Durbin Asks FDA to Regulate Caffeine Levels in Energy Drinks

Durbin's request came after after learning the story of a 14 year-old girl from Maryland who died of a cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity

By Nesita Kwan
|  Thursday, Apr 5, 2012  |  Updated 9:08 PM CDT
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Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin calls for the FDA to take action and regulate the caffeine and other additives in energy drinks after a 14-year-old girl has a heart attack.

Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin calls for the FDA to take action and regulate the caffeine and other additives in energy drinks after a 14-year-old girl has a heart attack.

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Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin this week sent a formal letter to the Food and Drug Administration, asking the agency to regulate caffeine and investigate whether other additives in the drinks are safe.

Durbin's request came after after learning the story of a 14 year-old girl from Maryland, Anais Fournier, who died last December of a cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity after drinking two 24-ounce Monster energy drinks in a 24-hour period.

"She had a common heart condition. It wasn't life-threatening, thousands of people have them, but it turns out they were so packed with caffeine it killed her, I've asked the Food and Drug Administration to take a look at this," Durbin said Thursday.

The caffeine in two cans of Monster contains the equivalent of 14 12-ounce sodas. That's five times what's recommended for teens and children. When the stimulant overwhelms the human body, the heart can go into abnormal, fatal rhythms.

Monster Energy Company "vehemently" denied that drinking two cans of the product would case a death from "caffeine toxicity."

Durbin wasn't surprised by the company's response.

"I know they're going to deny it. The industry always denies any danger. What I'm asking for is a clear labeled warnings so that individuals, parents and children can know where to draw the line," he said.

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