The Fournier’s lawsuit alleges that the Monster Energy company failed to warn of the dangers associated with drinking their product. Soon after the lawsuit was filed, DAWN, a public health surveillance system run by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in its report (January 10, 2013) titled “Update on Emergency Department Visits Involving Energy Drinks: A Continuing Public Health Concern,” said that “medical and behavioral consequences can result from excessive caffeine intake.”
Monster believes that DAWN hasn’t done its caffeine math. The beverage company argued that its Monster Energy drinks generally contain about 10 mg of caffeine per ounce from all sources, so a 16-ounce can of Monster Energy contains only half the caffeine of a 16-ounce cup of coffee.
But Monster doesn’t readily reveal other ingredients that are lurking in its products. Nor does it have to: their drinks have been classified by the FDA as dietary supplements rather than food. A 16-ounce can of “Monster Energy Blend” also contains a host of other substances including 5,000 milligrams of guarana. When asked about this amount by Lawyers.com, a Monster spokesperson said the FDA had not at that time identified any problems with the safety of their products’ ingredient combinations.
Referring to the DAWN report, a SAMHSA spokesperson said that these energy drinks have high amounts of caffeine as well as “other additives” including “vitamins, taurine, herbal supplements, creatine, sugars and guarana, a plant product containing concentrated caffeine. “Of course,” added the spokesperson, “coffee has caffeine.”
Janet still doesn’t know just how much gaurana is too much, but she believes that the energy drinks contributed, if not caused, her son’s death. “My son passed away August 10, 2012, in his sleep. He was 33 years old and very healthy, and there is no history of heart disease in our family,” says Janet. “I know he was drinking a lot of Monster drinks to keep working extended hours. I blame Monster because there is no other explanation.”
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Lastly, Susan says her 19-year-old son consumed a few Monster Energy and Red Bull drinks on a daily basis. “He had open heart surgery due to a corroded mitral heart valve,” she says. “When I was at the hospital with him, I talked to a few nurses about my suspicions - about Monster Energy Drink Deaths and Hospitalizations. They have seen an increase in emergency room visits, mainly by young men consuming too many energy drinks.”
Attorneys filing lawsuits on behalf of parents whose children have suffered Monster Energy Drink Injury say that adults too need to be aware of the adverse events associated with consuming these products.