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Another toxic canister found

Published: 15th February 2013

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) was called to a home at Failford on the NSW mid-North Coast yesterday evening after a resident was overcome with fumes from a highly toxic aluminium phosphide canister found on a beach.

The fisherman took the canister home where he opened it to have a look at what was inside. The man was overcome with the fumes from the canister’s contents but was able to call Triple Zero (000). Firefighters removed the canister and the man was taken to hospital by Ambulance Service of NSW (ASNSW) paramedics as a precaution.

FRNSW has issued a number of warnings that canisters containing this very dangerous poison were being washed up on NSW and Queensland beaches.

FRNSW Hazardous Materials Unit manager, Superintendent Paul Bailey, said it was vital that, if found, the canisters must not be opened.

“I want to reiterate to residents living in NSW’s coastal communities that if they find these silver canisters washed up on the beach, or if they have them stored at home, to immediately call Triple Zero (000) so they can be disposed of properly,” Superintendent Bailey said.

“Aluminium phosphide, which is used as rat poison, can be potentially fatal if it is inhaled or ingested.

“Should anyone come across any more of these canisters, report it to Triple Zero (000) immediately. Do not try to inspect, open or transport it and don’t go near it.”

Canisters have also been discovered at Warriewood, Batemans Bay and along the Queensland coast.

The canisters are about 21cm high and 10cm wide. FRNSW has also alerted other emergency services, local government authorities and Surf Lifesaving NSW.

Authorities are unsure of the source of these canisters.