December 6, 2012

Death totals have some students spurning energy drinks

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Written by: Meir Zimmerman
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5-hour ENERGY shots are sold inside the QC bookstore. Photo by Aliza Chasan

While many students are relying heavily on the consumption of 5-hour ENERGY shots and other highly caffeinated drinks to pull all-nighters, the beverages have possible involvement in 18 deaths, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Just weeks after the FDA found that Monster Energy was possibly associated to five deaths, 5-hour ENERGY has come under similar fire. The company is cited for 13 deaths and one case of a spontaneous abortion during the past four years, says a report from The News York Times published last week.

5-hour ENERGY shots are sold inside the QC bookstore. Photo by Aliza Chasan

With finals week steadily approaching, many students tend to rely on highly caffeinated products to get through their work. The recent reports have some students wondering what they are consuming.

“It scares me that I don’t know what sort of crap is in that 5-hour ENERGY stuff,” said Isaac Epstein, a Queens College graduate student. “You can’t even read half the ingredients on the label, so of course it concerns me.”

“It would definitely deter me from resorting to energy drinks in the future,” said junior, Jason Sobin.

Chartwells, the campus food provider, is against energy drinks and does not carry them at their locations around campus. However, the QC bookstore does sell 5-hour ENERGY shots.

There are some students who, despite the recent reports, will continue to guzzle down the beverages in hopes of staying awake and receiving sudden jolts of energy.

“Energy drinks are the only way I get through finals week,” sophomore, Kwauntaul Williams said. “Maybe I will be more careful about how much Red Bull I drink, but there is no way I’m going to stop drinking my drink.”

Philip Gzik, junior, also has no intentions of cutting himself off from energy drinks.

“The way I see it, if you only drink some here or there it shouldn’t be a problem. I would not stop having my occasional energy drinks to get me through a hard day,” Gzik said.

The 5-hour ENERGY website cautions against drinking more than two bottles in a five hour period. 5-hour ENERGY’s parent company, Living Essentials, said when used as instructed, they are “unaware of any deaths proven to be caused by the consumption of 5-hour ENERGY.”

In an interview with ABC News, Sean Patrick Nord, director of the Section of Toxicology at the University of Southern California, said, “If someone is to use multiple cans, that is when we start to see some of the side effects. You’re getting astronomical amounts, 30 to 40 cups of coffee.”

During the past four years, 5-Hour ENERGY has been mentioned in more than 90 filings with the FDA and more than 30 serious or life-threatening injuries.



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