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      Unrecorded alcohol consumption in Russia: toxic denaturants and disinfectants pose additional risks

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          In 2005, 30% of all alcohol consumption in Russia was unrecorded. This paper describes the chemical composition of unrecorded and low cost alcohol, including a toxicological evaluation. Alcohol products (n=22) from both recorded and unrecorded sources were obtained from three Russian cities (Saratov, Lipetsk and Irkutsk) and were chemically analyzed. Unrecorded alcohols included homemade samogons, medicinal alcohols and surrogate alcohols. Analysis included alcoholic strength, levels of volatile compounds (methanol, acetaldehyde, higher alcohols), ethyl carbamate, diethyl phthalate (DEP) and polyhexamethyleneguanidine hydrochloride (PHMG). Single samples showed contamination with DEP (275–1269 mg/l) and PHMG (515 mg/l) above levels of toxicological concern. Our detailed chemical analysis of Russian alcohols showed that the composition of vodka, samogon and medicinal alcohols generally did not raise major public health concerns other than for ethanol. It was shown, however, that concentration levels of DEP and PHMG in some surrogate alcohols make these samples unfit for human consumption as even moderate drinking would exceed acceptable daily intakes.

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          Most cited references 77

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          Global burden of disease and injury and economic cost attributable to alcohol use and alcohol-use disorders.

          Alcohol consumption has been identified as an important risk factor for chronic disease and injury. In the first paper in this Series, we quantify the burden of mortality and disease attributable to alcohol, both globally and for ten large countries. We assess alcohol exposure and prevalence of alcohol-use disorders on the basis of reviews of published work. After identification of other major disease categories causally linked to alcohol, we estimate attributable fractions by sex, age, and WHO region. Additionally, we compare social costs of alcohol in selected countries. The net effect of alcohol consumption on health is detrimental, with an estimated 3.8% of all global deaths and 4.6% of global disability-adjusted life-years attributable to alcohol. Disease burden is closely related to average volume of alcohol consumption, and, for every unit of exposure, is strongest in poor people and in those who are marginalised from society. The costs associated with alcohol amount to more than 1% of the gross national product in high-income and middle-income countries, with the costs of social harm constituting a major proportion in addition to health costs. Overall, we conclude that alcohol consumption is one of the major avoidable risk factors, and actions to reduce burden and costs associated with alcohol should be urgently increased.
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                Author and article information

                [1 ]Irkutsk Forensic Institute, Prosecutor General's Office, Shevzov Street 1, 664035 Irkutsk, Russia
                [2 ]Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt (CVUA) Karlsruhe, Weissenburger Strasse 3, D-76187 Karlsruhe, Germany
                [3 ]Department of Chemistry, Saratov State University, Astrakhanskaya Street 83, 410012 Saratov, Russia
                [4 ]Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), 33 Russell Street, ARF 2035, Toronto, ON, M5S 2S1, Canada
                [5 ]Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, 250 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 1R8, Canada
                [6 ]Epidemiological Research Unit, Institute for Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy, TU Dresden, Chemnitzer Strasse 46, D-01187 Dresden, Germany
                [7 ]Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, 155 College Street, Toronto, ON, M5T 3M7, Canada
                Author notes
                Correspondence address: Dirk W. Lachenmeier, PhD. Chemisches und Veterinäruntersuchungsamt (CVUA) Karlsruhe, Weissenburger Strasse 3, D-76187 Karlsruhe, Germany • E-MAIL: lachenmeier@
                Interdiscip Toxicol
                Interdisciplinary Toxicology
                Slovak Toxicology Society SETOX
                December 2011
                December 2011
                : 4
                : 4
                : 198-205
                Copyright © 2011 Slovak Toxicology Society SETOX

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Original Article


                alcohol poisoning, russia, product quality, alcohol, unrecorded alcohol, risk assessment


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