In the past few years, multiple deaths have been linked in the media to the popular beverage Monster Energy Drink. While the company claims not to be responsible, many others aren’t so sure. Now fighting two wrongful death lawsuits, Monster asserts that there is not necessarily a “causal connection” between the consumption of the drink and the fatal cardiac arrhythmia two teens have suffered after consuming the beverage. So who is right?
Monster Energy Drink seems to be trying to develop more positive associations and distance itself from the controversies, with connections to action sports like motocross and stunt riding, as well as popular video games — they’re offering a Call of Duty promotion on their website at the moment — and an upcoming Monster Girl competition (think Monster Energy-branded beauty queens meet centerfolds).
Some have criticized the company’s marketing; however, as being especially geared towards kids, which is viewed as problematic, given that caffeine toxicity may affect children more easily than adults. The National Institute of Health acknowledges that caffeine overdose is a real and potentially fatal condition, and that age and weight may play a role in the severity of the consequences.
The case of Anais Fournier is one of the most well-known of the fatalities: the 14-year-old girl drank two cans of Monster within the course of a 24-hour period, and subsequently went into cardiac arrest. An autopsy determined that she had died of a caffeine-induced heart problem that was probably connected to an inherited condition she suffered from.
While the beverage comes with a serious warning label — “Consume Responsibly — Max one can every four hours with limit three cans per day. Not recommended for children, people sensitive to caffeine, pregnant women, or women who are nursing” — it’s still legal to sell and market these drinks directly to youth. Typically, age restrictions are imposed on potentially harmful substances, like tobacco and alcohol, which is a move some are considering.
Find out more about the potential risks of Monster Energy Drink in our slideshow.