Los Angeles is trying to become the first city in the United States to place a legal drinking age on energy drinks, following a string of studies questioning certain health side effects involved with these beverages. Los Angeles City Councilman Bernard Parks also hopes to educate adults about the dangers of consuming these highly caffeinated beverages that have been blamed for hypertension and even strokes.
“If you’re in this mode of drinking this energy drink, instead of eating your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and you’re using it to stay up for long periods of time, and you’re not sleeping, you’re in danger of injuring yourself and causing health problems. That’s what we’re concerned about,” Parks told CBS Los Angeles.
On Monday, Parks was ready to present his motion to a committee hearing in the form of a three-step plan that included: educating the public about the dangers of over consuming caffeine-filled energy drinks; regulating the sale of energy drinks for people under the age of 18 by selling them from “behind the counter”; and encouraging the city attorney to join in on his health crusade. The ban on energy drinks could also include disallowing Los Angeles city workers from consuming energy drinks while on the job.
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said the marketing of dangerous substances such as cigarettes or energy drinks toward children is a big concern for his office. He also said that Parks’ proposal was “a fair thing to look at” and will take time to consider all options. Although the committee did not decide on a decision this past Monday, city officials have been asked to review the proposal and formulate their decision within 30 days.
A recent study of energy drinks containing the unhealthy combination of caffeine and taurine may cause fatal heart rhythm complications by increasing a healthy adult’s heart rate over time. Using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR), German researchers observed the function heart of 18 participants who were asked to consume drinks high in caffeine and taurine. Pictures of each participant’s heart after consuming the energy drinks showed an increased rate of heart contractions compared to before they consumed the energy drink.