State Rep. Laura Fine, who represents part of Evanston, has introduced legislation to ban the sale of energy drinks to anyone under 18 years old.

It’s the newly-seated lawmaker from Glenview’s first bill. It targets energy drinks like 5-Hour Energy, Monster and Red Bull.

The drinks, Fine says, can contain as much as 20 times the amount of caffeine found in coffee through the addition of herbs, supplements, and vitamins, and studies have linked health problems, such as seizures, high blood pressure, irregular heartbeat and potential interaction with medications, to energy drink consumption by teenagers.

“In the past four years, emergency room visits have doubled for people seeking treatment after having an energy drink,” said Fine. “For our children, getting these drinks is as easy as getting a bottle of water at the store. Unfortunately they do not appreciate the potential health risks of consuming high caffeinated energy drinks. Until we can fully understand the effects of these drinks on our children’s health, we should not make these drinks readily available to them.”

Fine has also introduced legislation that would ban the use of Chlorinated Tris in consumer products such as children’s toys and furniture.

This chemical was first introduced as flame retardant in furniture, and recent studies have found it to be ineffective and dangerous, Fine says. The Consumer Product Safety Commission considers Chlorinated Tris to be a carcinogen and found that adding it to furniture nearly doubles the daily dose deemed acceptable to children.

Fine is a member of the Consumer Protection Committee in the House of Representatives. She the ideas for both bills came to her as suggestions from constituents.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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1 Comment

  1. Ban could backfire

    I agree that these drinks can be somewhat dangerous and probably should not be consumed by kids (nor adults).  But there may be problems defining what exactly constitutes an "energy drink."  And, a ban may create the unintended consequence of drawing more kids to these drinks because of the appeal of breaking the rules.  Perhaps education is the best bet.

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