More than 40 people in Russia died on Monday after drinking surrogate alcohol.
Bottles of alcoholic drinks are lined up at a store in Madrid, Spain, Dec.2, 2016. REUTERS/Andrea Comas

At least 48 people in Siberia were dead Monday after reportedly drinking a bathroom tincture, according to reports. People living in the Siberian city of Irkutsk drank contaminated Boyaryshnik, a surrogate alcohol concentrate that’s supposed to be used as a bath water relaxant but is sometime consumed as an alcoholic beverage, according to a Guardian report.

Boyaryshnik labels claim the liquid contains 93% ethanol, hawthorn extract and lemon oils. However, toxicology reports found the substance also contained methanol, an ingredient commonly found in antifreeze.

The surplus of deaths from Boyaryshnik came amid reports of counterfeit Boyaryshnik being sold around Irkutsk. Russian police forces confirmed two people were arrested in connection to the counterfeit Boyaryshnik after they discovered an underground warehouse filled with bottles of the concoction and other knock-off vodka brands. More than two tons of the liquid had been removed from vending machines around Irkutsk in an effort to prevent further poisonings.

After declaring a state of emergency on Monday, Irkutsk Mayor Dmitry Berdnikov placed a temporary ban on all liquids with alcohol concentration not intended for drinking. Back in October, Russia and various surrounding countries, including Serbia, begun selling tinctures like Boyaryshnik consisting of 70 percent ethyl alcohol or more in vending machines and kiosks, the Moscow Times reported.

In Siberia, Russia and other surrounding countries, people use surrogate alcohol, medical ethanol and liquids containing a potent alcohol concentration, as a cheap substitute to vodka. 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.

“People are poorer, especially those who drink a lot, but the need for alcohol remains. Before, someone with alcohol dependency would go to the shop and buy the cheapest vodka, now he’ll go and buy something different like window cleaner,” Russian toxicology specialist Oleg Kuznetsov said to Guardian.

Alcoholism is considered a top killer in Russia and Eastern Europe. However, in the United States, alcohol is the fourth leading preventable cause of death and alcohol addiction affects roughly 16.3 Americans, according to a 2014 report by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.