FDA warns consumers against powdered caffeine

Federal health officials are urging consumers to avoid powdered pure caffeine sold over the Internet because of the high risk of accidental overdose and death.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning Friday that it is "nearly impossible" to measure the substance, making it easy to consume a lethal amount.

At least one teenager's death has been linked to powdered caffeine. The incident made national headlines and raised eyebrows on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers are tracking the issue of highly caffeinated energy drinks.

The FDA statement came after public health groups urged officials to take action.

"Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose," the agency warned. "Parents should be aware that these products may be attractive to young people."

The Center for Science in the Public Interest said regulators should consider cracking down on the sale of the substance.

"FDA should take whichever additional measures it can against these products, and it has much more to do f it really wants to protect the public," said CSPI Health Promotion Policy Director Jim O'Hara in a statement.

"The overuse and misuse of caffeine in the food supply is creating a wild-west marketplace, and it's about time the sheriff noticed and did something."