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Renewed warning – Toxic Canisters wash up in North QLD

20121025 CanisterThe Queensland Police Service is urging beach goers to avoid handling silver canisters washed up on beaches and to immediately call Triple Zero (000) to report them to authorities.

Since October 2012, a number of canisters similar to that pictured have washed up on beaches along the entire east coast of Australia from Thursday Island to the north and Tasmania to the south.

The most recent incident was today, with a member of the public handing in a canister containing Aluminium Phosphide to the Smithfield Police Station.

The canisters are described as being approximately 30 cm high and 15 cm in diameter and contain Aluminium Phosphide, which could be fatal if inhaled or ingested.

Aluminium Phosphide is a colourless, flammable and toxic gas. Mild exposure by inhalation causes indefinite feeling of sickness, ringing in the ears, fatigue, nausea and pressure in the chest which is relieved by getting away from the gas and getting fresh air.

The chemical, when exposed to air or moisture, can generate the highly toxic phosphine gas that could also self ignite in the right conditions. It is not known where these canisters originate from.

If you locate one of these canisters, or any similar type of container, leave the canister where it is and do not attempt to move it.

Police urge you to call Triple Zero '000' immediately to report the discovery to trained QFES Hazchem officers. Do not attempt to move or open these canisters.