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Chicago Aldermen To Hear Testimony On Proposed Energy Drink Ban

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Chicago Considers Banning Energy Drinks

Bloomberg via Getty Images

Cans of Monster Beverage Corp. energy drinks have seven times the amount of the caffeine in a 12-ounce cola. They have been cited in five deaths and one non-fatal heart attack.

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Chicago's City Council will hear testimony Tuesday in connection with a proposed blanket ban on energy drinks within city limits.

Ald. Ed Burke (14th) wants to ban the sale and distribution of some of the most popular drinks, such as Monster and Full Throttle, because of health concerns connected to the brands. An ordinance proposed earlier this year sites FDA data claiming at least five deaths since 2009 can be attributed to Monster Energy drinks.

"Kids are drinking more and more of them," Burke said in January. "And so Chicago ought to be on the forefront of public awareness and education about the potential dangers of these products."

Dr. Howard Axe, president of the Chicago Medical Society, is scheduled to testify about risks associated with energy drink usage. Axe also will note a spike in emergency room visits related to energy drinks.

Also expected to testify is Wendy Crossland, mother of 14-year-old Anais Fournier who died after consuming two 24-ounce cans of an energy drink within 24 hours.

In a press conference Monday in Chicago, Monster Beverage hit back at a lawsuit alleging its energy drinks were responsible for Fournier's death, saying that no blood test was performed to confirm that the girl died of "caffeine toxicity."

The company also said that evidence obtained as part of the lawsuit's discovery process shows the girl regularly had energy drinks and frequented Starbucks without incident.

This summer, the New York state attorney general's office subpoenaed Monster as part of an investigation into how energy drinks are made and marketed. Subpoenas were also sent to Living Essentials, which makes 5-Hour Energy shots, and PepsiCo Inc., which makes AMP.

Monster has stood by the safety of its drinks, which it says contain 240 milligrams of caffeine for a 24-ounce (680-gram) can, compared with 330 milligrams in a 16-ounce (453.5-gram) cup of Starbucks coffee.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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