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article imageShould powdered caffeine be banned? Special

By Tim Sandle     Jan 30, 2015 in Health
Washington - Six U.S. senators are calling on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the trade of powdered caffeine – caffeine in its pure form. This is due to the associated risks.
The senators are led by Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). The politicians are calling on the FDA to ban the retail sale and marketing of pure caffeine. The request has been made in a letter to FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg. The letter comes after a Citizen Petition demanding the same action from the U.S. regulator.
The petition was started by the parents of two young men who died after ingesting too much powdered caffeine. According to the FDA, one teaspoon of pure caffeine, in the powder form, is equal to the amount contained within 25 cups of coffee. This equates to in excess of six times the recommended daily ‘safe’ amount of caffeine for an adult.
In letter, the senators’ write:
“On May 27, 2014, three days before his high school graduation and months before enrolling at the University of Toledo, 18-year-old Logan Stiner died from ingesting too much caffeine powder. One month later, Wade Sweatt, a 24-year-old electrical engineer in Georgia, died of cardiac arrest after accidentally ingesting too much caffeine powder. These young men had bright futures ahead of them, but they lost their lives because of poorly labeled, easily acquired bulk powder caffeine products unsuited for retail sale.”
Senator Brown notes that the FDA has issued a warning to consumers about the dangers of powdered caffeine; nonetheless various products are available to buy both in stores and via the Internet. No special requirements are needed in order to make a purchase.
On the FDA website, the Agency states: “Symptoms of caffeine overdose can include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and death. Vomiting, diarrhea, stupor and disorientation are also symptoms of caffeine toxicity. These symptoms are likely to be much more severe than those resulting from drinking too much coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages.”
Why would people take caffeine in the powder form and why is the drug popular among young people? Some teens and young adults are using the powdered caffeine to boost workouts, lose weight or stay up late.
Senator Brown outlined the reason for the ban: “As long as this dangerous substance remains legal and readily available online and in retail stores, consumers will be exposed to its unreasonable risks.”
He went on to add: “Powdered caffeine sold in bulk is markedly different than energy drinks, energy shots, or other retail products, such as pills, that contain caffeine. Because of the risk powdered caffeine poses to consumers, these products merit swift and significant action by FDA.”
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