Pure powdered caffeine causes death in teen, has health experts - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Pure powdered caffeine causes death in teen, has health experts concerned

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MADISON (WKOW) -- 18 year-old Logan Steiner of Ohio was days away from graduating high school when he died of a heart attack, after ingesting a lethal dose of pure powdered caffeine.

"This is news to the coroner's office.  We have never seen this before," said Dr. Steven Evans, Coroner for Lorain County, Ohio, where Steiner lived.

Local health care professionals agree.

"This was the first that I've heard of caffeine being available in a pure form and especially in this population of young folks," said Tara LaRowe, a cardiac preventive clinical nutritionist at UW Health.

Sold online with no regulations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), one teaspoon is the equivalent of 100 cans of Red bull. Steiner ingested two teaspoons.

"This is coming in all at one time so its kind of just a shock to his system," said LaRowe.

 And its becoming more popular, particularly with teens and young adults.

"It was being used by young people, especially students, especially athletes because it was just to give them edge," said Dr. Evans.  "Because most of them, like all of us thought, well its innocuous, it can't hurt you."

LaRowe says it is something the FDA will have to get a handle on soon.

"This is probably another thing that's going to be added on their list in terms of something they'll have to look closely at to regulate, because energy drinks are right at the top of their list of either putting warning labels on or doing more investigation on how they can be regulated," said LaRowe.

Powdered caffeine is available on a number of different websites for relatively cheap, costing around four dollars per ounce.

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