Look no further for proof that high levels of caffeine are extremely toxic to the body: In a devastating incident, Davis Allen Cripe, 16, was pronounced dead less than an hour after he collapsed at his school in Chapin, South Carolina, last month due to probable heart arrhythmia, CNN reports.
The cause of death was caffeine.
"This was not an overdose," said Richland County Coroner Gary Watts in a news conference on May 15. The death occurred on April 26. "We lost Davis from a totally legal substance. Our purpose here today is to let people know, especially our young kids in school, that these drinks can be dangerous, and be very careful with how you use them, and how many you drink on a daily basis."
The high school student had consumed a large Diet Mountain Dew, a cafe latte, and an energy drink over the span of just two hours. Cripe's father spoke about his death at the conference, urging parents to educate their children.
"Parents, please talk to your kids about the dangers of these energy drinks," Sean Cripe said.
The autopsy revealed no other drugs or alcohol were found in the younger Cripe's system; he was healthy and didn't have heart conditions.
Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, nutrition specialist and vice chairwoman in the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, told CNN that consumption that exceeds 100 milligrams of caffeine a day — about one cup of coffee — has been linked to high blood pressure in adolescents.
"[C]hildren and adolescents are advised to avoid energy drinks," she said. "They can contain a significant amount of caffeine as well as other stimulants."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said that adults can consume around 400 milligrams of caffeine daily without specific symptoms.
It's to your utmost benefit, however, to pay close attention to your body's reaction to any drug, and to behave in ways that serve it.
Drugs — including the legal, run-of-the-mill ones — kill. Remember Cripe and his loved ones, and act wisely.