FDA Issues Warning Against Consuming Caffeine Powder

After teen dies from caffeine overdose, concern increases over the risk of the concentrated drug.
3:34 | 07/19/14

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Transcript for FDA Issues Warning Against Consuming Caffeine Powder
We do have an important health warning this morning. The fda telling Americans to stay away from pure powdered caffeine. This is a dozen types stronger than what's in your coffee cup being blamed for the death of a teenager in Ohio and Rochelle Franzen has more. We know about caffeine and caffeine pills. This is caffeine powder and potent and widely available popular with athletes. Health officials now say small amounts can be deadly. That after an Ohio teen overdosed. Logan steiner was a standout high school student and wrestler in Ohio. Just days away from graduating in may when his brother found the teen unresponsive at home. His death shocked the community. He was just a terrific kid. I mean, they loved having him there. Reporter: The autopsy report that followed was even more shocking. The county corps row another finding the cause of death a lethal amount of caffeine in his system, more than 2 times the amount found in a typical serving of coffee or soda. His family learning after his death he was taking caffeine powder. Leads into cardic arrhythmia, speeding heart and leads into seizures and those are two things that took his life. Reporter: It is a popular stimulant experts say easily available in pure bulk form online and is not illegal. The fda warning this morning even a teaspoon can pack a lethal punch of 25 cups of coffee. We found out that this was being sold in bulk form in a powder form and it was being used by young people and it was just to give them an edge because most of them like all of us thought, well, it's innocuous, it can't hurt you. Reporter: And the fda says it is still investigating caffeine powder and may consider taking regulatory action. Steiner's death has also triggered Ohio lawmakers to look at possible legislation. Unfortunate. We haven't heard of this so let's bring in ABC's chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser. Your take. I think we've developed a cavalier attitude around caffeine. Low levels in adults, it'll make you more alert. Help you focus. But this isn't low levels this. Is a high level and what we're seeing is thousands of people ending up in the er every year because of taking in too much caffeine. This product, one teaspoon with the amount of caffeine that's in 25 cups of coffee. What makes the powder so much more potent. It's pure caffeine and what we know from that is, you know, you drink too much coffee you may get jittery but you take too much of this and it's truly toxic. You'll get disoriented. You may have irregular heartbeat. You may have seizures and it can lead to death. This is a very serious issue and it's legal. As Michelle said the fda is look nothing this but you think they should be tougher on this thing. Well, the rules that govern supplements and products like this are an absolute mess. The fda considers this a food product so manufacturers can put it in everything from waffles to syrup, supplements can use it, as well and they don't have to tell you how much is in there. "Consumer reports" said the labels are often very misleading. It's an area where fda will do more research and hopefully the rules will change. You think you walk into a store, something is over the counter, it's not going to be dangerous, right? In particular for children. Adults have a much higher tolerance than children. The academy of pediatrics want parents 0 know energy drink, cav green, not good for kids. Adult, stick to coffee and tea. That it's the way to go. Thanks so much.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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