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Stop advertising Energy Drinks to children

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In a world where our experts are telling us that caffeine and other stimulants contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents (American Academy of Pediatrics position), should we allow manufacturers of energy drinks to market to our children; to make it appear cool for older children and sound "healthy" to the younger ones? I certainly hope not. You can help me and others who are trying to stop this by signing the petition below.

Join Senators Markey, Durbin, Rockefeller and Blumenthal in letting the manufacturers know that we are behind them. For more on their letter to the industry:

Here are some scary facts of energy drinks:

Energy Drink sales reached 10 billion last year which is great for them, but at what cost to our kids (1)? Based on stats from 2011, children (<12), adolescents (12-18), and young adults (19-25) make up half the energy drink market (2). Energy drinks have been associated with severe adverse effects, and children, especially those with medical conditions (cardiovascular, renal, seizures, diabetes, etc.) may be at a higher risk for these serious consequences (2). 

The American Academy of Pediatrics outlines potential problems of energy drinks among children and adolescents including possible negative effects on: cardiovascular health, ADHD, eating disorders, caloric intake and diabetes, and bone mineralization (2).

Children should not consume more than 2.5 milligram of caffeine per kilogram body weight or a100 milligrams per day for adolescents (2). Children should also not consume caffeine on a regular basis. Studies out of Germany, Ireland, and New Zealand report energy drink related incidents including: liver damage, kidney failure, respiratory disorders, agitation, seizures, psychotic conditions, rhabdomyolysis, tachycardia, cardiac dysrhythmias, hypertension, heart failure, death, confusion, vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, jitteriness, racing heart and agitation (2).

Companies are not required by the FFDCA to list their product’s caffeine content, which can lead to varying and/or excessive amounts (2). The FDA only allows up to 71 mg of caffeine in a 12 oz serving of soda but no such limits are set for energy drinks. Energy drinks not only contain unregulated amounts of caffeine, through herbal stimulants such as guarana, kola nut, yerba mate, and cocao, but also taurine, vitamins, herbal supplements, and sugar sweeteners marketed to improve energy, weight loss, stamina, athletic performance, and concentration (2). 

Among other conclusions, the American Academy of Pediatrics concludes that energy drinks have no therapeutic benefit and may put some children at risk for serious consequences due to the “unknown pharmacology of various ingredients included in such drinks, combined with reports of toxicity (2).”

Some Energy Drink companies warn consumers that their product may not be safe for children, however their “marketing strategies include sporting event and athlete sponsorships, alcohol-alternative promotion, and product placement in media oriented to children, adolescents, and young adults (2).”

In the US, the FDA considers caffeine as generally recognized as safe in concentrations of less than 200 milligrams per kilogram (2). Other counties have varying restrictions, with Sweden banning the sale of Energy Drinks to children less than 15 years old (2). Some energy drinks have up to 500 mg of caffeine in them, way over the limit that is safe for children.

1. Meier B. More Emergency Visits Linked to Energy Drinks. The New York Times. January 11, 2013.

2. Seifert SM, Schaechter JL, Hershorin ER, Lipshultz SE. Health Effects of Energy Drinks on Children, Adolescents, and Young Adults. Pediatrics. 2011;127(3):511-528. Available at: Accessed March 11, 2013.

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