Deadly poison washes up on Sydney beach




A canister containing rat poison has washed up on a beach in Sydney just days after one was discovered on the south coast of New South Wales.

According to The Australian, a resident at Warriewood, on Sydney's northern beaches, found the container a while ago and stored it in his garage.

But after Fire and Rescue NSW issued a warning that canisters containing the poison were washing up on NSW and Queensland beaches on Thursday, he called emergency line Triple Zero to report what he had found.

In a statement, Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins said: 'Aluminium phosphide, which is used as rat poison, can be potentially fatal if it is inhaled or ingested.'

On 4 January, a man found a canister covered in barnacles on the sand at Salt Beach on NSW's far north coast as he was walking.

Based on the barnacle growth, it is believed the canisters have been in the water for some time. Others have been found on central Queensland beaches over the past year.

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, WorkCover NSW says the chemical is used as a pesticide and rabbit poison in Australia.

Fire and Rescue NSW said: 'It's possible that the container may have come from a passing ship and washed up on the coastline.'

NSW Police inquiries revealed that the same canisters have been spotted on beaches in America.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said it was likely the canisters had been accidentally lost overboard, rather than dumped.

Aluminium phosphide is often used to fumigate ships. When it comes into contact with air or moisture it generates a highly toxic and flammable gas, which can be fatal if inhaled.

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