IRKUTSK, RUSSIA — Dozens of people have died in the Siberian city of Irkutsk, and a bath liquid commonly used as a cheap alcohol substitute is to blame.
The liquid in question is reported to be a counterfeit version of a hawthorn-scented bath relaxant, which many Russians use to become inebriated. The bath liquid is less expensive than the cheapest vodka sold in Russia, making it an attractive alcoholic alternative for the poor. While it may be listed as 93 percent ethanol, tests reveal the liquid also contains methanol, a toxic ingredient in antifreeze that can be fatal if ingested.
Medical professionals estimate that as many as 12 million Russians consume alcoholic alternatives each year, which also include perfumes and window cleaners.
Authorities have detained seven people involved in the production of the substance and seized 2,000 bottles from stores.
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