Several Democrats critical of the energy drink industry seized on a decision by the American Medical Association opposing marketing the beverages to children Wednesday.
Two groups of Democratic lawmakers issued statements after the news. One group included Sens. Richard J. Durbin of Illinois and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, joined by Rep. Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts. Markey is in the closing days of a special-election race to join Blumenthal and Durbin in the Senate.
"The American Medical Association — a well-respected group on science-based medicine and public health issues representing over 200,000 doctors — agrees that the risks of children and teens consuming highly-caffeinated energy drinks are just too great to ignore any longer,” the members said. “This is an encouraging step and should be a signal to the industry that medical science is not on their side. While the Food and Drug Administration continues to investigate the health impacts of the high levels of caffeine in energy drinks, the companies peddling these products to children and teens should immediately halt their advertising campaigns designed to attract young people to their brand.”
Criticism also came from Commerce, Science and Transportation Chairman Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va.
“Once again, top public health experts are raising concerns about children and young adults consuming energy drinks. We aren’t doing a good enough job of helping our children make healthy choices. I’m concerned that some energy drink industry marketing tactics may be influencing impressionable children. The American Medical Association’s endorsement of a temporary ban on marketing these drinks to young people should be a wake-up call,” Rockefeller said.
In a release sent jointly with Blumenthal, Rockefeller praised his colleague from Connecticut's work on consumer safety issues. Such efforts were a hallmark of Blumenthal's lengthy tenure as state attorney general, often to the ire of the business community.