Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Are you afraid of the Monster?

If you have more common sense than a rock, you should be fine.  Monster and some other energy drinks are getting a bad rap lately because of the people who abuse them.  What is happening, is that the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is doing an investigation into Monster and the energy drinks they have.  The FDA puts a cap on how much caffeine a soft drink can have but does not have a cap on caffeine in energy drinks.  Monster has taken full advantage of this.  Sure, I hate Monster ever since I found something in my can and when I reported it to Monster they wouldn't tell me what it was but gave me 5 free Monster drinks, but I need to defend them a bit on this.

There are warning labels on video games, suggesting that people who are prone to epileptic seizures from overexposure to lights and colors, could have a seizure while playing video games.  I've never heard of these people, but the warning is there for a reason.  It is there so they can cover their ass, in case someone plays a game from them and has a seizure. Now, as much as it may suck, people who are prone to this condition, don't play video games.  So, why wouldn't someone who has a medical condition that is stimulated by caffeine, stay off of things with caffeine?

The first American produced energy drink actually dates back to 1949 when someone wanted to make a nutritional soft drink with vitamins instead of the sugar.  Since then they have gained ground and market share in America.  They also promote and advertise to a younger age group, with 66% of their drinkers being between age 13 and 35 years old.  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_drink)

This brings me to the latest news story from last December, where a 14 year old girl had died from drinking two 24oz. Monster energy drinks within a 24 hour period.  Her parents are attempting to sue Monster, even though research shows that this girl had a pre-existing heart condition. I should feel bad that a 14 year old girl died from drinking energy drinks, but she drank two 24oz energy drinks within 24 hours.  Since she most likely didn't stay up all 24 hours, you could be save and say that she likely slept for at least 8 of those hours.  So, 480mg of caffeine in 16 hours.  That seems a bit much for a 14 year old girl, and even too much for me! 

Now, what is difficult to find is, more information on this girl.  My wife and I started to think about it.  But why would you need or feel the urge to drink 2 energy drinks, unless you needed a lot of energy for something.  The report says that the girl was at the mall.  So, she went someplace, in the mall and purchased these two large energy drinks.  Here is the thing, pictures of her show her to be average weight.  Let's say that this may place her from 85 to 90 pounds.  So, even on the high side, this 90 pound girl is walking in the mall and has 480 mg of caffeine.  Let's not forget that she has a heart issue already.  So, how dumb was she?  I know, the hate mail will start coming in, but let's be honest here, did anyone in her family tell her that she had a medical condition?  Did her parents tell her to lay off or ease up on the soft drinks, coffee or energy drinks?  Did they tell her that if she has too much caffeine or sugar she could die?  If not, why not?  Clearly if you have a medical condition where one of your heart valves doesn't work properly all of the time, and could be triggered by caffeine, you would lay off of the caffeine right?  What was going through this girl's mind??  Even if she wanted to rebel against her parents, she could drink one of these drinks, but two?  It wasn't over 24 hours, because no malls are open 24 hours.  This was likely over 4-6 hours and even then, that is a 90 pound girl, drinking 380mg of caffeine in 6 hours. 

So, what do we do?  Well, the FDA is looking into this and while I think that making all energy drinks need an ID check before you purchase and make them 18 or over, it would not stop parents from giving them to their kids.  Or, even worse, having kids or anyone with knowledge about how these drinks could harm them, using them.  It could just be me, but I don't think there has ever been a case where a person has used chewing tobacco, and then sued the company, even though there is a warning that it could cause cancer.  Do people sue the cigarette companies for giving them cancer?  Yes.  Does it work? No, because they have a warning label saying that it can cause cancer.  If you have a medical condition or are sensitive to anything, please refrain from items and activities that would complicate things.

****Update*** as of the legal papers, of the lawsuit on October 24th, the information is that this girl went to the mall, purchased a Monster energy drink and then purchased the second one, the next day, at the same mall.  It was within a 24 hour period, but it was two days at the mall.  

No comments:

Post a Comment