Moscow, Dec 20 Russian health officials say at least 58 people have died in a Siberian city from methanol poisoning after consuming counterfeit bath lotion. The death toll in Irkutsk, Russia's six-largest city with a population of 1.1 million, has been rising since Sunday.
The local health department said today that 58 have died of poisoning with deadly methanol contained in the lotion, and nearly 40 others remain hospitalised. Bottles with the lotion carried warnings that they weren't for internal use, but labels said the product contained ethyl alcohol rather than deadly methanol.
Poisonings caused by cheap surrogate alcohol are a regular occurrence in Russia, but the Irkutsk case is unprecedented in its scale. The sales of lotions and tinctures containing alcohol have risen in recent years as Russia's economy has faltered.