At Least 19 People Have Died Due To Tainted Alcohol In Costa Rica

About 19 people have died in Costa Rica after drinking methanol-tainted alcohol.

Last week, the country’s health ministry announced the news. Methyl alcohol or methanol is often used in antifreeze, solvents and other industrial chemicals, Insider reports. The site explains the chemical is more hazardous than regular adult beverages that contain ethanol, which is what is typically thought to be the drinking alcohol that gives you a buzz in small doses but makes a person sick if consumed in large amounts.

According to CNN, 14 men and five women ranging from ages 32 to 72 have all died in several cities across Costa Rica since the beginning of June. The government has retrieved about 30,000 bottles of alcohol that are believed to be tainted. The Ministry of Health is urging citizens to stop consuming alcohol from a number of brands due to samples having tested positive for methanol adulteration.

According to the World Health Organization, outbreaks of methanol poisoning are usually linked to “adulterated counterfeit or informally-produced spirit drinks.” Outbreaks have affected countries globally, each ranging in size from 20 to over 800 victims, WHO reports.

Health officials are advising residents in Costa Rica to take caution when drinking alcohol. 

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