Powdered Caffeine Ban for Minors: Rhode Island Senate Decides on Wednesday

Mar 02, 2016 05:30 AM EST | By Mark Jason Alcala

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Rhode Island lawmakers will vote on Wednesday on the bill seeking to ban the sale of powdered caffeine to minors, according to an article from The Washington Times.

The bill, sponsored by Democratic Senator Elizabeth Crowley of Central falls, cites U.S. Food and Drug Administration which advised consumers against the use of powdered caffeine. Senator Crowley said usage of this powerful stimulant should only be restricted to adults.

Just how dangerous is powered caffeine? According to the FDA warning, powdered caffeine is essentially 100 percent pure caffeine. The product is way more powerful than the ordinary coffee brew available in coffee shops. For comparison, the FDA says that a single teaspoon alone is roughly equivalent to 28 cups of the regular coffee.

Because of its very concentrated form, fatal overdose from powdered caffeine is possible even if taken in very small amounts. Minors taking the product are especially at risk since they were only informed of its perceived benefits by equally misinformed peers, without being properly aware of the real dangers involved.

Caffeine overdose symptoms include rapid and erratic heartbeat, seizures and death. Caffeine toxicity symptoms also include vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, and disorientation. According to the FDA, symptoms of powdered caffeine overdose are likely to be more severe when compared to caffeine overdose from drinking normal coffee, tea or caffeinated beverages, due to the high potency of the pure caffeine.

Highlighting the real dangers posed by powdered caffeine, the FDA mentioned that two young men have already died as a result of powdered caffeine overdose, one from Georgia and the other from Ohio. This refers to the case of 18-year-old LaGrange teenager Logan Stiner, who was found dead last May 2014 due to seizure and cardiac arrhythmia, which was later traced to pure powdered caffeine ingestion. Ohio has since passed a law banning the dangerous substance last 2015 according to a Chronicle Online article by Anna Merriman.

If the bill is successfully passed, it would join similar health-related legislations passed by the state. Recently, the Rhode Island Senate banned the sale of powdered alcohol and vapor alcohol, according to a Chronicle Online article.

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