Health risks not a joke

Health risks not a joke

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A Harrisdale resident said he is fed up with a car dumping nitrous oxide canisters on his street.

A Harrisdale resident said he was annoyed to see a car pull up outside his house multiple times recently and dump a haul of small, empty canisters on the footpath.

Peter Moore was at home on April 3 when he allegedly saw a white Audi A2 or A3 sedan pull up outside and dump more than 20 nitrous oxide canisters or ‘nangs’ on the verge.

The cylinders were produced for use as a propellant in whipped cream dispensers but as a secondary use people sometimes inhaled the gas for a temporary high.

Mr Moore said the car had allegedly returned every two nights for about three-and-a-half weeks since then but had not been back for a fortnight.

“We’ve lived here for more than two years and this is the first time I’ve seen it,” he said.

“Maybe someone has moved into the area, who knows.”

Mr Moore said he had been in contact with the police but without evidence of the driver littering or driving under the influence they would be unable to take it further.

He said his main concern was the offender could be driving near the local school while under the influence.

“I’ve got two kids under four and having people doing stuff like that and getting behind a pretty powerful car, firing down our residential road where there are kids on scooters and bikes has to be a safety concern,” he said.
Mr Moore said there were plenty of bins in the area and the mystery dumper was being lazy by leaving them on the verge.

He said primary school students walking home from school would often pick up the empty canisters and put them in their bags.

Nitrous oxide had been used by doctors as an anaesthetic for the last century but people sometimes used it alone or with drugs like amphetamines or ecstasy to increase their high.

In Australia the gas was only available on prescription for dental or medical use but its use in items such as whipped cream dispensers meant it could be obtained at some shops.

Despite the cylinders containing a gas similar to “laughing gas” the health implications of inhaling the gas were no joke.

Asphyxiation could occur when the gas was inhaled and deaths had occurred according to the Western Australian Drug and Alcohol Office.

Long-term use could result in motor skills, perception, learning and memory becoming worse.

The department said there was also evidence nerve damage could result from long-term use of nitrous oxide.