Sen. Brown wants powdered caffeine banned

Jessica Wehrman in the Washington Bureau is reporting the Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown is calling for the FDA to ban powdered caffeine. Here’s her report:

 

Logan Stiner should be a freshman at the University of Toledo right now studying chemical engineering. He should be preparing for and taking his final exams for the fall semester.

Instead, he is gone, dead after ingesting too much powdered caffeine just days before his high school graduation.

On Tuesday, his parents came to Washington, D.C., with a simple plea: Please ban the product that caused his death.

“He was bright, he was funny,” said his mother, Katie Stiner, in a meeting with Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “He was his brother’s best friend and our best friend.”

Logan was an 18-year-old senior at Keystone High School in LaGrange, Ohio, near Cleveland, when he died in May 27. He took the caffeine powder because “he could, and because he had a busy week, and because he thought that it was safe,” Katie Stiner said.

“With this stuff right there, after this powder hits your blood stream, there’s nothing anybody can do to get it out of your bloodstream for 24 hours,” said Jim Sweatt, whose son Wade Sweatt died in June of a caffeine overdose. Wade Sweatt was in a coma for 11 days before dying. “There’s no hope for you if you take overdose of this stuff no matter who gets to you.”

After his death, Brown andBlumenthalsent a letter to U.S. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg urging the FDA to ban the retail sale and marketing of powdered pure caffeine.

“Given that very small amounts of powdered caffeine can cause severe adverse events including death, it is time for the FDA to use its authority to ban the sale and marketing of this dangerous product,” they wrote. “When a ‘single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee,’ Americans deserve clarity on the dangers of powdered caffeine, which is still being sold at stores and on the internet, as well as better oversight of this potentially fatal product.

The FDA recommended consumers avoid buying such products, but Brown and Blumenthal say the response is “inadequate.” They want it banned altogether.

Brown and Blumenthal say they’ll continue pressing the FDA until the products are banned.

“We need the FDA to step in and do the right thing here,” Brown said.


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