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Warning: Caffeine Powder is quickly Bringing a Lethal Risk to the Public

 

We are all familiar with health questions raised about high doses of caffeine in energy drinks and sodas. But now caffeine powder is bringing a much more lethal risk to the market as it makes deadly headlines. It is being sold as an unregulated dietary supplement online, and in local stores.

The NY Times reported the death of a local Ohio high school senior who was staying up to finish projects for graduation. He was found dead in his home after using caffeine powder purchased online. Cause of death was acute caffeine toxicity, causing cardiac arrhythmia and seizure.

Soon after, another young man died after mixing the powder with water, choosing it as a healthier alternative to Mountain Dew. Parents of both young men have called for removal of the product from the market. Calls for regulation are spreading across the country, as individual states consider legislation to take the powder off the market.

In its pure form, caffeine powder is explosively powerful

Most of us are used to scooping ground coffee into the coffeemaker in the morning. But caffeine powder is a completely different story, when you consider one teaspoon of this powder is equal to 16 to 25 cups of coffee. When this powder is added to an individual drink, only a miniscule amount can be used. Mistakes in dosage quickly become deadly.

Ten grams, about a tablespoon, is a lethal dose for an adult. A 100-gram package delivers as much caffeine as 400 “tall” cups of Starbucks coffee, 1,250 Red Bulls, or 3,000 cans of Coke. The cost is about ten dollars. Consumers, who are already comfortable with coffees, caffeinated sodas, high caffeine energy drinks and products like NoDoze, might see this powder as a low cost way to create their own caffeinated drinks. But health advocates say the product quickly becomes lethal without proper measuring tools and a complete awareness of the dangers.

This product needs a poison label if it is going to be on store shelves. Either removing the product from the market or developing regulations such as those used in pharmacies is critical. Overall, we should all do as much as we can to push for controls on caffeine powder, making our family, friends, communities and schools aware of just how lethal it can be. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a statement saying pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant and small amounts can cause an accidental overdose. They have advised consumers to avoid the product but have not yet taken It off the market.

As always parents have to be aware of what’s out there, pushing for appropriate legislation and sharing the information wherever possible. To me this is one more issue where the marketplace shows little regard for consumer safety.

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