West Virginia health officials are warning that several children have fallen ill after using MiO Energy, a liquid water enhancer that is used to turn normal water into an energy drink.
The MiO energy drink warning was issued by the West Virginia Poison Center, indicating that at least four children have fallen ill after drinking Mio in just the first two and a half months of 2013.
MiO Energy Liquid Water Enhancer is made by Kraft Foods, coming in small bottles that can be squirted into containers of water.
A FAQ on the company’s website recommends that consumers use about half a teaspoon, but doesn’t say how big the glass of water should be. It claims that the ingredients are recognized as safe for children, but advises against children consuming it due to the caffeine.
There are two other versions, MiO Fit and original MiO, that are not energy drinks and do not contain caffeine. MiO Energy also contains guarana extract, taurine, gensing extract, vitamin B6 and vitamin B12.
The safety warning was issued to local schools, health care providers and health departments after two illnesses occurred within one week. The poison center reported that the victims, ages 5 to 12, drank too much MiO at once. Neither the nature of their illnesses, nor whether they diluted MiO in water, was reported.
The warning comes amid increasing scrutiny over the risk of health problems with energy drinks, especially among children and young adults who are typically encouraged to consume large amounts of the beverage.
Research has found that caffeine overdose can result in heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias and death after doses ranging from 200 to 400 milligrams, and many brands contain that much in each can.
Popular energy drinks like Monster, Rock Star and Red Bull have been aggressively promoted to teens and young adults in recent years, causing individuals to consume multiple cans in short periods of time to provide a “caffeine buzz” or induced burst of energy.
The FDA has received at least 37 adverse event reports involving Monster drinks since 2004, including at least five deaths reported over the past year and a sixth reported in 2009.
In October, a Monster Energy wrongful death lawsuit was filed by the family of a 14 year old girl who died from a cardiac arrest that was allegedly caused by a caffeine overdose after consuming two 24 ounce cans within a 24 hour period.