49 dead in Siberia af­ter drink­ing bath essence

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Forty-nine peo­ple have died in Siberia af­ter drink­ing bath essence con­tain­ing methanol, a toxic sub­stance used in anti-freeze, Rus­sian au­thor­i­ties said yes­ter­day. The In­ves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee has launched a probe into the deaths caused by drink­ing a liq­uid la­beled as hawthorn-scented bath essence, and has de­tained two peo­ple.

Prime Min­is­ter Dmitry Medvedev or­dered his cabi­net to “sort out” the coun­ter­feit al­co­hol is­sue, call­ing the wide­spread sale of such liq­uids through vend­ing ma­chines “an ab­so­lute dis­grace”. Fifty-four peo­ple were taken to hospi­tal in the Siberian city of Irkutsk af­ter con­sum­ing the toxic sub­stance, and 49 died, a spokes­woman for the re­gional branch of the In­ves­tiga­tive Com­mit­tee told AFP. Au­thor­i­ties said the prod­uct con­tained methanol and car­ried a la­bel warn­ing that it was un­suit­able for con­sump­tion, but the mix­ture was nonethe­less “con­sumed like al­co­hol”.

Cheap per­fumes and fa­cial ton­ers con­tain­ing al­co­hol are sold with­out the same trad­ing re­stric­tions im­posed on al­co­holic drinks. Those who buy them to drink are usu­ally the most so­cially dis­ad­van­taged. Searches were be­ing con­ducted at mar­kets where the deadly prod­uct was be­ing sold, in­ves­ti­ga­tors said, and a to­tal of 500 liters of the toxic liq­uid con­fis­cated.

Home­made spir­its and house­hold prod­ucts con­tain­ing al­co­hol are pop­u­lar through­out the for­mer Soviet Union as a cheap al­ter­na­tive to stan­dard brands but are also blamed for a large num­ber of al­co­hol-re­lated deaths. — AFP

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