Caffeinated chewing gum raising health fears

Updated: Apr 06, 2013, 12:54 PM IST

Washington: A new line of caffeinated gum by Wrigley’s, which promises to sooth commuters on the run, has raised concerns among health experts about the proliferation of such products.

Last month, Wrigley announced that they were introducing a caffeine-infused gum, called Alert Energy Gum, which with its 40 mg of caffeine in every stick of gum has the same amount of caffeine as approximately half a cup of coffee.

In recent years, caffeine has appeared in a wide range of products from lollipops to bottled water to shower soap.

But the rise of highly caffeinated products has raised concerns about the health risks, especially in energy drinks where caffeine doses can reach up to hundreds of milligrams per can, ABC News reported.

Earlier this month, a group of 18 doctors and public health experts petitioned to the Food and Drug Administration to protect kids and teens from highly caffeinated energy drinks, writing that, youth with higher caffeine intake commonly report troubling neurological symptoms, including nervousness, anxiety, jitteriness, and headache.

Dr. Donna Seger, executive director of the Tennessee Poison Center and professor of Clinical Medicine at Vanderbilt University, said that 40 mg of caffeine per stick of gum is unlikely to sicken a teenager or an adult, but a tiny tot can be affected if they manage to chew a few too many sticks.

She said that the nervous system is not developed till a person is in their twenties and all of these stimulants can affect an underdeveloped system.