Man dies of Caffeine Overdose

Published : Friday, 29 Oct 2010, 9:43 AM EDT

By NewsCore

A British man died after poisoning himself with two spoonfuls of caffeine powder bought over the internet, local media reported Friday.

Michael Lee Bedford, 23, from Mansfield, central England, was at a party in April when he swallowed caffeine powder that a friend bought online for £3.29 ($5.26), Nottingham Coroner’s Court heard Thursday.

He washed the powder down with an energy drink, and around 15 minutes later began sweating and vomiting blood. He later died at King’s Mill Hospital in Nottinghamshire, central England, the Nottingham Post reported.

The court heard that Bedford ignored the product's recommendation to take no more than one sixteenth of a teaspoon and instead took two spoonfuls of the powder -- ingesting a level of caffeine 70 times more than is usually found in a high-energy drink.

Speaking outside the court, Bedford’s aunt Sue Burton said, "I think there should be a warning on it saying it can kill."

Nottingham Coroner Dr. Nigel Chapman said, "Caffeine is so freely available on the internet for £3.29, but it's so lethal if taken in the wrong dose, and here we see the consequence. So many people are upset and distraught by the death of Michael."

He also criticized the product, which was not named in the inquest, for recommending such a small dosage, which could be easily ignored. "Who would take [one sixteenth of a teaspoon]? It's such a small dosage -- the warning is so small on the front of it," Chapman said. "If you're sharing a bag, carrying it around, and if you hadn't seen the warning -- it could be that anyone at the party could have taken it. It's so dangerous to take something like this."

He recorded a verdict of accidental death.

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