Dangers of Pure Powdered Caffeine (Follow up on Tuesday’s Post)

*** Health and Safety Alert Bulletin ***

FDA Warns About Powdered Pure Caffeine

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning about powdered pure caffeine being marketed directly to consumers, recommending that Americans avoid these products. FDA’s announcement stated that the agency is especially concerned about powdered pure caffeine sold in bulk bags over the Internet. At least one death of a teenager who used it has been reported. “These products are essentially 100 percent caffeine. A single teaspoon of pure caffeine is lethal and is roughly equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee,” according to its release.

Everyone should know that caffeine is a strong stimulant. Basically, because caffeine is a stimulant, and in extremely high doses, Symptoms of caffeine overdose may include erratic heartbeats, seizures, vomiting, diarrhea, stupor, disorientation, and death. within hours. Experts say that powdered caffeine is incredibly potent – and super-easy to overdose on. It’s sold 100 percent pure. It’s also nearly impossible to measure caffeine powder without a professional milligram scale. The amount of caffeine in one cup of coffee – 100 milligrams – is barely enough to cover your fingernail, and the amount of powder that would fit inside a large-size gel-cap will kill. The caffeine absorbs right through your skin when you handle it. So you don’t know how much you’re getting right there. They’re much more severe than the results from drinking too much coffee, tea, or energy drinks.

Health officials worry about caffeine powder’s potential popularity among exercise enthusiasts and young people seeking an energy boost. Just because caffeine processed into powder is classified as a multi-purpose food additive – doesn’t mean it’s safe for consumption. Don’t risk your life by using powdered caffeine. If you want a caffeine kick, stick with coffee – and leave it at three large cups maximum a day. The FDA recommends that all consumers in search of caffeinated products should be aware of the potentially high potency of these powdered pure caffeine products. Parents should be familiar with the potential dangers of powdered caffeine, as teenagers and young adults may be drawn to these products for their perceived benefits.

Caffeine overdose

Caffeine is a substance that exists naturally in certain plants. It can also be produced synthetically and used as an additive in food products. It is a central nervous system stimulant and a diuretic, which means it increases urination. Caffeine overdose occurs when someone accidentally or intentionally takes more than the normal or recommended amount of this medication. This syndrome typically occurs only after ingestion of large amounts of caffeine, well over the amounts found in typical caffeinated beverages and caffeine tablets (e.g., more than 400 mg at a time). Typical maximum daily intake should be no more than 300 mg. Over 300 mg you begin running risk of symptoms of caffeine overdose.

The chart below shows how much caffeine is typically found in a serving size of some of the more common sources of caffeine, according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

Item Serving Size Caffeine (mg)
Coffee 8 oz. 133
Black Tea 8 oz. 53
Cola 12 oz. 35
Red Bull 8.3 oz. 80
Chocolate Bar (Dark) 1.45 oz. 33
NoDoz Caffeine Tablets 1 tablet 200
Extra Strength Excedrin 1 tablet 65

What Are the Symptoms of Caffeine Overdose?

There are several types of symptoms that come with this condition. Some symptoms may not immediately alert you to the fact that you have had too much caffeine, since they may not seem serious. For example, you may experience:

· dizziness

· diarrhea

· increased thirst

· insomnia

· headache

· fever

· irritability

Other symptoms seem more severe, and call for immediate medical treatment. These more serious symptoms of caffeine overdose include the following:

· trouble breathing

· vomiting

· hallucinations

· confusion

· chest pain

· irregular or fast heartbeat

· uncontrollable muscle movements

· convulsions

Certain medications and herbal supplements may interact with caffeine. Here are some examples.

· Some antibiotics. Ciprofloxacin (Cipro) and norfloxacin (Noroxin) — types of antibacterial medications — can interfere with the breakdown of caffeine. This may increase the length of time caffeine remains in your body and amplify its unwanted effects.

· Theophylline. Theophylline (Theo-24, Elixophyllin, others) is a medication that opens up bronchial airways by relaxing the surrounding muscles (bronchodilator). It tends to have some caffeine-like effects. Thus, taking it with caffeinated foods and beverages may increase the concentration of theophylline in your blood. This can cause adverse effects, such as nausea, vomiting and heart palpitations.

· Echinacea. This herbal supplement, which is sometimes used to prevent colds or other infections, may increase the concentration of caffeine in your blood and may increase caffeine’s unpleasant effects.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about whether caffeine might affect your medications. They can say whether you need to reduce or eliminate caffeine from your diet. How you react to caffeine may be determined in part by how much caffeine you’re used to drinking. People who don’t regularly drink caffeine tend to be more sensitive to its negative effects. Other factors may include body mass, age, medication use and health conditions such as anxiety disorders. This is for information only and not for use in the treatment or management of an actual exposure. If you have an exposure, you should call your local emergency number (such as 911) or the National Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

Information from FDA, NM Dept. of Health, Poison Control Center, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Mayo Clinic and CDC

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Amica Insurance has great safety videos on Youtube

I have my home and my vehicles insured through Amica Insurance. They’re a great company. If you’re looking for insurance, give them a call.

What I didn’t realize, however, is that they not only provide insurance, they also provide free online safety videos on YouTube.

Here are the Amica Insurance Safety Videos available:

Amica1 Amica2 Amica3 Amica4 Amica5 Amica6 Amica7 Amica8 Amica9 Amica10 Amica11

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FDA Warns that Powdered Caffeine can Kill

I recently watched an episode of the “Brew Dogs” (if you haven’t watch “Brew Dogs” catch it on youtube). They were in Seattle and they were trying to make the most caffeinated beer in the world. To do this, coffee wasn’t going to be enough so they went to a lab and we got to watch as they extracted caffeine and made it into a powder.

Turns out brews dogs aren’t the only ones doing this and powdered caffeine is now available on the internet. The problem is that this pure caffeine in even small doses can be fatal.

At least one teen has died from an overdose already and rumors are going around that teenagers are starting to snort it. If that’s the case, more deaths will follow.

The FDA is warning people to stay away from it as standard measuring equipment like measuring spoons are accurate enough; even a teaspoons can kill.

Because caffeine is in a lot of food and drinks as a natural by-product of tea, coffee and other substances, it isn’t regulated by the FDA, something that the FDA plans on changing in the near future.

Right now, caffeine is sold as a dietary supplement and widely available.

The FDA is warning people to just stay away from it and make sure that your children and teenagers know that it isn’t something to mess with.


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New App lets you know when you’ve had too much fun in the sun

We’ve all become increasingly aware of the dangers of skin cancer but most of us still don’t really know how much sun is too much sun. We don’t want to up our risk of skin cancer but we also don’t want to spend the summer pasty white.

A new app namely Brightly might be the answer. Here’s a video clip explaining how it works:


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New “Hand Safety” Website

Whatever type of work you’re doing, you need to protect your hands. Whether you’re working in high heat applications, working with chemicals or working with tools, it’s important to keep your hands from harm.


Gloves make up a huge percentage of most safety distributors inventory and sales. Knowing which glove is the right glove, however, isn’t necessarily an easy challenge. Nor is it easy to get your employees to wear gloves at times, especially when it’s hot out and hands get sweaty.

Because hand protection is so important and because of the challenges involved in selecting the right protection, The Center for Construction Research and Training has put together a website especially dedicated to hand safety.

choosehandsafety.org is your new go-to site for all things related to hand safety. Divided into 4 categories the site includes a section on “Choosing Hand Tools”, one on “Choosing Gloves”, one on “Health and Safety” and one on “Training and More”.

One of the coolest features is, unfortunately, the one that is the most limited. I’m referring to the “Find Examples of Gloves for Commonly Used Products” under the “Choosing Gloves” tab. The idea is awesome. Select a craft, then select the type of job and it’ll tell you which gloves are best suited. Unfortunately, as I said, it’s extremely limited. The list of crafts only has 8 categories (Brick and Block, Cement, Marble, PCC, Plaster, Stone, Terrazzo and Tile). If you work in any other job you’re on your own.

The other section you’ll want to spend some time at is the “Training and More” tab which gives you a ton of material for training and safety meetings. With guides, presentations, videos, toolbox talks and handouts you’re sure to find something you can use.

Inventor of Kevlar Dies

Stephanie Kwolek “accidentally” saved thousands of lives. While working in the Dupont lab trying to manufacture a synthetic fiber to replace steel in tires she noticed that one of the batches she’d been working on had turned milky. While this would normally mean that the batches would be thrown out and declared a failure, Stephanie’s curiosity got the best of her and, in studying the matter further, she realized that she had discovered poly-paraphenylene terephthalamide which Dupont would name “Kevlar”. Kevlar, the main component in bullet proof vests is much stronger than and much lighter than steel.

It is estimated that more than 3,000 police officers lives have been saved since the invention of Kevlar.

Stephanie Kwolek had worked for 15 years at Dupont without a promotion before her discovery. She was also one of a very few women scientists when she started working for Dupont  in the 60s.

Besides bullet-proof vests, Kevlar is used in bridges, gloves, skis, tires, planes and thousands of other items.

Stephanie Kwolek was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 1996. She died yesterday at the age of 90.

Existing Chemicals “Grand-Fathered” in under GHS

In a letter dated June 13, 2014 the US Department of Labor, OSHA clarified it’s position regarding the new GHS for classification of chemical stating that  “employers
may, but are not required to, contact manufacturers or distributors of products they have previously ordered to request new SDSs“.

What OSHA is saying is that if you have chemicals in your facility that date back before the implementation of GHS, the MSDS sheet is all that is required, OSHA will not issue a citation. If, however the chemical was purchased or brought in after the implementation of GHS than it should have come with the new SDS rather than the MSDS and that SDS is what needs to be on file.

The letter of clarification was issued in response to a question submitted to OSHA. The full letter can be viewed here.

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