Bath lotion deaths: 25 dead in Irkursk, Siberia, after drinking liquid

'According to our latest data 41 of 57 people who were hospitalised after drinking the liquid have died, ' investigators said in a statement. But why was the substance so deadly? The nine surviving victims are in a critical condition, Mr Zubovsky added.

Authorities could not confirm whether the products linked to the mass poisoning were being advertised as cheap alcoholic substitutes for spirits such as vodka, although media reports suggest the bath oil had been doctored to contain methanol, used in anti-freeze, and methylated spirits.

New website RT said a sticker on the bath lotion said it contains 93 percent ethyl alcohol, hawthorn extract, lemon oil, diethyl phthalate and glycerol.

Poisonings caused by cheap surrogate alcohol are a regular occurrence, but the Irkutsk case was unprecedented in its scale. "More than 100 points of sale have been identified".

"Undoubtedly, this is a bad tragedy, " Peskov said.

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Numerous victims are residents of one neighborhood, Novo-Lenino, investigators said.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in a government meeting that he hopes to consider banning products that lead to such high death tolls and that the country's criminal code is being amended to toughen the punishment for people caught selling them, Reuters reported.

The head of the Russian Investigative Committee, Alexander Bastrykin, chaired a session in Siberia's Irkutsk with a team investigating numerous deaths from a bath lotion containing methanol.

In 2015, over 14,000 persons died after toxication with surrogate alcohol, the Rospotrebnadzor figures show. "Measures must be taken", said Peskov.

"Every year ... (such concoctions) kill more people than have been killed in terrorist attacks in Russia's entire history". More than 12 million Russians ingest surrogate alcohol by consuming window cleaner, perfume, surgical spirits, aftershaves, cleaning products and other alcohol-based concentrates not meant for drinking, Guardian reported.

  • Megan Austin