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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.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.)

Comments (6)
  1. mister s says:

    Leave my caffine alone!! Consider overdoses just another form of natural selection. I intake up to 700mg or so daily which is plenty for me. You can put a warning label on it if you want, just don’t regulate it to the point where my 350mg shots are even harder to find than thy are now. He was an adult and 70 red bulls should be about 7000 mg of caffine….. 10 times what I take. He was stupid, try not to blame the containers for lack of warnings, people should know better.

  2. Bob Saget says:

    Thin the herd.

  3. socal says:

    Those energy drinks are disgusting anyway…If the caffine content in them doesn’t kill you the sugar sure will!
    Just like any drug such as alcohol, there should be a warning label

  4. ketracel says:

    Was a time when we didn’t “officially” know that smoking caused health problems and that alcohol during pregnancy could hurt the baby. Labels like those were helpful and informational. A warning label would probably do no good in a case like this (except to shield the manufacturer from responsiblity after someone days something like this).

  5. KW says:

    Geez, what’s next, a warning label on a package of Oreos. ” Warning comsumption of this product will make you obese and obesity can lead to death” Then followed by a movement to ban Oreos.
    I agree with Bob S, Thin the herd. Stupidity leads to death. natural selection in action. It’s time we stand up and take responsibility for our own actions and stop regulating what the non-offenders are doing.

  6. Douglas Willinger says:

    Whatever happened to the POISON skull and cross bones labeling that we had before the 20th century ‘drug war’?


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