The FDA has revealed just a scoop of powdered caffeine is roughly the same as drinking a massive 25-28 cups of coffee in a single sitting. Having a spoonful of this devastating white powder—and we are not, in fact, talking about cocaine—can kill you. So how did such a possibly dangerous substance get past the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)? ABC News provides all of the latest information on this shocking news trend this Thursday, April 28, 2016.
Coffee, and consequently caffeine, are essential parts of millions of Americans’ daily mornings. We rely on coffee to help motivate us to roll out of bed, to provide us with energy, and to help us get through the work day. Yet while caffeine can certainly do wonders and bring a smile to our faces, too much powdered caffeine can be deadly.
The FDA is apparently in the process of cracking down on the use of powdered caffeine following recent safety issues. These concerns don’t simply involve a bad case of the jitters. One sad example provided in the press release a couple of years ago is that of Logan Stiner, a senior high school student and capable athlete (a wrestler). He was less than a week away from graduation when he died due to complications from a caffeine overdose.
Stiner’s parents are just two of the many people now fighting for the FDA to completely ban the potentially hazardous substance. His mother revealed that she had no idea that caffeine alone could claim the life of her child. “We didn’t know how much of it was circulating around, didn’t know what it was, never heard of it, and we thought we were pretty in the know,” the high school student’s mother, Kate Stiner, shared in a statement with ABC News.
According to the Daily Beast, the Center for Public Science and Interest (CSPI) is requesting that the FDA take more rapid and intense action in prohibiting the sales of this white powder. The CSPI is a non-profit organization that highlights important issues in the realm of food, nutrition, and human health.
It has been reported by the FDA that copious amounts of the white powdered caffeine can lead to detrimental side effects, including diarrhea, headaches, and vomiting. The substance can be obtained relatively easily through online purchase orders or as a “health enhancement.” Many users of caffeine utilize the powder, much like coffee, for a needed boost in energy. However, the substance—which can be bought as an inhaler, as a liquid, or in its more common powdery form—does not always include warnings about proper usage and potential health effects.
When consumed at the point of becoming an overdose, continues the report, this form of caffeine equivalent to 28 cups of coffee has been found to lead to “rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures, and death.” In addition, one of the more frightening aspects of the substance that has people talking this week is the ease through which people can ingest too much of it. While one local brand encourages consumers to consider 1/32 of a single teaspoon as a safe quantity of the substance, this is not a simple amount to measure. Furthermore, a more commonly referenced mere “pinch” of salt is roughly double the quantity of the 1/32 of a teaspoon, which can easily lead to overconsumption for unwary users.
Following Logan Stiner’s death and other tragic deaths related to powdered caffeine, the FDA has since sent warning letters to the various companies that sell the white powdery substance that can, with improper use, kill you. A consumer advisory has also been extended to the general public to take caution when using caffeine. We may love it in our coffee for an energy boost, but we also need to be aware of the very real health hazards that the powder poses, too.
Where do you stand on this controversial health concern? The CSPI is moving forward in its attempts to urge the FDA to make the potential dangers of powdered caffeine more apparent to consumers. One spokesperson for the non-profit organization thinks that greater regulation is necessary—and soon. “It is astonishing that a substance that is fatal for adults in the amount of two tablespoons is sold cheaply over the Internet as loose powder in large bags without clear warnings,” said CSPI Regulatory Affairs Director Laura MacCleery.