25.5% of liquor consumed globally is illicit – WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) conducted a study and along with Interpol warns about the dangers of unaccounted for alcohol.

Counterfeit and fake alcohol not only harms the economy but is harmful to one’s health too.

According to Interpol, the reason fake alcohol is dangerous to consume is because of the chemicals often used to produce it. Genuine and legally made alcohol products contain the chemical ethanol.

Ethanol can be consumed safely if in moderation.

However, counterfeiters will attempt to cut costs by substituting ethanol with cheaper and in some instances, toxic substances. Some of these can include paint-stripper, nail polish remover and antifreeze.

Consumption of fake alcohol containing these chemicals can lead to blindness, organ failure, and death.

In a study conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), the international body stated 25.5% of all alcohol consumed was unrecorded.

The WHO defined this as being alcohol not accounted for in official statistics on alcohol taxation or sales.

“It is usually produced, distributed and sold outside the formal channels under governmental control.”

According to Interpol, the symptoms of alcohol poisoning from fake alcohol include confusion, loss of co-ordination, vomiting, irregular or slow breathing, blue-tinged or pale skin, hypothermia, being conscious but unresponsive or passing out.

Offering advice on how to spot fake alcohol, they provided:

  • Only buy alcohol from reputable and licensed retailers, bars and supermarkets.
  • If the product is sold for much cheaper than its normal price, it is probably fake.
  • Look out for poorly packaged products if the seal on the product is broken and whether the labels contain the correct details.
  • If the product smells like unknown chemicals, it most likely contains chemicals.

Interpol further stated if a bottle contains particles or sediment, or the contents have separated in the bottle, it is possible that the contents were thinned with tap water.

Any suspicious products must be reported to the police on 10111 or 08600 10111 or the Gauteng Liquor Board on 011 085 2231/45/65.

Read original story on www.citizen.co.za

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