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FDA Warns Consumers about Powdered Caffeine After Teen Dies

Update Date: Jul 19, 2014 11:11 AM EDT

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a warning about the potential dangers of consuming powdered caffeine. The agency was prompted to investigate powdered caffeine after a healthy teenager from Ohio died from eating the product.

According to the county coroner, 18-year-old Logan Stiner from LaGrange, OH died on May 27 after he ate powered caffeine. His autopsy revealed that he had ingested more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter in his blood, which is equivalent to 23 times higher than the amount that would be measured in a typical coffee or soda drinker.

"I don't think any of us really knew that this stuff was out there,'' said Jay Arbaugh, the Keystone Local Schools superintendent reported by Boston.

Powdered caffeine is sold, usually online, as a dietary supplement. People who use it typically add it to drinks prior to working out or as a means of managing weight. When people use the product according to the directions, it will not cause an overdose. However, since the product is so concentrated, a heaping tablespoon of powder is enough to send someone to the hospital.

"The difference between a safe amount and a lethal dose of caffeine in these powdered products is very small," FDA spokeswoman Jennifer Dooren said according to NBC News.

Symptoms of a caffeine overdose include a rapid or erratic heartbeat, vomiting, seizures, diarrhea and disorientation. Typically, the amount of caffeine in coffee, tea or soda can cause small side effects such as tremors or anxiety.

''The thing about caffeine is just because you see it every day, just because it's naturally occurring - it comes from a plant - doesn't mean that it's safe," Dr. Bob Hoffman, a New York University medical toxicologist said.

The FDA has stated that it will "consider taking regulatory action."

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