(WASHINGTON) — A caffeine mist marketed as “breathable energy” may become a health hazard for teens and young people, according to doctors and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.
On Thursday, Schumer asked the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to review the product’s safety.
Aeroshot Pure Energy, made by Breathable Foods in Cambridge, Mass., comes in a lipstick-size tube designed to spray a mist of caffeine and B vitamins that dissolve in the mouth, according to the company. Each tube contains 100 mg of caffeine, which is about the amount contained in a large cup of coffee. The product will be sold over the counter and is set to hit store shelves in Boston and New York City next week, at $2.99 per tube.
The company promotes the product as easy to use, calorie free and compact enough to fit inside a jean pocket or carry-on luggage. Schumer says Aeroshot’s availability and the company’s marketing could sway teens and young adults to mix it with alcohol, creating a potentially dangerous combination.
In a statement, Schumer called the product a “club drug” that is “designed to give users the ability to drink until they drop.”
Bruce Goldberger, professor and director of toxicology at the University of Florida, told ABC News that while the product is not the same as such illegal “club drugs” as ecstasy, the marketing and availability of the product is “troublesome.”
“It’s a very clever marketing, obviously reaching out to young people who consume energy drinks,” Goldberger said. “If you put this into the wrong hands, it could have serious consequences.”
Goldberger said he worries that the product, which will be sold with no age restrictions, could easily fall into the hands of children, for whom 100 mg of caffeine could have serious health consequences. He also said there is no way to guarantee that users won’t inhale the caffeine mist directly into their lungs, which would be dangerous.
Aeroshot has about half the amount of caffeine contained in alcoholic energy drinks like Four Loko and Joose, which were banned by the FDA in 2010 after reports that the drinks had sent some users to the hospital.
In a statement on the company’s website, Breathable Foods CEO Tom Hadfield said the product had none of the “mystery chemicals” contained in other energy drinks and was not supposed to be mixed with alcohol. Also, “Aeroshot is not intended for use by children and is not marketed to children,” Hadfield wrote.
The FDA plans to review information about the product and determine if it meets federal safety and labeling standards, according to a spokesperson for the agency.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio
Jen Christensen, CNN
Susie East, CNN
Dora Scheidell, KSTU
Stephan Rockefeller, EastIdahoNews.com