Canisters located on Far Northern beaches!


The Queensland Police Service is urging north Queensland beach goers to avoid handling silver canisters washed up on beaches and to immediately call Triple Zero (000) to report them to Queensland Fire Rescue Service.

The enclosed image is of a canister that was earlier washed onto a northern beach. Local police issued an alert on October 19.

Cairns District Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Cary Coolican said scientific examination of four canisters found along a 200 kilometre stretch of coastline from Ayr to Ingham, since February this year, revealed the product inside was Aluminium Phosphide, which could be fatal if inhaled or ingested.

Just this week police are aware of three more canisters which have been washed up on far northern beaches in areas around Cairns, Innisfail and Mission Beach.

“This is a highly restricted toxic substance and indeed a very dangerous poison. For safety’s sake, if you come across one of these canisters, report it immediately by calling triple zero and asking for Queensland Fire and Rescue. DO NOT inspect, open or transport it and ensure you stand well away from it.”

Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Scientific Officers have warned, when in contact with air or moisture, the chemical generates a highly toxic phosphine gas, which under the right conditions, could self ignite.

Aluminium Phosphide is a colorless, 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.

“Even in the hands of experts, this chemical is highly dangerous and presents significant health risks, so it’s vital members of the community heed our warning,” Sgt Coolican said.

“Parents and guardians should adequately supervise children and pets too. They can be very curious and may think the canisters are toys and want to play with them. That curiosity, mixed with such a dangerous chemical could tragically prove fatal.”

If found, do not move the canister. It is important that it is not touched and that trained Queensland Fire and Rescue Service Scientific Officers are contacted to contain and dispose of the canisters immediately.

To report located canisters call Triple Zero ‘000’

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2 Comments on “Canisters located on Far Northern beaches!

  1. Interesting comment on the possible origins of these containers in today’s Cairns Post story :The US State of Washington has has this problem in recent years. Aluminum phosphide is used as an insecticide on freighters that carry grain. It seems that rather than deal with the disposal of the empties, crews are just tossing them overboard.
    Posted by: Scott Johnson of New Bern, NC, USA 11:47pm Friday

  2. There are some interesting points in time in this
    article however I don’t know if I see all of
    them middle to heart. There may be some validity
    however I will take hold opinion until I look into it further.
    Good article , thanks and we want extra!
    Added to FeedBurner as well

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