Lawmakers Question Energy Drink Execs After Death Of Md. Teen

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Christie Ileto joined WJZ's News Team in the fall of 2012. She was...
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WASHINGTON (WJZ) — Energy drink companies come under fire as state lawmakers spotlight the dangers of caffeine-rich products to minors.

Christie Ileto explains this comes following the death of a Maryland teen whose family alleges she died after drinking two energy drinks.

Energy drink companies played defense Wednesday in Washington. A panel of lawmakers questioned execs from Monster, Rockstar and Red Bull about health risks and if they’re pitching their drinks to young kids.

Energy drink companies insist they don’t market to minors, many of them arguing their labels discourage consumption by children.

“Safety is our number one concern, consumer safety,” said one.

Companies argue their drinks are safe but Dr. Marc Leavey at Mercy Medical Center says it’s the caffeine content that can cause grave health risks for young kids.

“The most common side effect of these energy drinks is palpitations, the feeling that the heart is beating out of the chest,” Leavey said.

The parents of a 14-year-old Maryland girl allege drinking Monster contributed to her death.

A recent government report shows more people are heading to the ER after consuming energy drinks, doubling in the last four years from 10,000 to 20,000.

To keep his son from being part of that statistic, one father says he keeps all energy drinks out of the house.

“It’s just something that we don’t consume,” said Geoff Norbert.

Last month, the American Medical Association voted to ban the marketing of energy drinks to kids and teens under 18.

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