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More toxic canisters wash up on NSW beaches

Published: 27th May 2013

Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is again urging residents along the NSW coast to avoid handling silver canisters or containers washed up on beaches and to immediately call Triple Zero (000) to report them to authorities after two suspected highly toxic canisters were discovered at Port Stephens recently.

The containers, suspected to contain aluminium phosphide, were washed up on Stockton Beach last Friday (24 May) and a beach 3km south of Birubi Surf Club on Saturday (25 May). National Parks and Wildlife Service staff alerted FRNSW to the discoveries. Aluminium phosphide is potentially fatal if inhaled or ingested.

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

FRNSW Hazardous Materials Commander, 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 Kingscliff, Failford on the NSW mid-North Coast, Warriewood, Batemans Bay, as well as along the Queensland, Tasmanian and South Australian coastlines.

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.

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Media inquiries: Superintendent Paul Bailey, 0427 006 357.