Home-brewed alcohol kills 102 in India

2011-12-15 07:43

Kolkata – Toxic home-brewed alcohol thought to have been laced with the highly dangerous chemical methanol has killed 102 people in eastern India.

“The death toll has touched 102,” said the district magistrate of 24-Parganas district in West Bengal state, Narayan Swarup Nigam.

Those affected are from 10 villages in the area near the border with Bangladesh, with the three nearest hospitals packed with gravely sick victims, many of them labourers or rickshaw pullers too poor to afford branded alcohol.

Nigam said that methanol had been detected in at least 20 victims, raising suspicion it could be to blame.

The chemical is a highly toxic form of alcohol sometimes used as an anti-freeze or fuel, but it is also sometimes added by producers of “moonshine” or home-brew liquor to increase the alcoholic content of the drink.

If ingested, it can cause blindness and liver damage, and it kills in larger concentrations.

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