Energy Drink Ban? Convulsions and Deaths Reported, FDA Investigating Claims

Religious officials in Chicago are urging local politicians to consider banning or limiting access to energy drinks to anyone over 21 following reports that some energy drinks have been linked to several deaths around the country.

Chicago Alderman George Cardenas is insisting that officials implement a city-wide ban of the sale of energy drinks to anyone under the age of 21, according to reports from The Chicago Sun-Times.

Cardenas, who is also a member of Chicago's Health Committee, explains that he would rather see the ban implemented soon and then hold discussions with experts about the issue after.

"You start with that premise because it brings more attention to the problem," Cardenas told The Sun-Times. "It's a more serious conversation. If we just hold hearings, people won't take it seriously."

Other carbonated drinks and sports related beverages would be exempt from the ban. The main target is drinks that contain very high levels of caffeine such as Monster energy drinks, Red Bull and 5-hour energy.

Recent reports revealed that the FDA was conducting an investigation over claims that several deaths were the result of consuming large quantities of these types of beverages.

Earlier this month, a report was published that stated that the popular 5-Hour Energy drink was related to 13 deaths over the past four years in the United States.

Manoj Bhargava, the CEO of the company that produces 5-Hour Energy drinks, has denied that his product is responsible for any of the deaths reported. All allegations against his company are "false" and "ridiculous," he said.

"This is false, it is taking little pieces of information and turning it into something false," Bhargava told

Since 2009, 5-Hour Energy has been cited in nearly 90 complaints filed with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a recent article in The New York Times stated. More than 30 of those complaints cited that the energy drinks caused serious or life-threatening injuries such as heart attacks, convulsions and even miscarriages in the case of pregnant women.

The FDA has come out and stated that even though complaints have been filed, that is not a final determination into the product's safety. The agency did add that it is conducting an investigation into those claims, though.

"[The] FDA as a scientific public health agency, must carefully investigate and evaluate all possible causes before deciding whether the product actually caused the medical problem," the FDA said in a statement.