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Drinkers pilfer hand sanitiser from parks5th of June 2013
Hand sanitiser is being pilfered from the portable toilets situated in parks in Wisconsin, US.
Toothpaste tube-sized bags of the sanitiser recently began vanishing from the dozen portaloos spread across city parks in La Crosse. "They don't harm the units, they just take the bag," said parks superintendent Gar Amunson.
Police believe that either underage drinkers or people who cannot afford alcohol are stealing the sanitiser from the public portaloos to drink it.
"We believe that they are either using it, drinking it straight up or they dilute it to get the alcohol out of there," said Lt Patrick Hogan.
According to infection control specialist at the city's Gundersen Lutheran Medical Centre Bridget Pfaff, the alcohol contained in a hand sanitiser is highly dangerous.
"It can impact on the user's nervous system and put them at risk of alcohol poisoning," she said. "There is a lot more alcohol in that small bag than people are used to ingesting where they're drinking alcoholic beverages, and there is a high risk that people drinking this to get drunk will get to the point where they need medical attention."
The city has now placed an immediate order for a non-alcohol based sanitiser to be used in place of the pilfered sanitiser bags.