Md. mother to attend City Council hearing on energy drink ban - Philadelphia News, Weather and Sports from WTXF FOX 29

Md. mother plans to attend Chicago City Council hearing on energy drink ban

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

On Tuesday, the mother of a 14-year-old girl plans to tell the Chicago City Council that her daughter died suddenly after consuming two Monster energy drinks—and that those drinks should be banned.

The California-based company launched a pre-emptive counter-attack.

They're now battling in Chicago because Tuesday's public hearing is the first step as the City Council considers banning Monster-style energy drinks.

As Anais Fournier lay in a coma for six days and then died in 2011, friends posted a series of tributes on YouTube and elsewhere. What made her case such a sensation was a Maryland medical examiner's finding of the cause of death: "cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity." The caffeine allegedly came from two 24-ounce cans of Monster consumed in the 24 hours or so before the teenager's heart failed.

On the eve of her Mother's scheduled testimony to the City Council, Monster sent a team of lawyers, doctors, lobbyists and PR people to Chicago. They denounced the medical examiner's finding in the death of Anais Fournier and they rejected any connection between their beverages and sudden death.

"That's just not so, because caffeine does not cause arrhythmia, does not cause heart attacks," Monster's lawyer Daniel Callahan says.

"When you're talking about a $20 billion a year industry, they know, they know full well that if Chicago does something, it'll spread throughout the whole nation," says 14th Ward Alderman Edward M. Burke.

While Alderman Ed Burke's proposed banning Monster-style energy drinks, some experts, including Rush University Medical Center cardiologist Dr. Clifford Kavinsky, say there just isn't enough scientific evidence. In contrast to the doctors hired by Monster, though, who claim the beverages are perfectly safe, Dr. Kavinsky gives his heart patients a stern warning.

"I counsel my patients very clearly in terms of consuming caffeinated beverages or other stimulants when they have arrhythmia of the heart," Dr. Kavinsky says. "Don't do it. Don't do it."

Senator Dick Durbin said he wants the Food & Drug Administration to regulate Monster and other energy drink makers. Durbin said the FDA told him it is investigating why hospital emergency room visits linked to these drinks doubled in four years, hitting nearly 21,000 in the last year in which we have numbers.

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