Published: Tue, December 20, 2016
Health | By Constance Griffith

Dozens Dead in Siberia from Drinking Bath Oil: How Methanol Kills

Authorities in Irkutsk, the sixth-largest city in Russian Federation, declared a state of emergency today (Dec. 19) after at least 49 people died from drinking the apparently mislabeled bath oil, according to the Washington Post.

The case underlines how hard up a large swath of the population is despite Moscow's growing profile and clout on the global stage. "Measures must be taken", said Peskov.

In a statement, the committee said that 42 people had been hospitalized and that 25 of them died.

"Every year. (such concoctions) kill more people than have been killed in terrorist attacks in Russia's entire history".

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The product is called Boyaryshnik (Hawthorn), and officialy it contains 93 percent of ethyl alcohol, hawthorn extract, lemon oil, diethyl phthalate, and glycerol - or at least, that was written on the label. Police have found an underground facility that made the counterfeit lotion, and seized 500 litres of the substance at about 100 shops in Irkutsk, according to the Tass news agency.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev told a Cabinet meeting that authorities need to quickly ban such substances.

It was unclear whether those selling the product were marketing it as a cheaper substitute for alcoholic spirits such as vodka. Authorities say they confiscated more than 2,000 liters of the stuff and arrested the two ringleaders allegedly behind its distribution, underscoring how widespread of a problem "surrogate" alcohol has become among the country's socially disadvantaged.

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