It’s cheap and easy to buy in bulk from online retailers, but just a spoonful of this white powder can be more deadly than cocaine or heroine and is claiming the lives of teenagers across the country. Pure powdered caffeine is growing in popularity, but so too are accidental overdoses. Pure powdered caffeine is essentially 100 percent caffeine and can cause severe physical reactions if too much is ingested.
Even though the FDA has issued a warning about powdered caffeine, it is currently unregulated as it is deemed a “dietary supplement”, making it easy for young people to get their hands on it. Logan Stiner, a high school senior died after using caffeine powder to boost his energy. But the 18-year-old misjudged the dosage, which is incredibly easy to do, and died of acute caffeine toxicity.
“Symptoms of caffeine overdose can include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and death,” warns the FDA. “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.”
Just one teaspoon of powdered caffeine is equal to 28 cups of coffee, or 79 cans of cola, far above the 4 to 5 cups of coffee recommended as the daily amount for healthy adults. That’s why the FDA “recommends avoiding these products” and says that if consumers choose to use the product, 400 mg is the maximum daily dose of the powder that should be consumed. However, people would need a food measuring scale to properly weigh the amount and not rely on common kitchen measuring tools.
“The difference between a safe amount and a toxic dose of caffeine in these pure powdered products is very small,” the FDA states on its website. “Furthermore, safe quantities of these products can be nearly impossible to measure accurately with common kitchen measuring tools. Volume measures, such as teaspoons, are not precise enough to calculate how many milligrams of caffeine are in the serving size.”
With such risks, why are people using powdered coffee? It’s for its perceived energy jolt. It is seen as a way to get an energy boost and is particularly appealing to young people. It could be used to help with a workout, weight loss or to help with a long night of studying.
The FDA sent letters to the distributors of caffeine powders to put on record that that the product can cause serious and fatal health risks to consumers. However, the products are still widely available. With such deadly consequences, lawmakers are attempting to regulate it so that it can only be sold to individuals who are 21 years or older. But so far, there are no restrictions.
Share this important information with the parents you know.