In the Siberian city of Irkutsk, 62 people have died after drinking a bath lotion that contained methanol and antifreeze.
More than 30 people are seriously ill and in the hospital, and Irkutsk's health minister Oleg Yaroshenko said nearly half of those being treated are not expected to survive. Analysts say it's believed that 12 million Russians drink cheap alternatives to alcohol, and the country has a problem with alcoholic products not meant for ingestion being sold in vending machines. Many are labeled as cosmetics or medicine, the BBC reports, and in Irkutsk, the people who died or are sick drank a hawthorn-scented bath lotion. The bottle states that its contents are not meant for drinking, but the label also said the product contained ethanol, not methanol, which can cause blindness and death.
Over the course of the investigation in Irkutsk, 12 people have been arrested, 1,500 buildings and homes searched, and thousands of bottles of alcohol confiscated. In the wake of the mass poisoning, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the government to create and submit new legislation by July to crack down on the sales of such products. He also wants stricter penalties for bootleggers and better labeling of products that contain more than 25 percent alcohol.