Science

Potential Health Hazards from Energy Drinks, Liquid Hand Soap, and Cycling

Energy Drinks are Growing Threat to Kids, Study Finds

Energy drinks can pose a health risk to younger children who may not be able to handle the amount of caffeine commonly found in these increasingly popular products, according to a new study from the American Heart Association.

More than 40 percent of the 5,156 calls to U.S. poison control centers involved children younger than 6 who had “energy drink exposure” – with some suffering serious cardiac and neurological symptoms, according to the AHA study.

Researchers analyzed October 2010-September 2013 records of the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ database, which tracks calls from the public and healthcare providers to 55 poison control centers in the United States.

In many cases, parents were not aware of their children’s exposure to the drinks. Energy drinks may contain pharmaceutical-grade caffeine and additional caffeine from natural sources that may cause the heart to race and blood pressure to increase.

Some adolescents can suffer serious complications after drinking only 100 mg of caffeine. Younger children could feel effects after drinking even less.

Some energy drinks contain up to 400 milligrams (mg) of caffeine per can or bottle, compared to 100-150 mg in a typical cup of coffee.

Researchers are calling for improved labeling to better reflect caffeine content and potential health effects. They are also pushing for continued efforts to decrease children’s exposures to energy drinks.

“Energy drinks have no place in pediatric diets,” said Steven Lipshultz, M.D., the study’s senior author and professor and chair of pediatrics at Wayne State University.

Related articles:

  • A Dangerous Dose of Energy?
  • A Cupful of Reality
  • Hydrate to Beat the Heat
  • –John Fernandez

    Popular Singer Injured in Bike Accident

    News this week that U2 lead singer Bono suffered serious injuries in a bicycling accident that required surgeries is a startling reminder of the unexpected dangers that can accompany common leisurely sports.

    While Bono’s accident involved a collision with another bicycle rider, the number of cyclists killed by distracted drivers has increased 30 percent, from 56 in 2005 to 73 in 2010, according to a study published in the November-December 2013 issue of the journal Public Health Reports. Men between the ages of 25 and 64 accounted for 83 percent of the cyclist victims, according to the study.

    Whether exercising in a park or on the road, reminders to follow the rules of the road and practice safe exercising are important. For more information about cycling injuries and other exercise safety tips, read:

  • Avoid Common Cycling Injuries
  • Hydrate to Beat the Heat
  • Don’t Get Derailed: Overcoming Exercise Hurdles
  • Travails of Triathletes
  • — Tanya Walton

    Slippery Soap: Warning about Chemical in Liquid Hand Soap

    Correct hand-washing is important to stop the spread of germs and bacteria, but watch out for a common antimicrobial chemical that could be hazardous to your health, according to a new study.  Researchers from the University of California, School of Medicine have put out a warning about triclosan, a popular chemical used in many liquid hand soaps, deodorants and other personal care products.

    Researchers have linked long-term use of triclosan to the development of liver tumors and cancer in mice, according to the study, which was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a medical journal. The findings are viewed as significant because the development of liver toxicity in humans and mice is similar.

    The Food and Drug Administration is also reviewing widespread use of triclosan because of reports linking the chemical to disruption of hormones and muscle functions. What’s more, high levels of triclosan have been found in human breast milk ( 97 percent  of samples)  and  75 percent of tested urine samples.

    “We could reduce most human and environmental exposures by eliminating uses of triclosan that are high volume, but of low benefit, such as inclusion in liquid hand soaps,” said Bruce D. Hammock, PhD, professor at University of California. “Yet we could also for now retain uses shown to have health value — as in toothpaste, where the amount used is small.”

    Related articles:

  • Good Hygiene is Best Protection Against ‘Enteroviruses’
  • Germy Checkpoints: At Home and Work
  • Infection Protection
  • –Sharon Harvey Rosenberg

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