Suffolk County bans sale of pure caffeine products to minors

11/06/2014 4:05 PM |
Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, left, and County Executive Steve Bellone shake hands after the law is signed. (Credit: Courtesy)

Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory, left, and County Executive Steve Bellone shake hands after the law is signed. (Credit: Courtesy)

Suffolk County has banned the sale of pure caffeine products to minors, while becoming the first county in the nation to limit the potentially deadly substance.

The Suffolk County Department of Health Services issued a warning about pure caffeine products — which are marketed as energy boosters that can enhance mental focus — earlier this year. The law was signed by County Executive Steve Bellone Wednesday.

It comes following the death of an 18-year-old Ohio high school senior, Logan J. Stiner, who overdosed on pure caffeine, according to a release about the law. The county health department issued the warning in August, following Logan’s death.

A single teaspoon of the powder is roughly equivalent to the amount of caffeine in 25 cups of coffee, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which also issued a warning about the product in July.

According to the FDA, these powdered products are essentially 100 percent caffeine, which is a powerful stimulant that may cause accidental overdose even in small amounts.

“It is nearly impossible to accurately measure powdered pure caffeine with common kitchen measuring tools, and you can easily consume a lethal amount,” county health officials said in a statement.

“This substance has potentially serious detrimental health effects and should be avoided,” county Department of Health Services Commissioner Dr. James Tomarken said. “It is highly concentrated, and therefore it is easy to mistakenly use too much, which could result in an accidental overdose.”

The co-sponsors of the law, Suffolk County Legislature Presiding Officer DuWayne Gregory and Legislator William Spencer, are lobbying for stricter regulations of the substance on a national level. They’ve asked FDA officials to consider classifying pure caffeine as a drug and implement protective regulations, including a ban to sell to minors, according to a release.

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