose serious potential health risks,” wrote the group of 18 doctors, researchers, and public health officials in a letter to the agency. Energy drinks like Monster and 5-Hour Energy are especially popular among children, adolescents, and young adults. The group wants the FDA to restrict caffeine levels, and to require manufacturers to include the caffeine amount on the labels. They argue that these makers are currently failing to meet regulatory requirements to show that their products are safe, and that their marketing aggressively targets young people. The number of ER visits linked to excessive caffeine consumption has risen dramatically—from 10,068 in 2007, to 20,783 visits in 2011. But energy drink companies insist that their products are safe, and contain the same amount of caffeine as coffee. The FDA says it's safe for adults to consume about 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, but some experts argue that most adults can safely consume 600 milligrams or more. A grande cup of Starbucks coffee has about 330 milligrams of caffeine—twice the amount of many energy drinks. Though energy drinks may be safe for adults, they are thought to pose a higher risk for young people.