Man dies 'after taking diet pills'
A young Irish man has died after taking slimming pills, authorities have said.
The 24-year-old victim, from Cavan, died suddenly on May 14 in the latest suspected case of dinitrophenol, or DNP, poisoning.
Only days before his death, Interpol issued a global alert over the threat posed by the so-called diet pills after they claimed the life of a British woman.
The world police agency raised the alarm with forces in 190 countries as the toxic pesticide was linked to the death of Eloise Parry, of Shrewsbury, Shropshire, while a Frenchman was fighting for his life after taking the drug.
Both the Garda and Dublin's Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) have launched investigations into the latest death.
A Garda spokesman said their inquiries are ongoing but the "sudden death" is believed to be linked to DNP.
Pat O'Mahony, chief executive of the HPRA, said: "The information we have at this time indicates that this young man consumed DNP and our thoughts are with his family.
"These investigations are on-going, and we strongly urge members of the public to never use the internet to source slimming products or any prescription medicines at any time - no amount of these products is safe to take."
Mr O'Mahony said bogus websites can be very sophisticated and appear to be legitimate.
"However, in reality they can be supplying unsafe and harmful products," he added.
"Laboratory analysis of products detained in the past has shown that medicines being sold through illicit websites will often contain too little or too much of the active ingredient or may contain undeclared and harmful substances."
DNP is an industrial chemical, officially called 2,4-Dinitrophenol.
It has serious short-term and long-term effects, which can be extremely dangerous to human health, experts say.
It accelerates the body's metabolism, and can do so to a dangerously fast level, they warn.
This can trigger a number of potentially dangerous side effects while long-term use can lead to the development of cataracts and skin lesions and may cause damage to the heart and nervous system.
Miss Parry, 21, died at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital in April after taking tablets she bought online.
Police believe they included a quantity of DNP.
A study last year warned the drug, which is also sometimes used as a bodybuilding aid, could be linked to five more deaths in the UK between 2007 and 2013.
In an Orange Notice issued by Interpol, at the request of French health authorities, the agency declared an "imminent threat'' to consumers from DNP, which has also been used in explosives.
Online distributors have even tried to mask its supply from customs and police officers by labelling it as the yellow spice turmeric because it looks similar.