Energy drink fears grow

COUNTRY Women's Association branches around Penrith and the Hawkesbury have thrown their weight behind the association's campaign against energy drinks being available to minors.

Many groups have signed a petition and their names are among those of 13,600 NSW members and supporters on a document presented to the House of Representatives last month by Parkes MP Mark Coulton.

The petition called for a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children under 18.

CWA president Tanya Cameron said children were protected from alcohol and tobacco but not from energy drinks.

"Energy drinks contain high amounts of caffeine mixed with ingredients such as taurine, guarana, glucuronolactone and ginseng which elevate the heart rate and blood pressure and disrupt sleep," she said.

"This is dangerous, especially when these beverages can be bought practically anywhere with no limit as to how many can be obtained at one time.

"The high rate of caffeine found in most energy drinks can cause insomnia, headache, rapid heart rate, nervousness, hypertension, anxiety and diarrhoea, not to mention developing a dependence on caffeine."

The CWA said Australian Medical Association president Steve Hambleton supported their campaign and the AMA found the increase in incidents of caffeine toxicity from energy drink consumption among adolescents alarming.

"We are very concerned about the number of teenagers being adversely affected by energy drinks," Dr Hambleton said.

"The dangers of over-consumption are significant and I think many are unaware of the risks."

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