Five U.S. senators are urging FDA to ban retail sales and marketing of bulk powdered caffeine after the 2014 deaths of two men who consumed too much of the substance.
Last week, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Ed Markey (D-Mass.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) joined the consumer group Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) and families of the men who overdosed to raise awareness about the dangers of pure caffeine.
The deaths of the men, aged 18 and 24, prompted FDA to send warning letters last year to five distributors of powdered caffeine, claiming that the dietary supplements present “a significant or unreasonable risk of illness or injury.” Those companies are no longer marketing the substance directly to consumers, but at least 19 others are, CSPI says.
“It is disturbing that despite two unintended and untimely deaths associated with powdered caffeine, the FDA has done little to regulate these products or adequately enforce the standards in place to protect Americans from the substantial risk associated with ingesting powdered caffeine in any form,” the senators write in an April 26 letter to FDA. “Unfortunately, in the absence of strong regulatory action, companies are continuing to develop new delivery mechanisms and creative advertising ploys to attract new powdered caffeine users.”