Should caffeine be a regulated substance?

February 26, 2013

Caffeine-related toxicity, deaths, and near-deaths are an undeniable fact. In Sweden, for example, four people died as a result of confirmed caffeine-related causes in one year. Yet caffeine use continues to grow, including among young people, as it is increasingly added to a variety of drinks, foods, and weight-loss and other commonly used products.

The debate over calls to regulate caffeine rises to a new level of intensity with each untimely death and is captured in the provocative Editorial "Death by Caffeine: How Many Caffeine-related Fatalities and Near-misses Must There Be before We Regulate?" published in Journal of Caffeine Research.

In his editorial, Jack E. James, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Caffeine Research and Professor, Reykjavik University, Iceland and National University of Ireland, Galway, explores the "lethality of caffeine" and the proliferation of "the caffeinated environment," emphasizing in particular the risk posed by caffeine being added to , bottled water, , candy, , and yogurt, for example, and used in pain and cold/flu medications and powder and aerosol inhalers.

Dr. James draws attention to the "rising tide of concern expressed in the public media and scientific literature alike regarding the potential for -related harm." He notes that while some countries in Europe and Scandinavia have begun to take regulatory action, including sales restrictions and product labeling, the current "regulatory vacuum" in the United States "seems far from acceptable or prudent." A conversation is urgently needed to reach a consensus on a practical and effective framework for regulatory action.

More information: Death By Caffeine: How Many Caffeine-Related Fatalities and Near-Misses Must There Be Before We Regulate? Jack E. James. Journal of Caffeine Research. December 2012, 2(4): 149-152. doi:10.1089/jcr.2013.1226. Published in Volume: 2 Issue 4: February 19, 2013

Related Stories

Caffeine promotes drink flavor preference in adolescents

July 12, 2011

Research to be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Ingestive Behavior (SSIB), the foremost society for research into all aspects of eating and drinking behavior, indicates that caffeine ...

Can consuming caffeine while breastfeeding harm your baby?

February 21, 2012

Babies are not able to metabolize or excrete caffeine very well, so a breastfeeding mother's consumption of caffeine may lead to caffeine accumulation and symptoms such as wakefulness and irritability, according to an interview ...

Study finds popular energy drinks trigger caffeine jitters

February 6, 2013

The growing popularity of energy drinks—and deaths linked to those products—are fostering new concerns about how much caffeine people can safely consume, according to the cover story in the current edition of Chemical ...

Is there a link between coffee drinking and mortality?

February 19, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—A large study of nearly half a million older adults followed for about 12 years revealed a clear trend: as coffee drinking increased, the risk of death decreased. Study author Neal Freedman, PhD, MPH, National ...

Recommended for you

New weapon in the fight against malnutrition

August 4, 2015

UBC scientists have opened the doors to new research into malnutrition by creating an animal model that replicates the imbalance of gut bacteria associated with the difficult-to-treat disease.

Can four fish oil pills a day keep the doctor away?

July 7, 2015

Fish oil is one of the most popular dietary supplements in the U.S. because of the perceived cardiovascular benefits of the omega-3 it contains. However, scientific findings on its effectiveness have been conflicting. New ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.