FDA Warning for Deadly Powdered Caffeine Risks

July 21, 2014 — The FDA is warning consumers not to use powdered caffeine products due to the risk of a life-threatening overdose.

According to the FDA:

“Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose. Parents should be aware that these products may be attractive to young people.”

The warning was issued after Logan Stiner, an 18 year-old high school student from Ohio, died after consuming caffeine powder at his home one morning in May. The powder caused him to suffer a deadly seizure and cardiac arrhythmia.

Many young people underestimate the toxicity of caffeine because it is so common. Caffeine powder is a popular ingredient in dietary supplements and energy drinks.

Unfortunately, the difference between a “safe” dose and an overdose is very small. It is also nearly impossible to accurately measure powdered caffeine with common kitchen measuring tools. The product Stiner used recommend only taking 1/16 of a teaspoon. A full teaspoon could contain about 3,200 milligrams of caffeine.

Another problem is that massive doses of caffeine are easily available in retail stores and over the internet. For example, Amazon.com is selling 1-pound bags of 100% pure caffeine powder for just $15. According to the FDA, one teaspoon contains as much caffeine as 25 cups of coffee.

Symptoms of Caffeine Overdose

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Erratic or irregular heart rhythm
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Stupor
  • Death

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