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Putin Demands Curbs On Surrogate Alcohol After 62 Die In Siberia


Russian President Vladimir Putin has demanded restrictions on the sale of surrogate alcohol after at least 62 people died in the Siberian city of Irkutsk from drinking bath lotion.

Putin asked the government on December 21 to draft tighter rules for the production and sale of drinks, perfumes, and other liquids with more than 25 percent alcohol content, as well as medicines containing ethanol.

Putin's order to the cabinet was made public after regional health officials in Irkutsk said the death toll from drinking a scented bath lotion called Boyaryshnik (Hawthorn) had risen to 62.

The Investigative Committee said the bath lotion contained methanol -- which can be fatal if consumed internally -- instead of regular alcohol, or ethanol.

It said 12 people suspected of selling the lotion have been detained and two illegal workshops producing the lotion had been found in the region.

Poisonings with surrogate alcohol are frequent in Russia, where people sometimes drink substances that contain alcohol that are cheaper than alcoholic beverages.

Russian consumer protection agency Rospotrebnadzor said in November that 36,000 cases of alcohol poisoning had been registered across the country in the first nine months of 2016, of which 9,300 led to deaths.

The Reuters news agency cited alcohol market expert Vadim Drobiz as saying this week that up to 12 million Russians, or about one-twelfth of the population, drink cheap surrogate alcohol.

Based on reporting on Interfax, Reuters, and TASS
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