Warning: Toxic. Photo : Quanjing
Warning: Toxic. Photo : Quanjing

At least 25 people have died in the Russian city of Irkutsk after drinking bath essence containing toxic alcohol, authorities said Monday.

Russia’s Investigative Committee said in a statement that 42 people had sought medical attention over the weekend after having drunk the liquid labelled as hawthorn-scented bath essence. Twenty-five of them died.

Authorities said the product bore a label warning it is unsuitable for consumption, but the lotion was nonetheless “consumed like alcohol.”
The product contained methanol, a toxic substance used in antifreeze, investigators said. Cheap perfumes and facial toners containing alcohol are sold without the trading restrictions on alcoholic drinks, while those who buy them to drink are the most socially disadvantaged.

Two people have been detained over the deaths, investigators said, and searches are being conducted at the markets where the deadly product
was being sold.

Homemade spirits and household products containing alcohol are popular throughout the former Soviet Union as a cheap alternative to the standard brands but are also blamed for a large number of alcohol-related deaths.