Less than a year ago, Anais Fournier, a fourteen-year-old girl from Maryland, died from cardiac arrest after drinking two Monster energy drinks. The family says the autopsy showed evidence of caffeine toxicity. Now the family is trying to sue Monster for not adequately warning consumers about the risks of drinking its products.
A 24oz can of Monster holds about 240 milligrams of caffeine which is about 3 times the amount of Red Bull. The FDA requires that soft drinks have no more than 71.5 milligrams of caffeine per 12 ounces, but since energy drink providers sell their drinks as dietary supplements, the FDA cannot regulate the amount of caffeine they hold.
Anais’s mom, Wendy Crossland, said: “I was shocked to learn the FDA can regulate caffeine in a can of soda, but not these huge energy drinks. With their bright colors and names like Monster, Rockstar, and Full Throttle, these drinks are targeting teenagers with no oversight or accountability.”
Monster has said that they will fight the lawsuit and that they see no evidence that holds their drink responsible for anybody’s death. The drink also has a warning on their label that says it is not recommended for children under the age of 12 or people sensitive to caffeine. The FDA is doing an investigation regarding the allegations that Monster’s heavily-caffeinated drinks can cause adverse reactions and have so far reported that there is no proof that the drinks have caused illness or death.
It will be interesting to see how the case continues and what further evidence will be found. Regardless of what the verdict is, I think it should be a reminder of how careful we should be when it comes to our hearts. Fortunately, after a few minutes the pain went away and I took it easy for the rest of the afternoon. In hindsight, I probably should have gone to the hospital and had it checked out, but like most eighteen-year-olds, I thought I was invincible.
The truth, of course, is we are not invincible. The heart is a very susceptible organ and caffeine can have serious effects on it. Like many others I enjoy my morning and sometimes afternoon coffee. But like with about anything else, moderation is the key. We need to take care of our hearts.