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FDA bans sale of pure caffeine

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LAGRANGE — Pure caffeine powder kills.

By the time Dennis and Katie Stiner of LaGrange learned the truth, it was too late. Their son, Logan Stiner, 18, died May 27, 2014, from ingesting too much of the substance. The powder caused Logan to have a cardiac arrhythmia and a seizure, which together, killed him.

And because of his death, the Food and Drug Administration announced Friday to ban the retail sale of pure and highly concentrated bulk caffeine products in both powder and liquid forms.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., wants it to be known that the highly concentrated forms of caffeine that are being sold in bulk packages are generally illegal under current law.

“We’ll act to remove these dangerous bulk products from the market,” Gottlieb said.

The ban was pushed by Logan’s parents, Dennis and Katie Stiner, and supported by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown,D-Cleveland, Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., and Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

“Nearly four years ago, Ohioan Logan Stiner unnecessarily lost his life to a dangerous and unregulated product. (Friday’s) announcement out of the FDA will finally help ensure other Ohio families never have to suffer the same way the Stiners did. The FDA’s decision to ban the direct sale of pure, lethal powdered caffeine will finally bring about the consumer protections we have been demanding for years,” Brown said.

Brown, Blumenthal and Durbin led the charge to ban the sale of bulk powdered caffeine starting in 2015. The senators penned a letter to the FDA alongside U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Ed Markey, D-Mass., and Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., urging the agency to ban the sale of the substance in 2015.

Brown, Blumenthal and Durbin renewed their call in 2016 while standing with families whose loved ones had died after using powdered caffeine.

“My clients, Katie and Dennis Stiner, personally lobbied the FDA to ban this deadly product, which is so lethal just a small amount can be deadly,” said attorney Brian Balser. “It has been almost four years since their son, Logan, ingested and died from pure caffeine powder that was purchased from Amazon.com. The FDA’s statement clarifies that this dietary supplement and others containing pure or highly concentrated caffeine in powder or liquid forms are unlawful when sold in bulk quantities directly to consumers.”

According to the FDA, a single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 28 cups of coffee. Risk of overuse and misuse is high when highly concentrated caffeine is sold in bulk quantities, and therefore present a significant and unreasonable risk of illness, injury or even death to the consumer.

Logan was three days shy of graduating from Keystone High School.

One month after his death, an autopsy revealed a lethal amount of caffeine in his system said Lorain County Coroner Dr. Stephen Evans in June 2014.

Stiner was found with more than 70 micrograms of caffeine per milliliter of blood in his system, Evans said, adding that the normal amount of caffeine in an energy drink is three to 15 micrograms.

Fifty micrograms is considered a lethal dose, Evans said.

“He was a young, healthy guy. People don’t realize (caffeine) could potentially kill you,” Evans said in 2014.

Contact Melissa Linebrink at 329-7243 or mlinebrink@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @MLinebrinkCT.



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