Blinding, bone-degrading chemical stolen from Waikato Hospital - and thieves may not know how dangerous it is

  • 11/01/2023
Police want help tracking them down.
Police want help tracking them down. Photo credit: Police.

Chemicals that can burn skin, cause blindness and degrade bones have been stolen from Waikato Hospital, and police say the thieves may not know how dangerous the substance is.

Three 500mL opaque bottles of a chemical known as pickling paste were reported stolen from the hospital sometime between December 23 and January 10, police said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The chemical burns skin, will cause blindness if it makes contact with a person's eyes, and can even cause bones to degrade," the statement said.

"Used in the welding industry, pickling paste is an acid etching gel that can be brushed onto stainless steel welds to reduce the appearance of discolouration."

However, police said it's possible the offenders may not know what they have taken - and are warning of the potential danger.

"If you have any information on this theft or the whereabouts of the chemicals, please get in touch with Police on 105 and reference file number 230110/5099."