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Toxic liquor kills at least 9 in Guangdong
Updated: 2004-05-16 15:57

Nine people have died from drinking toxic liquor by Sunday in this capital city of south China's Guangdong Province, with another 33 people sickened by formaldehyde in the problematic alcohol.

Local sources said that among the hospitalized, four were in a critical condition and three more were seriously sickened.

The first two toxic alcohol deaths were reported Tuesday, and Wednesday found two more similar deaths in Baiyun District of the city.

Local police have detained 12 people, who were suspected of blending industrial alcohol with rice wine and selling the tainted liquid to local markets and stalls. A total of 443.75 kg of distilled toxic spirit has been confiscated, yet a small amount of dubious liquor in bulk remained undetected.

Guangdong launched an emergent inspection on bulk liquor Friday following the four deaths of alcoholism, covering all alcohol distillers in the province, according to a government official.

The province strictly prohibits all spirit producers to blend industrial alcohol or methanol in their products and demands them to intensify control over raw materials purchasing and product quality.

In addition, Guangdong has also strengthened inspection on the qualification of all alcohol sellers.

To prevent fake liquor from entering the market, all alcohol sellers are not allowed to purchase liquor from the producers with no official operating license and products quality certificate.

Health authorities at all levels and all hospitals in Guangzhou are required to keep a close watch on patients who drank bulk rice wine over the past few days and had symptoms of methanol poisoning. Once they discover such a patient, they should report to a local disease prevention and control center.

The No.12 Hospital in the city has been designated to receive seriously ill patients and to guide related hospitals with their emergency services for people sickened from toxic liquor.

Meanwhile, local governments in the city called for residents not to buy alcohol products in bulk and publicized the knowledge on alcoholism prevention through newspapers, TV problems and other media.

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