Health Minister A.F.M Ruhul Haq said investigators had found diethyl glycol in the locally produced syrup.

"We conducted two tests on the paracetamol syrup and each time we found diethyl glycol. It's a toxic chemical used in the textile and leather dyeing industries. It damages your kidneys if you consume it," the minister told.

Haq said instead of mixing the paracetamol with propylene glycol, which is used as a solvent in paracetamol syrup, the drug maker added the toxic industrial chemical because it is ten times cheaper.

The 24 children who died were aged between one and five and came from the eastern district of Comilla, where authorities have closed the drug company that made the adulterated syrup.

Police are hunting the company's owners and pharmacists.

In 1992, 300 Bangladeshi children died when diethyl glycol was used in the same way.

New rules were introduced soon after but are not always enforced.