Society

Brazilians resort to deadly cost-saving measures amid fuel price hikes

With domestic gas canisters becoming prohibitively expensive for poor households, some Brazilians are resorting to cooking with ethanol — which is highly dangerous and has led to an increase in life-threatening domestic accidents

fuel prices
A woman in Osasco, São Paulo, died after suffering burns on 90 percent of her body after an ethanol-related explosion. Her seven-month-old baby survived, despite burns on 50 percent of his body. Photo: Aloisio Mauricio/Fotoarena/Folhapress

“By the time I realized what was happening, my entire body was on fire,” says Wiviane Lima, 23, who suffered full-body burns after trying to cook a pot of rice using ethanol as fuel as a cost-saving measure. The accident occurred in the Central-West city of Abadia de Goiás at the end of August, but Wiviane is by no means the only one to have put her life at risk amid an eye-watering increase in gas prices.

In Brazil and several other Latin American countries, the majority of families use recyclable domestic gas cylinders known as botijões (singular botijão) to...

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