Turn the clock back to when energy drinks were first introduced en masse in the American market, and youâ€™d probably find few in Philadelphia who could have predicted how popular these products would become. This explosion in popularity has come even in the face of evidence that these beverages can harm or, in some cases, even kill those that consume them. According to data compiled by the Drug Abuse Warning Network, the number of energy drink-related illness or injury cases that resulted in emergency room visits doubled from just over 10,000 in 2007 to 20,783 on 2011. Skeptics of these findings often argue that energy drinks only pose a threat when taken in conjunction with other substances. Yet The DAWN Report findings dispute this assertion, showing that of the ER visits cited in their study, 58 percent involved patients who only consumed energy drinks.
Experts point to the abundance of caffeine in these drinks as the reason why so many that drink them experience adverse effects. Overconsumption of caffeine has been shown to contribute to several conditions, including:
Because they are marketed as nutritional supplements, energy drinks are not required to follow the caffeine limitations the FDA places on other products. While a 12-ounce can of soda cannot have more than 71 mg of caffeine, some energy drinks have upwards of 500 mg per serving.
Yet despite the potential for consumer injury, the research website Packaged Facts estimates that energy drink sales figures will grow to $21.5 billion by 2017. Yet recently, some of those harmed by energy drinks have begun filing product liability lawsuits against drink manufacturers. These lawsuits, coupled with adverse event reports being investigated by the FDA are continuing to shed more light on this controversial side of the energy drink industry.