Major U.S. energy drink manufacturer, Monster Energy Company, faces allegations in a California court for wrongful death and product defect claims after 19 year-old Alex Morris died in his home last year from cardiac arrest. According to his surviving family, Morris consumed two or more Monster energy drinks every day for the three years leading up to and on the day of his death. An autopsy taken of Morris’ body revealed that his heart stopped due to a condition known as cardiac arrhythmia. This same condition has been closely associated to individuals who ingest higher than recommended levels of caffeine, which for adolescents like Morris is around 100mg per day.
The average 16-ounce Monster energy drink contains approximately 160mg of caffeine – making each canned beverage nearly twice the daily recommended amount, assuming you do not splurge on the Mega Monster size that packs 240mg of caffeine into each 24-ounce can. The caffeine content of these drinks or any other warnings, however, cannot be found on Monster’s products or website. When asked last year why Monster Energy left out the caffeine content on its products, Monster replied that it had no legal requirement to do so and that the actual numbers were not meaningful to most consumers.
The number of individuals admitted to U.S. emergency rooms for caffeine overdoses increased from 1,128 in 2005 to a staggering 16,055 in 2008. According to a national behavioral statistics organization, 56% of these hospital visits were made by adolescents between the ages of 12 to 25.
Alex Morris, his surviving family, and the thousands of individuals hospitalized each year by caffeine overdoses are all examples of why the amount of caffeine found in energy drinks is meaningful. Companies like Monster Energy who conceal negative or dangerous conditions in the products they sell and profit from should be held accountable to the consumers who become injured by their use.