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Siberian Death Toll From Alcohol Poisoning Rises To 76

People who drank a bath lotion called Boyaryshnik (Hawthorn) receive treatment at a hospital in Irkutsk, Siberia, last month.

The death toll resulting from dozens of people drinking poisonous bath lotion in Siberia's Irkutsk region since December 17 has risen to at least 76.

Russian regional health officials said on January 9 that three other people are still hospitalized after reportedly poisoning themselves by drinking the poisonous bath lotion despite warning labels on the product saying it is not for internal consumption.

Russia's Investigative Committee said the bath lotion contained methyl wood alcohol -- which can be fatal if consumed -- rather than the ethyl grain alcohol contained in alcoholic beverages.

The Investigative Committee said 22 people suspected of selling the lotion had been detained since the wave of deaths began.

It said eight were later charged, and nine were placed under house arrest, while five others were ordered not to leave the region while investigations continue.

On December 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the government to introduce tougher laws by July 2017 on the production and sale of perfumes, lotions, and household cleaners that contain any type of alcohol.

Putin also called for tighter controls on human and veterinary medicines.

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

Based on reporting on Interfax and TASS