Dozens die in Siberian city after downing bath lotion


The committee said the bath lotion contained methanol, which can be fatal if consumed internally, instead of regular alcohol, or ethanol.

CBS News' Svetlana Berdnikova reports officials have announced 41 deaths and a total of 54 hospitalizations in the case.

It is the most serious incident of its kind in recent times in Russian Federation, where people in sometimes use alcohol-based products as a cheap alternative to vodka or intoxicating drinks. However, the death toll has risen to at least 48, while nine others remained hospitalized in grave condition, and officials were checking apartments and other locations in search for more victims.

"It's an outrage, and we need to put an end to this", Mr Medvedev said.

President Vladimir Putin's spokesman described the mass poisoning as a "terrible tragedy". They were not drinking together, so this tragic incident doesn't look suspicious - it just fits into the situation which is already regular in Russian Federation.

The injured and dead appear to be residents of the same area in Irkutsk and, according to officials, they were not drinking alcohol together, and are socially disadvantaged people aged 35 to 50.

It was unclear whether those selling the product were marketing it as a cheaper substitute for alcoholic spirits such as vodka.

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

Economic hardship, partly caused by oil sanctions, has led to an increase in the production of lotions and tinctures.