Coroner: Man Consumed Caffeine Equal To 70 Red Bulls

LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The death of a 23-year-old British man who died from what health officials say was a lethal combination of caffeine powder and an energy drink has many wondering if caffeine products should come with a warning label.

Experts say with more energy drinks lining supermarket shelves, along with the latest trend of combining these drinks with alcoholic beverages, most of us have no idea how much of it we’re putting into our system, and that can be dangerous.

Dr. Steven Jones, Medical Director of Emergency Services at Northridge Hospital, explains the dangers of caffeine overdose to KFWB’s Maggie McKay.

A coroner’s inquest revealed that Michael Lee Bedford ingested two spoonfuls of pure
caffeine powder that he washed down with an energy drink, a dosage that Coroner Dr. Nigel Chapman said was equivalent to 70 cans of Red Bull.

A warning label on the product — which Bedford reportedly purchased online — said only one-sixteenth of a teaspoon should be consumed, but Bedford far exceeded that amount.

“This should serve as a warning that caffeine is so freely available on the Internet but so lethal if the wrong dosage is taken,” Chapman said at the inquest.

While U.S. toxologists say they’re not aware of any cases of people overdosing on caffeine
powder, they say that caffeine overdoses are on the rise, and in no small part to the increased market presence of caffeine-loaded energy drinks. In addition to the risks associated with any caffeine product, they believe that increased and prolonged consumption of these drinks can lead to significant illness, injury and even death.

(©2010 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services contributed to this report.)


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