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article imagePowdered caffeine presents a serious risk

By Tim Sandle     Dec 11, 2014 in Health
An investigation into the death of high school senior has highlighted the dangers of students taking powdered caffeine as a study or workout stimulant.
Logan Stiner was a senior about to graduate from Keystone High School. He was believed to have used powdered caffeine as a workout stimulant. Police found a bag of powdered caffeine next to his body, and a medical examiner determined that Stiner had taken more than a teaspoon, many times more than the recommended dose.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that taking one teaspoon of pure caffeine delivers the same effect to the body as 25 cups of coffee. A new warning from the Agency, reported by Cleveland.com, indicates: "Very small amounts may cause accidental overdose.” The warning notes that it is almost impossible to accurately measure powered pure caffeine with normal kitchen measuring tools. It said anyone with a heart condition should not use the powder.
For about $10, you can buy 100,000 milligrams of caffeine powder online. This is equivalent to more than 1,000 Red Bulls’ worth of caffeine in one package. For instance, on Amazon, an advert for powdered caffeine states:
Caffeine is a powerful stimulant which can increase mental alertness and improve physical energy levels.
It can help decrease physical fatigue, improve clarity of thought and increase focus.
Making it particularly effective for disciplines such as weight training.
200 mg of Caffeine equates to 5 cups of coffee, or 2 energy drinks, or 5 chocolate bars or 8 soft drinks.
Caffeine can give you a fast acting boost that relieves, fatigue and tiredness and helps you feel more awake, and alert.
No health warning is apparent.
In relation to this case, and another recent tragedy, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown this week met with families of two young men who died after overdosing on powdered caffeine. The families presented a petition to the federal government requesting that the bulk powdered stimulant be banned for retail sale.
While the official number of recorded deaths directly attributed to powdered caffeine is relatively small, health agencies estimate that the number of fatalities is actually higher due to the difficulties in sometimes defining the cause of death. In terms of non-fatal incidences, Senator Brown states, as reported on Aseptic Enclosures, that more than 200 people have been admitted to the hospital for caffeine overdoses in Ohio alone.
Currently, although the FDA has issued a consumer warning, powdered caffeine remains on the shelves in drug stores and it is readily available online, with no regulation, warnings or protections. The FDA regulates dietary supplements, such as caffeine powder, differently than "conventional" foods and drug products. Senator Brown and the parents of the two people who recently died think that this status needs to change.
More about Caffeine, powdered caffeine, Drugs, Recreational, Sherrod Brown
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