February 11, 2013
Washington state politicians have introduced new legislation to ban energy drinks for anyone under 18 years of age. H.B. 1807, introduced by Reps. Judy Warnick (R), Mike Hope (R) and Hans Dunshee (D), would impose fines to those who violate the proposed law.
The bill calls for a fine of no more than $50 for an initial violation and up to $500 for multiple infractions. The ban would target any drink with 80 milligrams or more of caffeine per nine fluid ounces that contains methylxanthines, B vitamins or herbal ingredients.
One of the bill’s sponsors, Rep. Mike Hope (R), is also currently in hot water with supporters over his support for new gun control legislation in the state that would ban private firearm sales.
Similar actions dictating to citizens what they can or can’t ingest has been seen most famously in New York under Mayor Bloomberg, who banned large soda drinks. Now it appears Washington politicians have caught the nanny state bug.
Washington state made headlines in 2010 when it banned the alcoholic energy drink “Four Loko” after nine Central Washington University students became sick after ingesting large amounts of the drink. Prior to the incident, the Food and Drug Administration issued warning letters to several alcoholic energy drink manufacturers, saying the caffeine added to their beverages is an “unsafe food additive.”
Opponents of the legislation say that the most dangerous ingredients and additives in the food supply continue to be ignored by most of the government and find regulating caffeine as going too far. Aspartame, a substance proven to cause gastrointestinal, neurologic and psychological problems continues to be added to thousands of products. Despite independent long-term tests on the effects of genetically modified corn on rats producing massive tumors and organ damage, the USDA still only conducts 90-day tests and denies any danger. The chemical preservative tBHQ, tertiary butylhydroquinone, a petroleum-based product found in ‘Silly Putty’ is still in McDonalds McNuggets.
Chicago Alderman Ed Burke last month introduced an ordinance similar to H.B. 1807 that would ban the sale of energy drinks containing 180 milligrams of caffeine which would end sales of many 24-ounce energy drinks.