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Arthur Elk: Energy drinks pose a real health risk

By Arthur Elk

energy-drinksIn the past four or five years, energy drinks have surged in popularity. I have watched as brand names like 5-Hour Energy, Red Bull and Monster have become part of our culture. The supercharged caffeinated drinks are especially popular among teens and young adults.

Unfortunately, the surge in popularity of these products has also seen an increase in emergency room visits associated with energy drinks. A recent survey of the nation’s hospitals was conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The survey found that from 2007 to 2011, the number of emergency room visits involving the beverages more than doubled from about 10,000 to more than 20,000. Most of those cases involved teens or young adults.

The report doesn’t specify which symptoms brought people to emergency rooms. But it calls energy drink consumption a “rising public health problem” that can cause insomnia, nervousness, headache, fast heartbeat and seizures.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is considering requiring these drink to include new health warnings on the labels. In November, the FDA reported that 5-Hour Energy had been linked to 13 deaths and Monster drinks had been tied to five deaths.

I understand that sometimes we all feel a little tired or need a boost of energy. But these energy drinks are a serious health concern, especially for young people, and are not the answer. Consuming such large quantities of caffeine can be very dangerous. New warning labels should be added to these products, but labels can be ignored. More education about the dangers of these products should be done to help prevent any more needless deaths.

If you are the parent of a teen or young adult, please make sure they know the truth about these drinks. Let them know they are not just another fun, safe drink like pop or coffee.

At Elk & Elk, we are very concerned about dangerous products and want everyone to be aware when a new safety issue arises. To find out more about us, visit our website.