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How Much Coffee Can Kill You?

Lethal weapon: It would take about 42 cups of coffee to kill you
Lethal weapon: It would take about 42 cups of coffee to kill you

So I was pleased to read this report in The New York Times that said for caffeine to be lethal, it would probably take a lot more than a few new Starbucks Trentas. According to the piece, you'd need to drink about 42 cups of coffee in one sitting to kill you.

Still, caffeine overdoses are not uncommon:

Concentrations of caffeine in blood plasma that are higher than 15 milligrams per liter of blood can cause toxic reactions, and caffeine overdoses are a relatively common cause of poisoning emergencies, with 4,183 such cases reported by the American Association of Poison Control Centers in 2007.Only one death occurred among those cases.

When caffeine does kill, the reported causes are abnormal heart rhythms, seizures and breathing in vomit.

This program aired on January 25, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

Rachel Zimmerman Twitter Health Reporter
Rachel Zimmerman previously reported on health and the intersection of health and business for Bostonomix.

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