Pennsylvania Senator Robert Casey has written to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to urge the agency to ban powdered caffeine, a dietary supplement.
Sen. Casey said he is concerned about the dangers of caffeine powder, CBS 3 (Philadelphia) reports. A single teaspoon of the supplement is equal to 25 cups of coffee. Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency room physician, says teenagers and young adults use the powder as a weight-loss aid and a workout supplement, and as a stimulant when “[t]hey’re trying to study longer hours.” Dr. Glatter says, “Everyone should be on the same page about how dangerous this substance is and that it should not be used in any form in any way.”
Powdered caffeine has been linked to at least two deaths. The FDA issued a warning to consumers about the dangers of powdered caffeine and recommended avoiding the product. But Sen. Casey says powdered caffeine should be banned altogether, according to CBS 3.
Rapid or erratic heartbeat, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea and disorientation are symptoms of caffeine overdose or toxicity. The FDA advises anyone who experiences these symptoms to seek medical attention. The agency warns that symptoms induced by pure caffeine are likely to be much more severe than those resulting from drinking too much coffee, tea or other caffeinated beverages. People with pre-existing heart conditions should not use pure caffeine. According to the New York Times, caffeine’s adverse effects – largely from energy drinks – have been responsible for an increase in emergency room visits, particularly among teenagers and young adults.