Death by Coca-Cola. What a way to go.
Or not. Investigators believe a 2-gallon-a-day Coke habit may have contributed to the death of Natasha Harris, a 30-year-old New Zealand woman. The mother of 8 died in February from what appears to have been a heart attack.
Harris was known by her family to eat little and smoke. But she also drank so much Coke that she was suffering from low potassium and caffeine toxicity.
Both of these nutritional imbalances are linked to the excessive consumption of soda, according to the Associated Press. They can also result in abnormal heart rhythms. Doctors therefore think the soda played a part in Natasha Harris' death.
As pathologist Dr. Martin Sage explained to investigators, "it is certainly well demonstrated that excessive long or short term cola ingestion can be dramatically symptomatic, and there are strong hypothetical grounds for this becoming fatal in individual cases."
Coca-Cola Oceania has since noted that death by Coca-Cola is not unique, reports the Ottowa Citizen. Excessive consumption of any liquid, including water, has health impacts.
Nonetheless, Harris' family seems to think Coke should come with a warning label. In the U.S., it probably doesn't have to.
It's common knowledge -- and common sense -- that drinking 2 gallons of Coke every single day will do horrible things to your body. The sugar will rot your teeth and the caffeine can make you shaky.
In many jurisdictions, manufacturers are not required to warn consumers about obvious risks. Bunkbed manufacturers don't have to include a warning to sleep near the wall; knife manufacturers don't have to include a note explaining the product is sharp.
It's thus incredibly likely that soda cans don't need to be plastered with warning labels explaining the possibility of death by Coca-Cola.
- New Zealand woman's Coca-Cola habit cited in death (Associated Press)
- Defects in Warnings (FindLaw)
- Junk Food Addiction: The Next Tobacco-Type Litigation (FindLaw's Injured)