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Are energy drink makers concealing products' risks?

National trends indicate that people in New Haven and elsewhere are drinking less soda than they used to. In their place, energy drinks have become popular. Sales of these high-caffeine beverages jumped 17 percent last year as more people have come to rely on them to make it through the day. But some critics say that the companies behind these products are not being honest about the effects of consuming that much caffeine in light of five deaths that have occurred since 2004 which have been blamed on Monster Energy Drink.

One of those deaths has led to litigation against Monster Beverage Corp., the maker of the popular beverage Monster Energy Drink. A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against the company by the family of a 14-year-old girl who died after drinking two 24-ounce cans of Monster in a 24-hour period.

An autopsy revealed that the girl died of a combination of caffeine poisoning and a medical condition that weakened her blood vessels. Her parents say that Monster Beverage failed to warn them or their daughter that its drink contained risks to people with certain medical conditions.

The company puts a warning label on its containers that says Monster is not recommended for children or people with sensitivity to caffeine. The company claimed it was "unaware of any fatality anywhere that has been caused by its drinks."

One issue with these products could be their relatively appearance on the market. The Food and Drug Administration limits the caffeine content of soda to 0.02 percent, but energy drinks currently have no FDA limit.

Source: Ct Post, "FDA: 5 reported deaths with Monster drink," David Dishneau, Oct. 22, 2012

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