FDA Warns of Powdered Caffeine After Teen Death

By CBS News

Published 07/02 2014 09:54AM

Updated 07/02 2014 10:01AM

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is highlighting the dangers of caffeine, after the stimulant is blamed for causing the death of a teenager in Ohio. 

Just days before his high school graduation, 18-year-old Logan Stiner of LaGrance, Ohio,  was found dead in his home. 

Coroner Stephen Evans ruled the cause of death to be a lethal dosage of pure caffeine. "We had never seen this before," says Evans.

Evans said Stiner, a high school wrestler, was a healthy young man but that the amount of caffeine in his system caused a cardiac arrhythmia and a seizure.
"That's a very dangerous situation and i think it needs to be regulated better."

Pure caffeine powder can easily be bought on the internet in bulk - and because it's labeled as a supplement it's not currently regulated by the FDA.

In one online video, a man shows a package he bought for $10 and the potent white powdery substance.

This bag of pure caffeine shows the recommended dose is  250 mg or one-sixteenth of a teaspoon.  That caffeine is the equivalent of 3 Red Bulls. If someone took just one full teaspoon that would be 50 Red Bulls at once.

CBS News contributor Dr. Tara Narula says that misconception, even for energy drinks, can have serious effects.   "I think that's really the scary thing, is that everybody thinks that caffeine is so safe because it's everywhere.  The message is for parents kids and adults, everybody to understand that when you are using things that are not regulated you don't know how much you are getting, you don't know what else is in there."

Dr. Narula says, for kids especially, the advertising of energy drinks and caffeine supplements can be enticing. "That's a time of your life where you want so desperately to feel good about yourself, to fit in and you think that, hey, I'm taking something that's safe, I'm taking caffeine. They just don't recognize that in these unregulated, unsafe doses, it can be so deadly."

(Don Dahler for CBS Newspath --  Photos provided by Stiner family)

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