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Md. Could Become 1st State To Ban Energy Drinks To Minors

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Lethal liquid. That's what some people are calling energy drinks like Monster. The family of one Maryland teen blames the beverage for her death.

Monique Griego has more on how they're now asking Maryland lawmakers to ban certain people from buying them.

The proposed bill would ban minors from buying any kind of energy drink. If passed, Maryland would become the first state in the nation to do so.

An easy way to get a quick boost, or a death trap too dangerous for kids to consume?

"They're marketing a dangerous product to our children," the family's attorney, Kevin Goldberg, said.

Goldberg represents the family of Anais Fournier. In 2011, the 14-year-old from Hagerstown went into cardiac arrest and died after drinking two 24 ounce cans of Monster in two days. The teen's cause of death--cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity.

Fournier's family was with Goldberg in Annapolis Friday for a hearing to ask state lawmakers to pass a bill, banning the sale of the beverages to minors.

"Because these energy drink companies are targeting their marketing at our children and they're not warning of the dangers of energy drinks, we have children throughout the United States who are dying," Goldberg said.

The FDA is continuing to investigate various claims nationwide that the drinks contributed to an illness or death. Still, some believe the energy drink industry is being unfairly targeted.

Representatives from the beverage and service industry also attended the hearing.

"The fact of the matter is, there is more caffeine in a standard coffee house coffee than there is in an energy drink," Ellen Valentino said, Maryland and Delaware Beverage Association.

"We are being inundated with laws and enforcement problems and we have enough to enforce right now," said Kirk McCauley, WMDA.

Monster has denied any wrongdoing, previously telling WJZ it's unaware of any fatalities caused by its drinks.

Fournier did suffer from an underlying heart condition. Her family believes this bill will save lives because other children may similar health risks and not even know it.

"What they want more than anything is to make sure that nobody else has to bury their child," Goldberg said.

If the hearing committee passes the bill, it would then go to the full House for consideration.

Fournier's family has also filed a lawsuit against Monster. It is still pending.

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