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Death Toll Rises To 60 In Siberia After More Than 100 Drink Bath Lotion


A man holds a bottle of bath lotion called Boyaryshnik (Hawthorn), which is attributed to at least 60 deaths in Russia's Irkutsk region.

The governor of Russia's Siberian region of Irkutsk declared a state of emergency as the death toll rose to 60 after more than 100 people drank bath lotion.

Regional Health Ministry spokeswoman Tatyana Shkurskaya said on December 21 that two more bodies were found in private houses overnight.

Governor Sergei Levchenko banned retail sales on December 20 of all liquids that contain alcohol but are not intended for consumption.

Levchenko said the ban will not be lifted until an investigation into the mass poisoning is over.

A similar ban and emergency situation were announced on December 19 in the regional capital, Irkutsk, which is 4,200 kilometers east of Moscow.

The local prosecutor's office and health officials said on December 20 that 58 people out of 102 sickened had died in Irkutsk after drinking the liquid, called Boyaryshnik (Hawthorn), despite a warning on the label saying it cannot be consumed.

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

It said 11 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.

Based on reporting on Interfax and TASS