A Vancouver man is warning secondhand shoppers after he says he found what appeared to be a used syringe inside a boot at a Metro Vancouver Value Village.
The incident happened on Sunday at the clothing store’s Queensborough location in New Westminster.
Chris Turner told Global News his foot struck the needle when he was trying on the footwear.
“I just froze. I thought, ‘What just happened?'” he said. “I reached into the boot because I knew there was something in there and I pulled out a syringe and, as soon as I pulled it out, I looked and I just dropped it.
“Was I jabbed, pricked? I don’t know … I just know when I put my foot in, there was a needle there.”
Turner said he spoke to a manager, who apologized.
He then went to hospital, where he said he was told he’d need several blood tests over the coming year, including screenings for HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B.
The risk of contracting an illness from a needle-stick injury is extremely low.
According to the Canadian Pediatric Society, as of 2018, there had only been two cases of Hepatitis B and three cases of Hepatitis C infection ever recorded from contamination by a needle disposed of in the community.
There had been no recorded cases of HIV transmission from disposed needles in the community.
In a statement, Value Village spokesperson Sara Gaugl said the company takes the safety of products on the floor seriously.
“Value Village store employees are trained to carefully evaluate each item placed on our sales floors,” she said.
“Our store team has been briefed on the incident, and we’re in the process of gathering additional information as the safety of our shoppers is of utmost importance.”
But Turner said the incident has left him feeling angry and anxious, and he says he’s been losing sleep over it.
Turner says he has a message for other secondhand clothing shoppers.
“I’m seeing kids running around putting their hands in shoes and I am telling parents, ‘Don’t!'” he said.