Family Sues in Caffeine Powder Death Tragedy (March 10, 2015)

An Ohio family has sued  powdered caffeine distributor Hard Rhino.The complaint in the suit was filed late last week.

The young man’s brother found him dead in his bedroom May 27, days before he was scheduled to graduate high school. Lorain County Coroner Stephen Evans eventually ruled that he died of an irregular heartbeat and seizures brought on by high levels of caffeine in his blood.  The lawsuit papers claim that the companies mentioned in the suit knowingly sold a potentially deadly product without a properly warning their customers. The companies labeled their powdered caffeine products as “dietary supplements,” allowing them to escape FDA oversight.

From the FDA earlier in December of 2014:


FDA Consumer Advice on Powdered Pure Caffeine

(In English and Spanish / En inglés y español)

Key Advice

The FDA is warning about powdered pure caffeine being marketed directly to consumers, and recommends avoiding these products.  In particular, FDA is concerned about powdered pure caffeine sold in bulk bags over the internet.

The FDA is aware of at least two deaths of young men who used these products.

These products are essentially 100 percent caffeine. A single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee.

Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose. Parents should be aware that these products may be attractive to young people.

Symptoms of caffeine overdose can include rapid or dangerously erratic heartbeat, seizures and death. 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.

Who should know

All consumers seeking caffeinated products should be aware of the potentially high potency of these powdered pure caffeine products. Parents should recognize that teenagers and young adults may be drawn to these products for their perceived benefits.

What to do

  • The FDA advises consumers to avoid powdered pure caffeine.
  • It is nearly impossible to accurately measure powdered pure caffeine with common kitchen measuring tools and you can easily consume a lethal amount.
  • If you believe that you are having an adverse event related to caffeine, stop using it and seek immediate medical care or advice.

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