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Death Toll From Alcohol Poisoning Rises To 74 In Irkutsk

Dozens Killed By Alcohol Poisoning In Siberia
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WATCH: Dozens Killed By Alcohol Poisoning In Siberia (Video Report: December 21)

The death toll from dozens of people drinking bath lotion rose to 74, Russian authorities said on December 23, as police said they had seized more than 10,000 bottles of the berry-scented lotion in a cottage in Irkutsk.

Regional health officials said that 31 men and women remain in hospitals.

The Investigative Committee said the bath lotion contained methanol -- which can be fatal if consumed internally -- instead of ethanol, the alcohol found in most drinks.

It said 13 people suspected of selling the lotion have been detained and two illegal workshops producing the lotion had been found in the region.

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 containing alcohol, as well as human and veterinary medicines.

Sales of all liquids that contain alcohol but are not intended for consumption were banned in the city of Irkutsk on December 19. The ban was expanded to the whole region the next day.

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

Based on reporting on Interfax, AFP, and TASS

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