Fatal poisoning kills at least 30 in Irkutsk

Dec 20, 2016, 00:09

A state of emergency has been introduced in the Siberian city of Irkutsk after at least 33 people died of alcohol poisoning as a result of consuming bath lotion.

Authorities said the product bore a label warning it is unsuitable for consumption, but the lotion was nonetheless "consumed like alcohol". Another 15 are gravely ill in hospitals in the city of Irkutsk. A probe into the incident is under way. The country has infamously struggled with managing alcoholism, and poisonings involved cheap surrogate alcohol are a regular occurrence, but the Irkutsk case is the deadliest such incident in years.

Two years of economic pain in Russian Federation have pushed more people below the poverty line, according to Reuters.

Hawthorn bath lotion was available at about 100 outlets in Irkutsk.

Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who wants to challenge President Vladimir Putin in Russia's 2018 elections, said alcohol poisoning from surrogate sources is a worse problem than terrorism, citing poverty and corruption as the root causes.

The Russian Government has called for an end to sales of the infusion and similar products containing alcohol, and also called for tighter regulation of the alcohol market in the wake of the deaths.

The increase in surrogate alcohols comes as Russian Federation battles a recession due to Western sanctions and a nosedive in oil prices, the AP reported.

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev has said he's considering legislation to control the sale of such products and tougher punishment for those selling them illegally.

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