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Toxic agent found in blood of victims of alleged sunflower oil poisoning in Central Russia

According to the investigation, seven people were taken to local clinics, two of whom died in hospital

MOSCOW, August 16. /TASS/. A toxic compound of coumarin has been detected in the blood of the residents of Russia’s Ulyanovsk Region, allegedly poisoned by homemade sunflower oil, head of the toxicology department of the local medical center Ignat Ponomarenko informed the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

According to the Russian Investigative Committee’s department for the Ulyanovsk Region, seven people were taken to local clinics for urgent medical care, two of them died in hospital. A criminal case was opened under Part 3 of Article 238 of the Russian Criminal Code (production or sales of products unsafe for consumers, inflicting the death of two or more people through negligence).

"We suspected a connection with the use of a food product that could include this poison. Yesterday, we received a confirmation from the lab that the patients’ blood tested positive for a compound of coumarin," Ponomarenko said.

Coumarin is an organic chemical compound that is often used in perfume and soap-making industries. It is also used as a basis for vermin poison.

Earlier, the region’s Ministry of Health informed that one person died of poisoning. Acting Prosecutor of the region’s Terengulsky District Vitaly Surayev said a woman had passed away on August 3. "She was poisoned by an unknown substance. We cannot yet claim that these events are related," he specified, adding that one of the hypotheses in the poisoning case was homemade sunflower oil produced by a local resident.