July 21, 2014 — Consumers should not use pure caffeine powder due to the risk of life-threatening overdoses, according to a warning from the FDA.
The warning was issued after Logan Stiner, an 18 year-old high school student from Ohio, died at his home after consuming pure powdered caffeine. He had a seizure and severely irregular heart rhythm.
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.”
In reality, there is a very narrow difference between a “safe” dose and an overdose. Just one teaspoon contains about 3,200 milligrams of caffeine, which might be enough to kill someone. For comparison, one cup of coffee contains about 100 milligrams of caffeine.
Another problem is that teenagers can buy caffeine powder in bulk from retailers or over the internet. On Amazon.com, for example, a 500-gram package of 100% pure caffeine sells for about $15.
The product Stiner used recommended only taking 1/16 of a teaspoon. However, the FDA warns that accurately measuring a dose is nearly impossible with common kitchen tools. Taking just a little bit too much could result in a deadly cardiovascular event.
Symptoms of Caffeine Toxicity
- Rapid heartbeat
- Erratic or irregular heart rhythm
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