Poisonous Caffeine Powder Sold On Amazon Kills Teen, Father Files Lawsuit

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18-year-old Logan Stiner was just days from graduating high school in Ohio when, on May 27, 2014, he was found lifeless in his Cleveland home. He died of cardiac arrhythmia and seizure due to acute caffeine toxicity – the amount of caffeine in his body was 23 times greater than the level in a coffee drink.

Logan’s parents, Dennis and Katie, have now filed a lawsuit against Amazon.com, six Arizona-based companies that packaged and sold Hard Rhino, a pharmaceutical-grade powder, and Logan’s classmate who gave him the poisonous substance. Dennis, seeking $25,000 in damages, claims neither the online retailer nor the distributors provided any warning about the supplement’s dangers, resulting in the death of their son.

While Dennis admits that the label warned the powder “can be dangerous if abused” and that “failure to follow safety guidelines can result in serious injury or death”, he insists the label lacked specific instructions on its appropriate use.

caffeine-powder

Hard Rhino sold the powder as a dietary supplement, which allowed the company to bypass Food and Drug Agency (FDA) regulations. In December 2014, FDA issued an advisory for consumers warming them about powdered pure caffeine being marketed directly to consumers, and recommended avoiding these products. It said:

“These products are essentially 100 percent caffeine. A single teaspoon of pure caffeine is roughly equivalent to the amount in 25 cups of coffee. It is nearly impossible to accurately measure powdered pure caffeine with common kitchen measuring tools and you can easily consume a lethal amount.

“Pure caffeine is a powerful stimulant, potentially dangerous and very small amounts may cause accidental overdose and serious adverse events can result, including death. Parents should recognize that teenagers and young adults may be drawn to these products for their perceived benefits”.

Logan was a prom king and a wrestler who perhaps bought Hard Rhino to add it to his drinks for a boost before workouts or to control weight gain.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. The problem with powdered caffeine is that it is difficult to estimate what a normal pill-equivalent dosage is. That’s the real issue. When caffeine is in pills, — you know what dosage you are getting — but people often guess badly when visually estimating a powder. This should not be a surprise as it would happen with ANY DRUG – even health suppliments. However – this can be solved with a simple warning on the label to inform users that the product can be dangerous if misused and to measure by mass or an exact premeasured amount.

  2. So there was nothing wrong with the product? Check the dose before administering. It’s that simple. The same goes for all drugs. The amount makes it poison so you really shouldn’t use a title like that. Potatoes are poisonous too if you put it like that. The amount of coffeine in a regular filter coffee drink is around 60mg/cup (125ml whereI come from) which translates to 480ppm. Now for him to get 23x that amount, 11g/kg into his system he would have needed to ingest about a cup of pure coffeine. Is that a “very small amount”? Easily consumed? Have you ever tasted pure caffeine? it’s the very definition of bitter. Definitely not easy to ingest in large amounts.

  3. Dennis admits that the label warned the powder “can be dangerous if abused” and that “failure to follow safety guidelines can result in serious injury or death”

    Accurately measuring powdered caffeine with common kitchen measuring tools:
    1.Take a known amount
    2.Dissolve in water
    3.Measure by volume.

    But I do agree it should be in pills. Much easier.

  4. I like the fact they are suing for $25,000. That makes its more about their sons death then the money. Amazon will settle it for a lot more if they can just to make it go away.

  5. In my opinion, this is ridiculous. The kid knew the dangers and he failed to act responsibly when taking the substance. Buy a mg scale and start low. It’s not the companie’s fault for your sons loss, much less his fellow school friend’s. I believe buying raw LEGAL compounds in the form of a salt should be apart of our everyday freedoms. I think the parents actions are merely made out of desperation and depression over their sons loss.

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