Free testing of alcohol samples, offered by hygiene stations around the country since December 7, has wrapped up. Final statistics are still being compiled by the Health Ministry but spokeswoman Viktorie Plívová qualified the programme as a success which had saved numerous lives. Labs tested samples for the presence of methanol and other poisonous substances. In the region of Moravia-Silesia, which saw 22 of 39 deaths from methanol poisoning in bootleg liquor since mid-September, every tenth sample out of the 1,200 submitted was dangerous. Thirty-three samples contained methyl, the rest isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol) the spokeswoman said. The chief hygiene officer Vladimír Valenta has warned Czechs not to consume spirits of unknown origin (ie. without new excise stamps) to try and head-off additional poisoning cases in light of the upcoming New Year celebrations.
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