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How Much Caffeine Can One Ingest Before Overdosing?

A university has been fined more than $400,000 because two students suffered life-threatening effects after ingesting too much caffeine in a science experiment.

Northumbria University was fined 400,000 pounds ($430,076) for the March 2015 incident, which sent Alex Rossetto and Luke Parkin to a hospital in critical condition and requiring dialysis, (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/25/university-fined-400k-students-taking-part-caffeine-experiment/) the London Telegraph reported . 

The university told Newcastle Crown Court it was "deeply, genuinely sorry."

Rossetta and Parkin, sports science students, were given the equivalent of 300 cups of coffee, (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-tyne-38744307?ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_breaking&ns_source=twitter&ns_linkname=news_central) BBC News  reported. They had volunteered to take part in a test made to measure the effect of caffeine on exercise.

They were given 30 grams of caffeine instead of 0.3g, Prosecutor Adam Farrer said. 

There is 0.1g in the average cup of coffee.

Judge Edward Bindloss said Wednesday the only reason why the students survived was they were fit and active, adding, "The risk here was death."

"It should have been a high priority, a risk assessment should have been carried out and appropriately put into place and appropriate training to reduce the foreseeable risk. Both were sportsmen and fit young men. Luckily for them and for everyone they were in the sort of shape that was able to deal with this large amount of caffeine," he said.

Farrer told the court the overdose "could easily have been fatal" after the miscalculation, which led to severe side-effects. The calculation was made on a mobile phone, and the decimal was put in the wrong place. There was no risk assessment, BBC News reported.

People have died after consumption of just 18g of caffeine, Farrer told the court, noting the university had switched from using caffeine tablets to powder.

"The staff were not experienced or competent enough, and they had never done it on their own before," he said. "The university took no steps to make sure the staff knew how to do it."

Both men have made a full physical recovery. Rossetto, who was said to have short-term memory loss after the incident, was hospitalized for six days and lost 26.5 pounds. Parkin was treated for two days in intensive care and lost 22 pounds, Telegraph reported.

Both plan to sue in civil court.

A lethal dose of caffeine is considered about 150 milligrams per kilogram of body weight, according to (http://www.medicaldaily.com/can-too-much-caffeine-kill-you-find-out-what-coffee-does-your-brain-300544) Medical Daily . 

"A person weighing 70 kg (154 pounds) would need 14,000 mg of caffeine to overdose. So it would take 70, 150-mg cups of coffee to kill someone weighing just over 150 pounds," the site said. 

However, for this to happen, one would have to drink all of the cups at once, a physical impossibility.

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Publication:International Business Times - US ed.
Date:Jan 26, 2017
Words:495
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