Tainted alcohol suspected in 19 deaths: Costa Rican Health Ministry

Costa Rica's Ministry of Health warns that 19 people died of suspected methanol poisoning since June 2019. (Image: Pixabay)

At least 19 people died from methanol poisoning between June and July, according to Costa Rica's Ministry of Health.

Authorities suspect tainted alcohol was to blame for the deaths.

The Ministry of Health announced Friday that 14 men and five women died from methanol poisoning. The victims were between the ages of 32 and 72 years-old. The fatalities occurred in San José, Cartago, Limón, Guanacaste and Heredia.

The Costa Rican government has confiscated about 30,000 containers of suspicious alcohol and is continuing its efforts to prevent consumer exposure.

Methanol is commonly used as an additive by counterfeit alcohol producers and it can be deadly when ingested.

Tainted alcohol was suspected in the deaths of several American tourists in the Dominican Republic this year.

As of late June, 10 American tourists died suspiciously in the Dominican Republic. Dominican authorities said they could not find a connection between the deaths.

The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, has called on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to investigate the deaths.

Some of the victims' family members suspect their loved ones may have been given adulterated alcohol. Toxicology reports have not been made public at this time.

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