The death of a 21-year-old student earlier this month, who became ill after ingesting what she believed to be diet pills, has prompted authorities to issue a warning about the inherent dangers of purchasing substances online.
According to The Associated Foreign Press, Eloise Parry, a student at Glyndwr University in the U.K., died in the hospital after she took tablets containing dinitrophenol (DNP), a highly toxic industrial chemical that speeds up metabolism.
DNP is commonly sold on the internet as a “slimming agent,” and has been connected with “an unacceptably high rate of significant adverse effects,” according to a 2011 study. Parry’s mother told the AFP that she believes her daughter took eight pills, not knowing that just two of the pills could kill her.
“When she started to feel unwell, she drove herself to hospital and walked into A&E (Accident and Emergency),” Parry’s mother explained in a statement released by police. “She explained what she had taken and there was no great panic as she was still completely lucid and with it. That all changed when the toxicity report came back and it was clear how dire her situation was.”
Hospital staff were unable to do anything for Parry, as there is no way to remove dinitrophenol from the system once ingested. An investigation is underway to find the origin of the pills.
“We are undoubtedly concerned over the origin and sale of these pills and are working with partner agencies to establish where they were bought from and how they were advertised,” chief inspector Jennifer Mattinson said in a statement.